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Tips from an ultra athlete/coach
Freddy Lampret joins us on 32Gi Sports Nutrition. As an impressive ultra triathlete and coach, you can learn plenty from Freddy. We chat ultra triathlon on this episode of the podcast. Freddy not only gives us racing and nutritional advice; but also gives novice athletes a great tip.
Welcome back to 32Gi Sports Nutrition with myself Mr Active, David Katz. Don’t forget to go check out our website, www.32gi.com. There’s lots of information on there and you can also pose questions to the coach, all you have to do is email email@example.com. Moving straight to our topic this week. Building up in the Southern Hemisphere, South Africa, to be exact, to a big race down here, it’s the 70.3 event in East London at the end of January.
It’s going to be very interesting to see what goes on there. With that in mind it’s a great pleasure should I say to welcome Freddy Lampret onto the show; one of South Africa’s best triathlon athletes and ultra triathlon athletes. Freddy, thank you very much for joining us.
Freddy Lampret: It’s an absolute pleasure David.
DK: Freddy, for people out there who might have seen you racing, I know a lot of triathletes see you guys out on the course. But they don’t quite know what sort of races and times you’re doing in comparison. Your triathlon background and some of the events you’ve done in the past couple of years?
FL: Okay, so I’ve done a lot of Ironman racing. Did my first Ironman in 2000, which is now 16 years ago. I’ve also raced many half Ironman distance races, which is probably my most frequent racing distance because of the fact that you can recover quite quickly. At that distance I’ve managed to get one SA title under my belt, which was in 2012. I was South African Long Course Champion in 2012. Since then I’ve had a number of Top 5 and podium positions in international 70.3’s.
DK: Freddy, looking at 70.3, of course we’ve got Ironman South Africa and triathlon was around, it was big, it was generally shorted stuff. Do you think that Ironman coming to South Africa was a bit of a catalyst for our guys going longer?
FL: Definitely. Whenever you have an increase in prize money, the shift of the more competitive athletes goes towards those races. The shorter distance races, historically, have always been quite a small prize money event. When you have a race where they’re bringing in hundreds of thousands of Rands and in the case of Ironman, even sometimes, some of the races are even over a million Rand that are up for grabs in prize money. You have a lot of people that shift their focus towards getting some of that reward.
How to optimise your training programme
DK: Freddy, something you’ve developed over the last couple of years which I find very interesting is called My Program Generator or MPG. Just give us a bit of history around that and what it entails.
FL: MPG is a system that basically determines where an athlete’s physiology is. Then pairs that physiological assessment with what is an optimised training programme. It’s quite a revolution in the exercise space because we don’t train athletes with a goal in mind. We train the athletes with their physiology in mind, working towards a specific goal. We’ve had very good results with it as a result.
DK: You apply this process to your own training as well, of course?
FL: I do. I’m a very time constrained individual. Technically I’m not a professional in the true sense of the word. I race in the category as a professional. But my wife says I work more than a normal hour job. I still manage to get my training in and do the whole family responsibility thing as well. For me the time is a real factor and with MPG every single workout I do is so targeted. I get in, I do the workout, I’m finished, I’m done, I can get on with the rest of my day.
DK: Now, looking at something like MPG. Do you physically have to be in the same space? So people have to have somewhere where they go to or is it something that you could sign up to anywhere in the world basically?
FL: We do have athletes on MPG from around the world and it’s a remote training tool. You can use it wherever you are. Pretty much with whatever device or even if you don’t have devices you can still use it relatively effectively. It’s basically a system that can utilise whatever facilities and tools you have available to you.
DK: If people want to find out more, where can they do so?
FL: They can go to the website itself, the website is www.myprogramgenerator.com, all the information is on there. We also have some resources and articles and what have you that people can read and get a bit more information in that sense.
Taking the pressure off can aid your training
DK: Freddy, the concept sounds great, it sounds very effective. So do go, I’ll put that up on the show notes for you. But moving back to East London and 70.3. Not just in SA, but across the world, it’s such a popular distance.
Great entry level if you are thinking of doing a full Ironman or one of the challenge events like Challenge Roth, which 32Gi were a big partner of this past year, in 2016. East London, it’s not the easiest course, I know that bike course is quite tough. It is the original South African 70.3 and it’s a great start to the year in triathlon sense isn’t it?
FL: Absolutely and the fact that they closed off the entire highway really makes that event special. In SA we don’t have the opportunity to ride on such pristine roads very often. When these opportunities present themselves it’s so worthwhile just to make use of it. But as you say, that course is really tough. There’s pretty much no flat at all on the course and it is a K or two longer as well.
DK: Also the time of the year is great, it’s a lovely time of year in South Africa. But you are coming out of a December where a lot of people take it a little bit easier. If you’re doing 70.3 the key is to keep that in the back of your mind isn’t it, and not let yourself go too much over the festive season.
