What do you do? What is your profession?
I am a professional triathlete and a Physical Activity and Sports Sciences student.
How long have you been a triathlete?
I have been competing as a triathlete for 7 seasons.
Do you think your education or your career has helped to prepare you mentally for racing?
No, my studies help me understand the logic behind my training sessions and the preparatory part of the process in which I am involved at each moment.
Have you been an athlete all your life or did you have some sort of epiphany that got you into it?
I began playing football when I was 7 years old; when I was 11 I got involved in swimming and I competed in this sport until I was 18, on both a regional and national level. Then I decided to seek out new challenges and I tried triathlon. I was totally hooked.
What do you do when you're not training or racing?
I love getting to know the places where I am training, trying out cafés, restaurants, walking around. Depending on how demanding the training sessions have been or are going to be. Sometimes I just study or watch series on TV. Other times I go out with friends, go surfing, etc. A good nap or sleeping in without an alarm clock are also pleasures I enjoy a lot, hehe.
What's been your worst moment in a race?
Whenever I work hard on the bike and there is no organised collaboration from most of the group. Many times it’s an overexertion that you pay for during the running stage and it leaves you feeling powerless. Also, when you fall or get hurt and you can’t finish the competition or when they grab you or hit you in the water and it drags you down.
How did you overcome this?
Normally you can’t do anything about it. You resign yourself to it, accept what has happened and look ahead. You work harder and are more careful to avoid these situations; you’re patient and learn from your mistakes.
Tell us the differences you see between physical and mental strength.
Physical strength can be quantified; it’s easier to work and build up strength. Many people have great physical strength. Mental strength is what causes you to get the most out of your physical strength, it allows you to push hard and regulate your physical strength. Strength without control is useless.
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 normally try not to let messages from my body get into my head in the form of negative information. I go along with it, thinking that it is always possible to suffer a little bit more, a few more seconds, a few more minutes...Although there’s a limit to everything. Your body wants to stop and you have to think positively.
How do you normally feel before the start of a race?
I normally feel excited, a little nervous and with the desire to put into practice what I’ve learnt in my training sessions. I enjoy competition a lot more than training. I like feeling that way.
In triathlon is it necessary to have inner strength? Be made of iron maybe?
No-one is made of iron. Triathletes are people with goals, objectives, willing to make great sacrifices in order to reach them, because once you reach them, there is an enormous feeling of satisfaction. Inner strength is very important.
- VICENTE HERNÁNDEZ
4º Gold Coast WTS 2015
Bronze medallist at the 2014 European Elite Championships
3-time medallist at the World Cup.