Do you think your education or your career has helped to prepare you mentally for racing?
Maybe school and university tought me to combine both – “normal” life and sports life. But as I always had a “sports career” besides school and university I grew up with the motivation to race. I kind of learned it from early days how to prepare for racing physically and mentally.
Have you been an athlete all your life or did you have some sort of epiphany that got you into it?
I started swimming when I was 6 years old and did it for 10 years semi-professionally; my biggest achievement was the participation at 2010 Junior European Championships in Helsinki and a 5th place there with the 4x100 free relay. In autumn 2011 a fellow pro triathlete in my hometown asked me why I don’t try triathlon. I tried it, loved it and still do it ;-) .
What do you do when you're not training or racing?
I love to visit my hometown and my family and friends as I don’t really see them very often. I like being outside in nature, travelling and a good coffee with a piece of cake is always nice when there is no training.
Do you behave differently in your life and during a race?
Maybe – maybe not; others could probably tell you more about that :-D . I’m more the settled character in life and try to take that with me in a competition.
How do you normally feel before the start of a race?
Nervous. I always think of different situations, the training leading up to the race (did it work or not) and what will happen during the race. But when the gun goes off these thoughts are often gone and I just swim, bike and run .
What's the most rewarding feeling you have ever had on a race?
The last lap on the run at Challenge Walchsee 2016. I was in 2nd place the whole time and during the last lap I realized my position was safe. The last few kilometres were still pretty hard but the feeling crossing the finish line was awesome.
What's been your worst moment in a race? How did you overcome this?
A crash last season at Allgäu Triathlon – i came out of the water in front but crashed in a descent after 5km on the bike and had to quit. I thought about it but I could not change it afterwards so I went back to training and tried not to think about it. Crashes can happen but I had no injuries afterwards so it was only a small accident and nothing I really had to be worried about.
What does concentration mean for you? What role does it play when you train or compete?
It’s important before a race. I need to be focused before a race to get a good result. In training it’s also important during hard sessions – but there’s always time for some fun in training too. Being too serious all the time is boring.
What structure does a race have in terms of the level of sensations? What do you start with, what do you end with, and what do you experience along the way?
It depends on the race and how important it is for me. I’m always nervous before the start of a race but it’s not like there are different levels or a structure of feelings. Of course the closer you get to the finish and if you can see or feel that your result can be great you ask yourself whether you can keep up this pace or not. But I think that’s something a lot of athletes experience.
What is your greatest enemy in a competition? What do you want to defeat?
Being afraid of bike mechanicals. The few days before a race my biggest thoughts are often: “What will happen if I have a puncture?” “What if I crash or lose my nutrition.” But that’s more the thoughts ahead of the race. I don’t really know what I think about during race so it cannot be that productive or interesting .-D
Your worst enemy is your mind?
Sometimes. If everything is going as planned it’s great but if there’s something happening you have not planned or your legs are tired and you cannot push hard enough then doubts can start to creep in and that could lead to weakening yourself mentally.
Do you have thoughts of escape during a competition? Can you describe them?
No not really. When I’m in front after the swim and on the bike I try to make it hard for the contenders to get me but that has nothing to do with escape ;-).
When you feel you can't go any further, when you want to give up, what goes through your mind? What does your body tell you and what does your mind come back with?
I remind myself of how often I did this run distance, pace, bike pace/ wattage etc. in training. Or some feelings I had while training or during other races and that pushes me through. When I know the course I sometimes set imaginary markers or check points I have to pass to get further to the finish.
Tell us the main differences you see between physical and mental strength.
The longer the race the more important it is to be strong mentally. You can be the fittest athlete at a race physically but if you don’t have that mental strength to push through a bad time (e.g. while on the bike) or hold off your opponents on the run (when you know they can run faster than you) you will not win a race. You also can be in top shape but to get the result you’re after it’s the combination between physical and mental strength that counts.
What is your mental strength?
I know what I’m capable of and what I did in training. And I don’t think that much about others during a race. I just concentrate on my own performance and day which helps me to get a good result/race.
In triathlon is it necessary to have inner strength? Be made of iron maybe?
It could help. Maybe when you’re made of iron all the negative thoughts and stuff bounces off yourself ;-). As I said above it’s important to be mentally strong. I think you learn to cope with different situations during your career and that’s your inner strength – that you know what you’re capable of and what you have to do when a special situation comes up.
- FLORIAN ANGERT
1st Ironman 70.3 in Jönköping 2018
Vice European Champion ETU 2016
2nd place Challenge Walchsee 2016
3x overall winner BASF Triathlon Cup Rhein Neckar