FL: Yes, exactly. But I like to tell my athletes that they don’t need to take the race too seriously in that sense. They need to take their holiday, spend their time with the family over the break and come back relatively fit. But with lower expectations of the race. That way they get to enjoy the race more and generally when they take that pressure off themselves, they actually train even more effectively over the December holiday.
Fuelling tips from an athlete/coach in the know
DK: Freddy, I always find it interesting because guys like you at the top end of races do tend to feel a little bit differently from the guys who are going to be out there a lot longer. But in saying that, you guys have developed some great tips and strategies that you use. What are some of those? Let’s use 70.3 East London as an example. How do you go about fuelling for something like that?
FL: For me the fuelling process obviously starts in the taper. When you start cutting down on the actual training volume going into the race. There’s no need to change. A lot of people change what they do in the race week. They start eating a lot more carbohydrates, they start changing things.
Obviously as you change things, the body responds differently to how you’re used to the body responding. My advice in going into the race is number one, don’t change anything. Keep eating what you normally eat and the fact that you turned down the training volume, it will ensure that the necessary stores are stored for the race.
Then going into the race, obviously you need to make sure that the body is hydrated. You can check that when you go to the loo. You can just see what colour your urine is. If the urine is dark then you know you’re dehydrated. If the urine is clear, then you know that your body has done quite well in storing the fluids.
In the race itself, my rule of thumb is a minimum of 1g of carbohydrate per hour, per kg of body weight. For me weighing 70-75kg, depending on the time of year. I’m looking at 75g of carbohydrates per hour in a race like East London.
Then I make sure, I’m a very heavy sweater, so I need to take on at least a litre of fluid per hour. Obviously the solution that I take, for me the 32Gi is perfect. Because it’s got a perfect balance of electrolytes and carbohydrates and it’s very palatable as well. So that would be my advice, is to look at your body weight, look at your fluid losses. Then to plan your race accordingly and with minimal disruption to your normal routine.
Caught between a professional and an age grouper
DK: Freddy, on a personal level, I know you’re a father of three and as you said, your time is limited. But at the level you are, you are afforded opportunities and good enough to go race across the world. Are there still some interesting stuff on your Bucket List? Kona is a huge one for a lot of people is that on the agenda, hopefully?
FL: David, I’d love to go to Kona, I just don’t know if it’s realistic when you’re racing against people who don’t work at all. You’re trying to become one of the top in the world, it’s actually difficult to mix it with that level. But having said that, I don’t feel it’s fair for me to race as an age grouper either. Because I feel I come with so much of an advantage in terms of experience and knowledge. That I don’t feel I’m playing an even field against the age group athletes either.
In terms of Bucket List races, yes, I’d have to give up work for about six months to be able to chase some of those dreams but there are other dreams. I’d love to do Challenge Roth as well one day, that’s always been on my Bucket List.
Going up the Solar Berg is just one of those experiences that I’ve dreamt of for years. So that’s definitely going to be one of my races to do. But again, we’re going to have to see how things pan out and how opportunities present themselves.
DK: I know Mark Wolff did Challenge Roth this year, as you say, you hear about it, you see these crowds. From him actually being there, that experience sounds like second to none. Challenge Roth would be absolutely incredible if it’s something that you want to look to doing. Lastly, before I let you go, not me per se because I’m not going to be racing. But I’m a novice going into 70.3 East London, what would be the best bit of advice you would give a novice ahead of the race?
What every novice ultra triathlete should know
FL: I would say to a novice that the things that cause anxiety are the things that could derail a person’s race. Usually anxiety comes from expectation. If a novice can start the race with absolutely no expectation of the outcome. But rather be present in the moment during the race.
So as the gun goes off, the focus would be to swim to that first buoy. In the process of swimming to that first buoy, get through the waves first. Take each moment of the race as it presents itself and deal with each moment as it comes.
In doing that, focus on the body, on how you’re feeling and what you need during the race. Rather than looking at everyone else and seeing what they’re doing and how fast they’re going or how slow they’re going. You should only ever compare to yourself in a race like that.
I think if you can do that effectively. Block out everything else, focus on what you have to do in the moment, it’s very difficult to have a bad day. Because bad days, from my experience, come about where things escalate without you realising it. Because you focus elsewhere and you’re not listening to what your body needs. The speed at which your body should be going and you lose control.
That’s where races go pear-shaped, so to speak. Again, I always say to my guys, commit to enjoying the experience. Be in the moment so that you can remember everything and that you can take home the experience that you’ve gone through. Be in control of yourself I think is the key.
DK: It’s some very valuable information and I don’t think it applies just to races like 70.3 East London. Any ultra event, if you’re a novice, that is some fantastic advice. If you’re going down to East London, if you’re a novice, do look forward to it and make sure it’s a good race. From myself, Mr Active, David Katz, a very big thank you to Freddy Lampret joining us today on the podcast. We’ll catch up with you again next week.