My workout routine has been so up and down lately it’s difficult to keep up with my inconsistent behaviour. So when I received an invite from New Balance to a Girls Night Out I immediately replied with a yes. One because it sounds super fun and two, once I’ve committed I can’t back out as people are relying on me.
I was super excited to be invited to this event, yet a little nervous as I wasn’t sure what type of workout would be involved, especially as it was in association with Runners Need, and, well, cardio isn’t my strongest point. All I envisaged was a dark room with neon lights and rows upon rows of treadmills, after all New Balance is known for its running gear.
When arriving, and walking into the event, I was pleased to see no treadmills in sight. I was handed my new SS17 performance kit and as soon as I changed into it I was in LOVE. The comfort was unbelievable.
So the event was starting, the lights were turned down and women and glow stick covered the room, the music came on and the party began, also, my leggings glowed in the dark!
Aerobics is very different from my regular weight lifting training routine, so to begin with I was unsure on how this was going to get my energy going. I kid you not, after an hour of non stop dance based aerobics, I was gasping for water and in need of a towel to wipe the sweat dripping down my neck. Gross, I know!
We also sat down with 4th place Olympic Triathlete Non Stanford who is a New Balance athlete affiliated with the Girls Night Out event.
First of all, how and why did you get into athletics?
I started running when I was in year 7. My mum was my PE teacher and roped me into the school cross country team. I won my first race and was down the local athletics club within a few months cutting laps of the field with Swansea Harriers.
Who has been the biggest inspiration on your career to date?
Dame Kelly Holmes. I was very lucky to be mentored and advised by Kelly as a young athlete. Her guidance in those formative years have been invaluable and some of the lessons she taught have stayed with me throughout my career.
You originally started as a track runner, what was the motivation behind the transition to become a triathlete?
I was at University and had become disheartened with athletics after a few years of constant injury. I needed a new challenge and a fresh start and triathlon offered that. I think it was a case of right place, right time. If it wasn’t for the University triathlon coach Steve Lumley encouraging me I probably would never have started triathlon.
You competed in Rio 16, how does that compare to any other competitions you’ve competed in?
Everyone tells you it’s just another race, but like no other race you’ve ever competed in. Which is true. Everything is the same as always. You swim 1500m, you ride 40km and you run 10km. But it’s the Olympics and it’s what you’ve dreamed of since you were young. So the stakes are higher, the excitement is greater, the nerves are bigger. It’s like any other race, but everything is amplified. I feel very fortunate to have experienced an Olympic Games. Hopefully it wasn’t a once in a lifetime experience and I have a chance to do it again.
What was the pre-Rio training schedule like?
To be honest we tried to keep it as normal as possible. There’s no point trying to reinvent the wheel. What we did in the past worked, so why change? We went to a holding camp in Pirassununga, Sao Paulo which we trialled the year before and spent the last 2 weeks before the Games prepping there. It was quiet and away from the buzz of the Games and the rest of Team GB. Just the triathlon team and our closest members of staff. It was ideal.
Talk us through your daily training regime.
I swim, bike, run every day. Other than a Friday which is our easy day, so just a swim and gym session. A typical week consists of around 30 hours of training; 5 swims, 5 bike sessions, 8 runs, 3 gym sessions, an hour of yoga and a rehab circuit. I see the physio at least once a week and get a weekly massage with the sports therapist too. It’s pretty busy, and down time is spent trying to recover and refuel for the next one.
What is a triathlete’s nutrition diary like?
It’s obviously a really important component of what we do. We use food to recover and refuel better. My nutrition strategy is something that I’ve been working on and thinking about this winter. It’s not just about eating healthy, which I’m pretty good at anyway; it’s often more about eating the right thing at the right time to get maximal gains. However, one advantage of training so much is that treats can be a little more frequent!
What event are you currently training for at the moment?
I’m currently prepping for the 2017 season. I start this year’s campaign in May in China where I’ll start with a World Cup event, followed closely by my first World Series race in Japan, which is the premier series in Triathlon that see’s the annual World Triathlon Champion crowned. The aim of the season is to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and to finish on the 2017 World Championship podium.
What New Balance Kit are you using at the moment and how does it help you to perform at your best?
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my New Balance Vazee Pace. I do nearly all my running in these shoes. They’re comfortable, light weight, yet offer enough support and cushioning to get me through some big mileage weeks. They also come in some fabulous colours that brighten up any day. Look good, run good right?!
When you are not training, what does a regular day look like for Non?
This is a rarity! Usually, if there’s no training at all I’m sat on a long haul flight catching up on films and books. On the odd afternoon I have off life admin sets in; all those normal boring bits and pieces that everyone leaves for the weekend or their days off…food shop, emails, finally making the bed!
I’m sure this is a question you’ve had many times, but competing against your house mate, Vicky Holland, what does that do to the atmosphere in your house?
We were really good at leaving ‘work’ at ‘work’. No matter what happened at training or at a race, we’d get through the door and it was forgotten about and we were normal housemates. We were friends before we lived together and that has never changed. Vicky gave me a framed photo of us hugging at the Rio finish line with the word “Friends first. Always”. It sums us up perfectly and I get a little emotional every time I see it. I’m really proud, and thankful, of our friendship. Vicky now lives in Bath and I miss having her around. I can’t wait to be reunited at races with her this year!
What’s the hardest competition you have endured so far?
Every race is hard for different reasons. You always have to dig deep and push yourself to places that are well out of your comfort zones; both physically and mentally. That’s the nature of Triathlon. It can be daunting stood on a start line knowing that the next couple of hours are going to be tough; I guess you have to change that fear into excitement, otherwise you might never dive in!
If you weren’t a professional athlete what would Non Stanford be doing?
I’ve started thinking about life after triathlon. I think it’s important to have a ‘retirement’ plan. It hopefully won’t be for at least another Olympic cycle, but I don’t want to finish and be like “Ok so now what?!” I love working with the media and the dream would be to pursue a career in that area. Vicky and me joke about being a double act; we can certainly talk for Britain, but I’m not sure if anyone would be interested in listening to our crazy chatter!!
Photo credits: Hero Image – Delly Carr, Feature Images – New Balance Inc