To celebrate her recent success in becoming Ironman World Champion, we revisit this episode where Louise Minchin and Annie talk to professional triathlete Lucy Charles-Barclay about life as a triathlete, over coming career threatening injuries, and her disappointment of not making the 2012 Olympic swimming team.
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Louise Minchin: 0:06
Hi everybody, welcome back to our Her Spirit podcast. Me here, Louise Minchin, Annie Emerson, looking very glamorous as ever.
Annie Emmerson: 0:15
How are you? I've got my Essex facelift a hair style on. When I'm having a dodgy day, I put my ponytail as tight as I can and then I feel better about myself.
Louise Minchin: 0:27
If I did that, I think it would not be a good look. I never do that. This is what I call my. I'm not getting to say on the podcast, actually, but the fringe covers up a multitude of sins. I'm not going to say on the podcast. You know why, annie? Because loads of the newspapers listen to our podcast now. Oh, do they?
Annie Emmerson: 0:42
Oh, my goodness, they're always printing stuff that we say in it, hello newspapers, hello everybody else They'll be talking about your fringe, which is covering your wrinkles, which you don't have. Fringe doesn't suit me. I go for the. You know, the Essex. Sorry to anyone in Essex, I don't want to offend anyone, but you know there's a good trick.
Louise Minchin: 0:59
I didn't want to make you paranoid, annie, yeah.
Annie Emmerson: 1:02
It just sort of scoops the forehead up and lifts the eyes a little bit. This is what happens, honestly, when you get to that, you know 50, 51., 51. I was on Monday. Oh yeah, happy birthday. How the hell did that happen? I have no idea. It was absolutely brilliant. It was a little bit frosty on Tuesday after sort of like you know celebrations, you know me and my wine, but no, all good, all good. I had a lovely day.
Louise Minchin: 1:24
I'm breaking news I broke my bike. Oh my God. We've got Michelle, michelle Charlotte's on the podcast. Everybody who is in her spirit on the Her Spirit app. You will know. If you're a cyclist, you must know Michelle. If you don't know Michelle, you need to know her. She is our brilliant bike coach and I was on her Her Spirit bike ride and on indoors on my indoor bike and I snapped my gears. Annie, I snapped my gears. My chain was also completely ruined, as was the. Is it the cassette at the back?
Annie Emmerson: 1:50
The cassette at the back. Was that because you were pushing such a big gear and so much power was going through those pedals?
Louise Minchin: 1:57
I think it's overriding. Apparently I've done a lot of miles inside. Anyway, let's talk to our guest, because also I have seen her. I mean very briefly on the virtual world that is Zwift, because she is super fast and super strong?
Annie Emmerson: 2:10
Oh my God, she certainly is. Am I going to do a little intro on her so we can? just yeah, I've seen you've done a written proper intro, you know what I just felt like I had to, because I felt like she was so special and I think you know we were getting a little bit of stick out there. Why haven't you got Lucy on your podcast and now we have? But anyway, just a little intro on Lucy and I think, following mental health awareness week just a couple of weeks ago, I think that our guest is going to teach us something brilliant about how things, when things don't go your way, you really can turn them around. Well, the lovely Lucy Charles Barkley has broken all the rules on how to become a successful long-course triathlete. In 2012, at the age of 18, Lucy just missed out on the Olympic selection for the 10K open water swim and I think it's safe to say she was pretty devastated and lost motivation to carry on for another Olympic cycle. We all know what it's like those of us that swim, what it's like to be in the water oh my gosh. Hours and hours a week. So she turned her hands to triathlon, even though she'd never ran or cycled before, and in just her second year in triathlon, she won her age group at the Ironman World Championships and then turned professional one year later and since then has had six victories, six second place finishes and a bronze. Truly remarkable athlete, Lucy, welcome. We are so happy to have you on our podcast this week.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 3:36
Thanks so much for having me. Louise and Annie. It's really really great to be chatting to you both. I've kind of heard a lot about your podcast before and I know people were like we want to have Lucy on the podcast, so I'm glad I can finally be here talking to you both.
Louise Minchin: 3:49
Oh we really appreciate it. We've got lots of questions for you as well. First things first. I'm imagining we're recording at 10 o'clock in the morning. Have you already done a session?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 3:57
Actually, today I'm on a rest day, so I've had a really lazy morning, which is quite rare, and then I've got a bike ride on a run to do a bit later on. So, yeah, I'm feeling quite fresh this morning. That's a rest day. That's a rest day Well, technically, so I'm on a training camp at the moment, so this is about as much as a rest day as it gets, having like half the day as rest.
Annie Emmerson: 4:20
So yeah, so where are you training at the moment?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 4:23
then so I'm out at a place called Club Los Anter, which is in Lanzarote, so it's basically triathlon paradise. It's very quiet here at the moment as well, because there's still travel limitations, so it's basically the whole complex with a couple of athletes. So it really is like our playground at the moment to just train and get on with what we need to get on with and then eat and rest at the same time.
