Cycling: Hanlie Booyens

Cycling: Hanlie Booyens

While both have their pros and cons, many cyclists choose running s a form of cross-training, giving them something different to d. And as most athletes will confess, a break in the sometimes undane routine of a chosen sport is often better than a holiday! One such cyclist who thrives on cross-training and incorporates regular running into her fi tness regime is Hanlie Booyens, women’s winner of the gruelling 2009 Cape Epic.

This tough, challenging race is one of the biggest mountain bike races in the world. Imagine eight days spent riding through 800km of unspoilt Western Cape nature, including climbing various mountain passes. There is no doubt that you have to be fi t for this event. And there, Hanlie has no problems whatsoever: she won the 2008 Totalsports Challenge, a tough multi-sport event that comprises seven disciplines – road running, trail running, road biking, mountain biking, swimming, sea paddling and freshwater canoeing. She was third in the 2009 Totalsports Challenge and placed second in the 2009 Southern Storm Duathlon.

An indoor hockey injury forced Hanlie to start cycling, and she loved it so much she never stopped. “Though most people think I ride my bike all day, I actually do have a full time job. I am an architect and
love my job. After working at a big fi rm for eight years, a partner and I started our own fi rm in 2007. I am a believer in the motto, ‘The more you do, the more you can.’ Fitting my training into my
busy schedule just takes effective time management… and a very understanding partner.”
Hanlie, who works and lives in Stellenbosch, has always been involved in some kind of sport. As a young girl she jogged with her dad before school. “Sport has always been my island of sanity,” says Hanlie, who placed sixth in the Pick n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour in 2003 and then represented South Africa at the World Enduro Champs in Norway and the World Cross Country Champs in Italy in 2005.

She cycles three to four times a week and runs two to three times. She also fi ts in core and stability exercises twice a week, and does a bit of paddling in the summer months. As if that wasn’t enough,
she also walks her Jack Russell, Danielle, every day! “Sport is a way of getting rid of work-related stress, so I try not to place too much pressure on myself, unless there is something specifi c I am training
for, like the Cape Epic,” says Hanlie.

Cycling takes a lot of time – especially when training for such events – and this is where running complements Hanlie’s training regime. It allows her to still fi t in a quality training session, which helps with general fi tness, but without keeping her away from the offi ce for hours. She loves running, especially trail running, and often competes in duathlons or multi-sport
events. “Running is so basic and such an honest sport. You put your shoes on and off you go – any
time, any place.”

She runs any distance ranging from 8km to 40km, depending on her goal race. “Running helps my cycling, especially when I don’t have hours to spend on the bike. It also keeps my mind going when
I sometimes get a bit bored of bike, bike and more bike… and the rhythm of a good run often
helps me to sort out design problems in my job.”

Hanlie believes that hard work and commitment have helped her become the successful athlete she
is today. “I am for sure not the most talented cyclist out there, but I am very committed and I
can sometimes become a bit too focused on my goals.” Her passion for cycling and sport in general comes from that feeling she gets when exercising outdoors. “It’s the mountains, the sea, the sun and
the wind. I feel close to my Creator when I train at special places, such as Jonkershoek here in Stellenbosch. When I’m out there it feels like my church.”

Running makes her feel free and light, and though she completed the Comrades Marathon and the Two Oceans Marathon twice each a few years ago, she won’t commit to such long distances again any time soon due to knee problems. She has great respect for the thousands of Comrades runners, as she knows how much it takes to fi nish the race. “I fi nd it inspirational to see how thousands of ordinary people cross the fi nish line. Comrades taught me how much harder you can push your body than what you thought was possible.”

Hanlie’s favourite race was the recent Southern Storm Duathlon. “We ran the hiking route of the Otter Trail (in the Tsitsikamma National Park) on the fi rst day of the fi ve-day, off-road duathlon. It was magnificent!”

Cycling and running help her to fi nd clarity on tough issues in hard times, and in good times they help her stay humble. “I can’t imagine my life without sport and I thank my Creator every day for the absolute privilege to participate. Winning is great, but even better is the ability to participate, just because of the sheer joy it gives you,” says Hanlie.

Her advice to young and aspiring cyclists is to fi nd a good coach and to remember that Rome was not built in one day – that it takes time to become a good cyclist. “Train and race hard, but never forget
where your talent comes from and that it can be taken away from you, especially when winning becomes more important than the joy you derive from sport.”


