Brisbane-based pro-triathlete Sarah Crowley joined Team Precision Fuel & Hydration for 2019. Sarah was the 2018 IRONMAN South America Champion and came in 3rd place at the IRONMAN World Champs in Kona a couple of years ago.
She was also the ITU Long Course World Champ, the IRONMAN European and Asia Pacific Regional Champ in 2017 and won the Middle East 70.3 title the year before that.
This year her eyes are very firmly set on the big prize on the Big Island (Kona!) and we've been helping her dial in her hydration plan for the tough conditions out in Hawaii.
This season has started very well for Sarah. She won the Hell of the West Triathlon in Goondiwindi, Queensland and set a new course record (03.50.11) in the process. She then got on to the top step again, winning IRONMAN 70.3 Taiwan in March.
Her next goal race is IM Cairns in June and as part of her prep for that race, this weekend she went to the 70.3 Asia Pacific Champs in Vietnam where she punched in a very solid 2nd place finish.
Brad caught up with her a few days after the race to get some insights into her prep for the race and how her training has been going recently...
So Sarah, congrats on another podium in a stacked field. When did you arrive in Vietnam and what else did you do to prepare for the heat/humidity you’d face during the race?
I arrived in Vietnam on the Thursday at about midday, three days before the race. I started heat adaption preparation two weeks before the race by using a sauna every second evening.
With this race being a Regional Championship, did you end up taking a bigger taper for it, or was it not an "A" race for you with IRONMAN Cairns just around the corner?
This was not an A race but we did take it seriously because it's a Regional title.
I have been a full distance specialist for a while, so it was great to hit this race hard. I was in the hurt box right up until I left on the Wednesday night, but I was able to recover in time for the race. Having both Cairns then Roth four weeks later has meant that we could not afford the time to fully taper for this race.
And what made you choose Vietnam as a prep race for Cairns?
We chose the race for the conditions, mainly the heat and humidity. Most championship races are hot and humid, so it was a fantastic opportunity to race strong competition in a championship scenario.
Is there anything you’ve been focusing on in training in particular in recent months? Why?
I have been working a lot harder on my run this year. Since leaving the office environment to go pro, it's taken me three years to condition my body with the appropriate level of training to get to the point that I can now handle some harder run training!
This very hard work has paid off. Interestingly, my run split in Vietnam was very even which, I think, shows that the preloading element of my hydration strategy was also effective.
What did you eat/drink the day before and morning of the race?
I normally drink a weaker Precision Fuel & Hydration electrolyte drink with my meals (like PH 500) on the day before the race, but for this race I used PH 1500 as per your advice. It was so hot that pre-loading was critical.
I also had a bottle of 1500 after breakfast, before the race. I ate my normal pre-race food, which is basically a high carbohydrate lunch and dinner, such as pasta or pizza. Breakfast was my typical toast, honey, banana combo!
What do you swim in with this race being a non-wetsuit swim?
I use a swimskin. It's always a tough choice between a sleeveless speed suit underneath and pulling the arms up for a sleeved speed suit. I chose a sleeved speed suit, but I lost a few seconds in transition pulling the arms up. That's something to consider when in a high speed T1 environment...
Interesting. Ok, and talk us through your bike setup?
I have a Canyon Speedmax. It's great because of it's seamless integration.
I can carry my food and drink in the front bento, my PH 500 in the down tube aero bottle and then I carry a third bottle in the back with water.
The front bottle is easy to refill but I don’t typically do this in halves, I simply swap out the rear bottle. I carry enough fluid that I don’t need to swap out bottles until about the 60k mark of a 70.3.
Yeah, those down tube aero bottles are handy aren't they! And what shoes do you run in and why?
I use the Nike Vaporfly Flyknit 4%s because, well, they are fast!
So, looking forward, where will you be doing your final block of training for IM Cairns?
I head back to Brisbane for my final 4 weeks preparation. I will use the sauna for Cairns also. I was very pleased with the adaptions it gave me for Vietnam and although the race was hotter than the sun, it was manageable without the customary 7 days acclimation because of the sauna protocol I had followed.