Since being crowned the 2016 XTERRA World Champion, Mauricio Méndez has won The Patagonman Xtreme Triathlon and stood on the top step of the podium at three IM 70.3 races.
It hasn't been an easy rise to the top though as an injury caused Mau to endure an extended break from training and racing, even before the pandemic put things on hold for athletes around the world.
Still only 25 years of age, we caught up with the newest member of Team PH to find out how he's building back to full fitness in his quest to be crowned IRONMAN World Champion...
Hi Mau, welcome to Team PH! First up, what's the big goal for you in the coming years or are you going to continue racing different distances and formats for enjoyment?
I want to be an all-round triathlete, chasing XTri and XTERRA World Championship titles, as well as being on the big stage at IRONMAN, Challenge and PTO events.
But Kona is always on my mind.
At the end of the day, my main focus is on being World Champion in Hawaii.
Your path to Kona hasn't been straightforward because of some issues with injury of late. How did you adapt your training during your recovery?
Yes, 2019 was extremely hard, dealing with both physical injury and the difficult mental challenges that come with an injury layoff.
I did stop racing and training hard for almost 6 months, so it was a matter of getting back to basics, enjoying the simple things and building little by little.
As a 24-year-old, that was extremely hard to digest, but it all came up with hard work and having my family besides me all the time, especially my Dad.
Your father has been a huge influence on your career since finishing 2nd in your first triathlon as a 10-year-old; what's been the biggest lesson he's taught you when it comes to triathlon?
I would say that the biggest lesson from my Dad is to face my fears.
"Face your fears" was a saying we've used as far back as I can remember, and it applies in every race (and even in some training sessions!).
Taking into account what you've learned during your own layoff, what are your 3 best pieces of advice for athletes recovering from injury?
- Don't try to fix it yourself, look for a professional to help you recover.
- Be patient.
- Enjoy time with family and friends, reconnect with what you may have lost, believe in the process, and do whatever you can to aid recovery.
Now you're back to full fitness, can we take a peek at what a typical week of training looks like for a World Champion?
Sure, my "typical" week looks like this at the moment...
|Monday||Swim 4k and Bike 3 hours||Run 1 hour|
|Tuesday||Swim 4k and Run 90 mins||Gym|
|Wednesday||Bike 3-4 hours and Run 1 hour||Swim 3-4k|
|Thursday||Hard run 90 mins||Swim 4k and Run easy 1 hour|
|Friday||Swim 4k and Run Easy||Some easy mobility|
|Saturday||Bike - long ride 5 hours||Run 1 hour|
|Sunday||Long run 2 hours||Swim 1 hour|
Precision Hydration’s Customer Service Manager (and age-group triathlete) James Phillips is planning to make the move to off-road racing this year. Have you got any top tips for a relative 'newbie' to the sport?
I would say it's about the mountain bike, so mostly focus on specific training where the main goal is to have fun. That would give you the handling skills.
As for equipment, just look for some great trail shoes, your feet will thank me later.
And how did you first hear about Precision Hydration?
While doing some performance tests, such as a Sweat Test, VO₂ Max and Lactate Threshold, Sports Scientist Benito Flores introduced me to PH and I fell in love with the product.
After using the PH 1500, I found I'd never done a 4-hour trainer session with a faster recovery in my life!