Age:  36 
Team: Team Jeep 
Favourite food and drink:  Anything from a bakery. And Coke. 
Favourite song:  Crazy by Seal 
Life motto:  No one is in charge of your happiness but you. 
Role model:  Ordinary people with extraordinary qualities. 
Without my bike I am?  Frustrated 
Running keeps me:  Sane 
Best race ever:  SA Finals of the G4 Challenge 
Dream bike:  I’m riding it; a Carbon Merida 96’r 



TRI Training For Age Group Athletes

This is the second in our triathlon training and racing series. Not sure if this applies to you? Well, this article is directed at the average competitive age group athlete, not at the elite or age group athlete who will finish closer to the front of the field.

I am an average age group athlete myself and know that this group is comprised of the guys and girls who have full time careers, family and social commitments, as well as other interests/hobbies. However, we enjoy doing triathlon and like to be reasonably competitive. This means balancing training with your other commitments and maximising the training that
you do.

The training programme discussed below is mainly geared towards the standard distance, but can also be used for half
Iron Man events with some small adjustments.

1. Number of training sessions: You need to train a minimum of two of each triathlon discipline per week, aiming at three. That means six to nine training sessions each week, which can add up to training twice on some days.

2 Weekly di.stance: Aim at four times the race distance in training each week, that is, swim 6km, run 40km and cycle 160km. This should take around 12 hours each week.

3. Rest and recovery: As with any form of training, rest is very important, however the nature of triathlon training allows one to do a different sport like swimming when the legs are tired from a long run or long cycle. The important thing to understand is that everybody reacts to training differently. So, when you are tired, take a day off and rest. Do not try to catch up any sessions. Simply slot back into the programme after your day off.

4. Specific training: With limited time and three disciplines to train for, each and every session should have a specific goal in terms of what the training session is aimed at, as well as the event that you are preparing for. As an example, a long endurance ride must be just that and not become a speed session. Conversely, a speed session should focus on speed and not how many kilometres you are logging. If your upcoming event has a hilly cycle, you need to train specifically for that. Know what you want to achieve with each session you do and note that this is very different to a recommendation that first time triathletes will receive.

Let’s split the training into the three disciplines that occur in the same order as the event, namely, swim, cycle, run. Your ideal target is to get three sessions of each discipline in each week.

Swim Sessions
Session 1
should focus on endurance, doing some longer intervals at a steady pace (400m to 1 000m) with a short rest in between each interval. You need to do a total of 2km during the session.

Session 2
should focus on your race pace over shorter intervals (50m to 300m). Do 50m to 100m at a slow pace between each interval. Try do 2km per session.

Session 3
should be a 1.5km to 2km ‘open water‘ swim in a dam. This session is to develop the skill of swimming in open water.
Always do this with other swimmers, using a wetsuit and in the summer months only.

Cycle Sessions
Once again, your ideal target should be three rides per week.

Ride 1
should be 40/50km of steady spinning.

Ride 2
should focus on speed work or race pace riding (total ride of about 40/50km with 20km at race pace).
Ride 3
should be a long one, twice your proposed race distance (80km to 90km of steady cycling, but including some hills).

Run Sessions
Run 1
should be a steady easy run of around 10km to 12km.
Run 2
should be a run of 8km to 10km including some tempo or fartlek, or even a 5km time trial.

Run 3
should be a long run, twice the race distance (20km steady including some hills).

The foundation for any endurance sport is the longer sessions to build a good base. Thus, the most important sessions are the long cycle and long run. Saturday and Sunday mornings are usually the best time to train, so use them to do the longer cycles and longer runs. Use Saturday afternoons for the open water swim (in summer time only).

A typical programme could be structured like this:

  Monday        Swim
  Tuesday        Run
  Wednesday   Morning cycle, lunchtime or evening swim
  Thursday       Run
  Friday           Morning cycle, lunchtime or evening swim
  Saturday       Run – long
  Sunday         Cycle – long

I prefer to alternate running and cycling and add the swim sessions where possible, such as in the evenings or after a run/cycle. You WILL miss some days, either to rest or because of work, family or social commitments. Do not try to catch up any lost training, but make sure you try to do the faster running and cycling sessions.