Louise Minchin: 4:45
So, yeah, feeling very fortunate, oh my gosh, and it's Lanzarote, because I have been there once for a training camp and the bike rides are epic, aren't they?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 4:53
Yeah, it is pretty brutal riding here. I mean at the weekend. On the weather app it is purple for the wind, which is quite normal here, like the wind is really really tough. So if you want to go anywhere to get strong both physically and mentally on your bike, then riding around Lanzarote is definitely the place to go.
Annie Emmerson: 5:12
Well, I think I don't want to sort of like move too quickly, but obviously training in Lanzarote, I imagine, is great preparation for Kona, because there has to be some similarities in the landscape, in the wind and just generally the environment.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 5:33
Yeah, so I usually come out to Lanzarote to do my Kona prep. So back when I did my first pro racing Kona, I actually spent eight weeks in Lanzarote before that race and I think that just teed me up really really well because, as you said, it's so hot, it's really windy and the kind of environment is just really really similar to Kona. It's not as humid as Kona, so we do have to get out to Hawaii that bit early just to get used to the humidity. But just riding the barren rock with not much else going on is really good. Like I said, just physical training because it's so tough, but I actually think the mental training for that race is really, really important. So doing that out here, where every ride just feels like it's grinding you down, it really really does pay off.
Louise Minchin: 6:20
You're making me feel a whole lot better about how I've found it out there. I found it really grueling. Just for those who don't know, because there will be some people listening to this podcast who are not really aware of the kind of how iconic Kona is. So just tell us what Kona is like the pinnacle of Ironman, isn't it?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 6:37
Yeah, so Kona is basically the history of long distance sport. So it is where the Ironman triathlon was born. It's been going for I think we've had 40 years. So the last race that happened in Kona was the 40th year of the race. So every year the world champs happens out on this small island in the middle of Hawaii. I think basically it is the toughest course in terms of the climate. I wouldn't say if it wasn't hot and humid or windy, it would probably be quite an easy course, but the fact that the weather just can be so tough, that is what makes it the hardest race. So anyone who needs to go or who qualifies to go and do that race, you need to do a huge amount of climate prep for that race, because otherwise that's what's going to break you on the day. It's not whether you're fit enough, it's just whether you're able to deal with those hot, humid, windy conditions that just break the body down. It is so tough, but I think that's why the world championships has to be held there, because it is so tough.
Annie Emmerson: 7:39
I think we need to explain to our listeners because we're going to have a lot of different listeners, a lot of triathlon fans but a lot of people who don't know an awful lot about triathlon either, and I think for me, just learning a little bit more about your Ironman journey. We mentioned there in your intro that you came very much from a swim background. Tell us a little bit about the story, how it all changed from sort of swimmer to superstar triathlete.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 8:08
Yeah, I mean from the very beginning. So I got into swimming when I was about eight years old and even as an eight-year-old it was the Olympic dream. I was swimming and I was like I want to make the Olympic games. I'd watched it from being very young and knew that that's all I ever wanted to do. So I progressed through the sport, I'd say at a very normal rate. I wasn't like super talented as an eight-year-old, I just worked really, really hard. I remember being a nine-year-old who wanted to do the 200-meter butterfly event because I thought it was the hardest event. So I started out as a little swimmer wanting to do butterfly. Then I discovered distance freestyle and was like, actually I think this could be a hard order event. So at 16, I kind of specialized in long-distance freestyle and did pretty well. I got some national medals, went into open water and had even more success. It meant I got to actually travel the world a bit more, which was really exciting, racing some World Cups and just at a higher level. So that's what I was pursuing for the 2012 home games was to do the 10K open water swim, which I've narrowly missed out on for London. And then after that Olympics, I was like, realistically, I don't feel like I can do another four years in this sport. I was starting to lose the love of sport. Anyone who's a swimmer will know that it's just such a grueling sport. It's every morning, every evening, at the pool. Trying to balance that with your school work is just so, so tough. So I was just like I just don't think I can do this for another four years. So pretty much at that time I just gave up sport altogether and went and worked at a local zoo called Paradise Wildlife Park, which is an amazing zoo If you haven't been, I would definitely recommend going and I worked in their marketing department. So that was a really cool job. I was basically doing all of their social media management meeting the animals, following the keepers which was a really great job. But I knew at the time it definitely wasn't where I wanted my career to go. I missed sport. So whilst I was working there, reese and I who's my husband we set up a personal training business. So we were kind of doing that at the same time, and whilst I was working there, we both decided to sign up for an Ironman triathlon. We were like we need a new challenge, we need something that will motivate us enough, scare us enough to train. So it was a really big challenge that we both kind of went into together Training for that first Ironman, which was Ironman UK in Bolton, which was the 2014 Ironman, which was actually going to be their 10th Ironman of that race. We were like that's pretty cool. We thought at the time that we could do it on a mountain bike. Soon learned you don't want to do it on a mountain bike, lucy. No, yes, we've seen from our local triathlon club that you might not finish if you do it on a mountain bike. I don't even know if that's allowed either. So we kind of gradually I can hear someone's dog, I'm a big dog fan.
