Image copyright of Holly Stanton Photographer

In the lead-up to 2014’s Challenge Wanaka Triathlon, we’re following the gruelling training schedule of team Angry Birds. One swimmer, one cyclist and one runner, this team is pushing the boundaries of physical endurance. They came third in the all-female category last year – can they beat their current record in 2014?

Attracting professional and amateur athletes from all over the world, Challenge Wanaka Triathlon Festival runs from 15-18 January 2014 in New Zealand’s beautiful South Island.

As a spectator, you could easily be distracted by the spectacular alpine backdrop. For the competitor, the scenery is a merely bonus: endurance is everything on this 226km course.

Each team member takes one discipline: 3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run.

So, how are our Angry Birds preparing for the challenge?

Angry Bird: Nicola
Leg: 3.8km swim

Having completed the iconic 19.7km open water HBF Rottnest Channel Swim in WA a couple of years ago, Nicola knows all about long-distance swim preparations.

No stranger to open water, her training regime sees her spending almost as much time in her swimmers as she does in her day job. Long summer daylight hours are a definite bonus.

In addition to training for Wanaka, Nicola regularly competes in long and short-distance ocean swims and biathlons.

Current training schedule:

  • Saturday: 10.5km open water swim to practice nutrition and get the kms up. Training includes 3.2km loop x 3: two loops in a wetsuit and one without
  • Monday: 5km pool swim with her swim squad (cruisy recovery from Saturday’s long swim)
  • Tuesday: 12km run
  • Wednesday: 5km pool swim including steady anaerobic sets of 200, 100 and 50 metre sprints
  • Thursday: 12km run
  • Friday: 5km pool swim: 2km warm up and sets of 50 metre sprints
  • Saturday: 4km ocean swim

Nicola’s using a combo of Staminade for the long swims plus glutamine for muscle repair after training: she’s noticed her arms are less fatigued when it comes to the following day’s training.

She’s also using this time to learn more about after-training nutrition to help with recovery. As well as glutamine, she’s trying spirulina for detoxification of the intestine, allowing more effective absorption of energy during and after sessions.

We’ll follow Nicola  as she gets ready for her second trip to one of South Island’s biggest challenges.

Thinking of entering in 2015? Find out more here.

Images by kind permission of Holly Stanton Photographer.