Does this programme work?
Yes, this programme definitely works. I have used it very successfully for the last few seasons, with some very good results. As an example, for the three months before this year’s
SA Triathlon Champs, I did 88 sessions in 90 days: seven per week. My weekly averages were: swim 5.5km, run 41km, cycle 120km per week for 13 weeks. This is as close to the magic formula as it gets! With this training, I managed a 2:20:00 standard triathlon and finished second in my age group at
SA Champs.

It’s Time to TRI

It’s Time to TRI

So you have finished a road race or two, maybe the Comrades or Two Oceans, done the 94.7 Cycle Challenge and want a new challenge.

Then TRIATHLON is for you!
Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.

As most runners can confirm, training only for running races places a big strain on our bodies, especially as we get older. By doing triathlon, or any other similar multi-sport event, you can still maintain a very good level of fitness and enjoyment that comes with training for other disciplines. In fact, you may even become a better all-round athlete in the process. You will certainly experience fewer injuries than someone who only runs.

So what is triathlon and HOW DO I START?
Triathlon is an event that requires you to swim, cycle and run in that order. The distance can vary from the easily achievable sprint right up to the Iron Man, which is a major achievement. To get started, you need to commit yourself to an event. Do not go big and decide on the Iron Man;
set yourself a simple but achievable goal, such as completing one of the summer Energade Sprint races that start in October, and take it from there. These events consist of a 600m swim, 20km bike ride and a 5km run.

How do I train for three events and how do I split my time accordingly?
As a novice this is very simple. Aim to train six days of the week with one rest day. Swim twice, run twice, cycle twice – easy. Focus on a different discipline each day. Initially keep the training very simple. You are trying to build a triathlon base and will need to get used to doing three sports. Try to stick to the schedule below.

RUN – 8/10km twice a week. Try and do this with a running club.
BIKE – Cycle the roads or do spinning classes twice a week for 45 minutes to an hour. Try to do one outdoor ride on the weekend.
SWIM – Get into a heated pool at your local gym and swim for 20 to 30 minutes.

For most novice triathletes, the swim is the most daunting. So start simply; try to swim for 4/6 lengths non-stop. Then rest and repeat for 20 to 30 minutes. Get the local swim coach to give you tips on your stroke or ask fellow triathletes/swimmers for advice.
Follow this type of training until you feel comfortable doing the three disciplines each week. Don’t worry if you miss a session. Continue this training for at least two to three months, aiming at three sessions per discipline with a minimum of one session per discipline per week. Once you are comfortable with this, you can try to increase to three sessions per discipline per week, which will mean training twice a day on some days.
When I started doing triathlons in 2000, I aimed to do four times the race distance in training each week. This is a formula that worked for me, and it can certainly work for you. For the Energade sprint races, this will mean about 2.5km of swimming, 80km of cycling and 20km of running. This cumulates to a total training time of about six to seven hours (one hour a day) which most road runners can do easily. However, you do not have the cumulative effect on the body, of only focusing on one sport, so you get fit with less risk of injury.
If you aim to do a Standard Olympic event (1.5km swim/40km cycle/10km run), using the same formula will mean about 12 hours of training a week, but you can get away with a lot less if your aim is simply to finish the event.
It may sometimes be better to find something in between that suits your ability, goals and family/work time constraints. Remember, in the beginning you need to just go out and swim, cycle and run. Don’t worry about pace or what type of training you are doing, just tick off the six sessions a week.
What equipment do you need to start?
Again, keep it simple. It is easy to get caught up in the techno hype of buying the latest equipment. For running, stick to shoes, shorts and the usual t-shirt. For cycling, use either a road or mountain bike, helmet, cycling shorts and proper cycling shoes. For swimming, only a costume or Speedo will do. Yes guys, you need to swim in a Speedo not baggies. Also get yourself some decent goggles and a cap.
Remember, KEEP IT SIMPLE to start with. Now get out there and enjoy your new challenge.
In future articles, we will cover what type of training is ideal, including sample swim sessions, as well as tips for your first triathlon.
See you on the road – in the saddle – or in the pool.

9 Rules to Create a New Habit

9 Rules to Create a New Habit

To be a successful Modern Athlete in any form, whether you’re a walker, triathlete or runner, your daily habits in life dictate the success you will achieve.

The Power of Less is an initiative started by Leo Babauta as a method of getting people to streamline their lives. One of the goals of The Power of Less is to help people form new and more productive habits, habits that will help them achieve their goals.

Whether you’re planning to run a big race, need help focusing on your training or want to break some bad nutrition habits, the 9 steps to form a new habit will help you get there.