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Fresh off a victory at Challenge Bateman’s Bay and a second-place finish at Challenge Philippines, Radka Vodickova will return this week to the Laguna Lang Co Triathlon in an attempt to defend her 2013 title. We caught up with the fun-spirited triathlon star from the Czech Republic to pick her brain on a handful of topics:
- Maintaining composure and consistency during a race’s highs and lows
- Recovery, especially for frequent racers
- Tapering for shorter events
- Post-race party footwear!
Know Your Body, Know Your Battles
At Challenge Bateman’s Bay, Vodickova led out of the swim by almost five minutes. She maintained the lead for much of the bike but was passed prior to T2, starting the run in second place. Although the gap was merely 15 seconds, a pass can play with any athlete’s psyche. But for Vodickova, the key to racing is consistent confidence and awareness of one’s abilities over the duration of the race. “We do triathlon. It is not about the fastest swim, bike or run. You have to cross the finish line first. This is what counts,” she says. “In the half Ironman distance, you have to stay focused for four or more hours. You have to know your body, to know how hard you can go. If you push too hard on the bike to keep up with your competitor, you may get cramps on the run or you may end up walking later. In Bateman’s Bay I knew the girls I was racing, so I knew if all went well I should be able to take the lead back on the run.”
Vodickova races frequently–which makes recovery extra important. In order to rebound quickly and be ready for her next intense effort, she cites these fundamental rules:
“Recovery starts right after you cross the finish line! The first minutes and hours are the most important. Many people make the mistake of staying in the sun, standing and talking with friends. Then they realize they are hungry, thirsty, tired and sunburned.
The best is to refuel with water, sugars and proteins properly right after the race. I love yogurt drinks, for example–a perfect combination of proteins and sugars. Ice cream is not bad either! After a hot race it is great if you have the possibility to take an ice or cold-water bath or have an easy swim to flush out the lactic acid from your body and to prevent inflammation in your tired muscles. Later I do some other easy sport again to speed up recovery. I prefer biking or dancing at a party!”
Taper–At Least A Little
For shorter races such as Laguna Lang Co [1.8-km swim, 62-km bike, 12-km run], Vodickova concentrates her taper time into the final days pre-race. “Like you said, I race frequently. So if I would taper for every race I do, I would end up in pretty bad shape,” she says. “In the beginning of the season I race without real tapering. I am still in the part of my season where I do mainly volume in swim, bike and run. But this week I will have a day off on Thursday–not only because of traveling to Vietnam, but also because I usually have an easy day two days before the race. I think I will do only an easy swim in my private pool villa in Laguna Lang Co! On Friday I will do all three disciplines, but all of them will be short–45-60-minute bike, 25-minute swim and 30-minute run.”
Choose Your Footwear Wisely
Usually the first to bust a move on the dance floor, Vodickova offers a final piece of advice for race after-party footwear: “If you want to dance like crazy, take no shoes! If you want to dance like a lady, take high heels. I will be barefoot…”