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After four weeks of spending time away from serious training, American ITU star Gwen Jorgensen has started ramping up her strength work and has added in moderate training. She welcomed photographer Paul Phillips to her home in St. Paul, Minn. to give a peek into her winter training regimen and make a home-cooked meal.
Phillips also spent some time chatting with Jorgensen about her breakthrough season, her world travels and the goals for the future. See a few excerpts from that conversation below:
I think my last year I made a lot of investments, a lot of changes. I started working with Jamie Turner and it was the first year I spent training abroad. I was able to do that because I had Pat Lemieux [her boyfriend] with me. I’d always been resistant to that, but having Pat with me made it an easy decision and something that was very vital to my success this past year. I had some races that surprised me in a good and I had some races that surprised me in a bad way, and I think moving forward me and my support team, Jamie, Pat, USA Triathlon and my sponsors, we’re going to continue to work on improving on my swim and my bike and improve on the consistency.
On the off-season break
I’ve been lucky. I’ve been able to spend time at home. It’s been nice to relax and see the people I haven’t seen all year. They support me throughout the year, but I’m not able to see them on a day-to-day basis. I took four weeks off. Two weeks with no physical activity and then two weeks of 20 minutes per day max. I think a lot of athletes, myself included, have a hard time doing that.
I had Jamie Turner come and visit for two weeks, which was fun. We caught up. Last year when he was here I was at the pool twice a day swimming, and this year he was more about eating ice cream than going to the pool. We more hung out. I’m going to enjoy the rest of the break and enjoy the holidays and be able to enjoy them at home. Then I’ll head off to Australia in the beginning of the year and spend a month in Falls Creek at altitude and then spend the other four months in Wollongong, Australia and do a few WTS races before heading back to the Vitoria base in Spain.
On goals for 2014
When I line up on the starting line, my goals are pretty clear. Going forward Rio 2016 is the ultimate goal and every step along the way is part of the process of getting there.
On her favorite races
I think every race is put on very well, so I base my favorite races based on the food I enjoy. It’s just more about my favorite places to visit. I think all of the races are amazing. This past year I enjoyed Yokohama because I love rice and all of the food there is rice-based, so that was nice. Stockholm was a very cool place to be, because I don’t think I’d ever choose that place to go on vacation, but it was amazing. The people were awesome, the food was great and seeing people on bikes made me feel like I was at home. It’s definitely a place I want to go back to.
On the 2014 WTS race in Chicago
It will be fun to race in Chicago. It’s about an hour away from my original hometown in Wisconsin. Being able to be that close to home and have some people come visit and see what I do in person will be a new experience.
On her former job
I used to work for Ernst and Young, and while I was there I was training for a triathlon as well. I loved my job; I was a tax accountant. I really enjoyed what I was doing, but as I progressed into triathlon I realized that I wanted to take it a little more seriously and make it my full-time job. Now I’m able to do triathlon as a full-time job. When I was working there I thought I was doing triathlon full time, but now that I’m not working I realize how much more time, effort and energy it takes to be a professional athlete. I wasn’t doing half the things I should have been doing. It’s nice to get the recovery time in I need and get three to four quality sessions in a day as opposed to getting up at four in the morning and trying to jam everything in before I go to work. It’s a completely different lifestyle.