European Champion Els Visser: ‘It’s the consistency that will have our back’

Els Visser wins women's race Challenge Almere-Amsterdam (Picture: Harry van 't Veld)

Training schedules; almost all triathletes have to deal with them sooner or later. With that comes the pressure of always ‘having’ to follow a schedule for some of the athletes, with sometimes listening to the body fading into the background. According to European Champion Els Visser, who herself only trains on body feeling, this may well be different. “It’s the consistency that will have our back.”

“I’ve shared our training philosophy a couple of times. We train on body feeling and don’t do sessions at specific speeds, heart rate or watts. With the lack of numbers we try to listen to our bodies and to not allow our minds to over command our body’s feelings. How do we measure success if we don’t do tests? How do we look and judge performance?

“It’s the consistency that will have our back. It is not days, weeks, or months that count, it is years. Repetition, repetition and repetition. Day in day out. Week in week out. Month in month out. Year in year out. Then repeat.

“After three years of not training in Australia, I came back a couple of weeks ago. Last weekend I ran a local park run event. The same event I ran three years ago, in which I ran 3.53 pace per kilometer. I remember that I was very pleased with that result. Last weekend I ran a 3.33 pace per kilometer, 20 seconds (!) faster on a kilometer, and it felt very controlled.

“It’s the years of consistent training that is starting to pay off, and which shows me that I am a different athlete than I was a couple of years ago.

“So if I can give you a little advice, it’s about the belief in the training program and yourself. Then repeat what is needed on all three disciplines, and give yourself time to make training adaptations.”