Louise Minchin: 11:13
I'm a big dog fan, so it's great I know We'll talk about your dog later. It's mine, it's waffle, and yeah, the place just arrived.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 11:20
Carry on about the mountain bike. Yeah. So we kind of realized you couldn't do it on a mountain bike, so we invested in a road bike and then, probably about less than a month out from the race, we found out that a time trial bike could be even faster. So we bought a time trial bike literally one month before the Ironman, which, again, I would definitely not recommend doing. You need to get used to the bike, but you're going to be riding. So we did a lot of things probably wrong now looking back but it all turned out okay. I think it was all about just finishing that Ironman. So I can say we both finished that Ironman in 2014. And the biggest thing for me was when I finished that Ironman. I had never felt any kind of like buzz from any of the racing I'd done in swimming, and that had been at a high level in comparison to just crossing that finish line of this Ironman, which it took me over 12 hours to complete this first Ironman. But I had never felt such an amazing buzz from just crossing that finish line and I knew that's what I needed to continue doing. I was almost hooked on that feeling. So that's where it all started, really.
Louise Minchin: 12:31
I'm so interested by that. What do you think it is? Is it the distance? Is it the fact that you're doing three different things? Is it the fact that you literally put your heart and soul on the line for 12 hours?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 12:41
I think it's all of that and it's all of the preparation as well, like the months of training to get just to the start line ready to do the race, and all the things required, all the equipment that you need to buy to finish the event. It's just everything builds up and then when you're on that start line in the morning, you just know it's going to be a long day to get to that finish line. And I think on the first one you don't know if you will be able to do it that there was a part of me that was like it doesn't matter what happens, I'm finishing this, but there's still such a long day ahead that you're like, am I actually going to make this? So the whole day you're just kind of dreaming of that finish line and then when you eventually get there, it's just. It's like no other feeling I've ever had.
Louise Minchin: 13:24
Just briefly, annie, you've explained it to me better than I've ever been able to explain it to anybody else. Actually, that kind of the feeling and the passion and the kind of spark that I get, for example, standing on the ferry in Patagon man and jumping in with no idea whether or not I would get, you know however many and it took me 16 and a half hours later whether I would make it, and nobody has. I've never heard that explained as well as by you, actually, and I think listeners will really be able to you know, because you can get that from your first traffic and even if it's a sprint distance, but yeah, the longer the distance, the more the jeopardy as well.
Annie Emmerson: 13:57
I'm just wondering whether I should be doing an Ironman at some point. Yes, annie, I mean I've always said no, no, no. And then you listen to Lucy and it's like why the hell haven't I ever done one? I mean this is ridiculous.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 14:11
Yeah, it's a journey, for sure, I think. And then you have to be careful because I think, once you've done one and you get that feeling, you definitely are like hooked on that feeling. You're like I need to do another one of these and need to do another one. So, yeah, that's where it did start for us.
Louise Minchin: 14:25
Let's talk about because you mentioned Reese, didn't you? So you both did that. He's still competing, isn't he? And he's also he's your coach?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 14:33
Yep, so Reese is my husband. He's also a professional triathlete himself and he's my coach. So we have a very interesting relationship, which I think a lot of people don't understand how it works. But we actually met back when we were swimmers. Reese was doing a sports science degree and I kind of say, even back then in the early days he was that person that I always looked up to, arthur Advice, who was just that sounding board really of do you think I should do this kind of training or should I adapt it this way? So he always played that role and I think it's just always continued and obviously worked well for us.
Annie Emmerson: 15:11
I mean, what is absolutely remarkable about this story? Lucy is there, you are planning for your little Iron man with your mountain bike, and I've watched everyone on this Zoom, call Michelle, who we're going to chat to later, who's an absolute expert and whiz on a road bike game. What a mountain bike for an Iron man. And in 2014, there you were, with Reese, setting up your personal fitness company, pulse fitness, and just going on a bit of a jolly Fast forward 12 months and you become the 18 to 24 year old age group winner in Kona. I mean, wow, that is just amazing. I mean, how on earth did you do it?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 15:54
I mean, obviously my swim background must have played a huge part in just that aerobic engine that I have. I've been swimming since I was eight years old and kind of obviously went into that distance swimming, so it was a lot of mileage all the time. But obviously the journey wasn't as easy as it may have looked from the outside, because as a swimmer you just do not have any impact through your bones or through your body. So actually coming into running was probably the most difficult stage because my body just wasn't used to it. And whilst riding a bike the difficulty in the beginning was actually just not falling off of it, because I'd never had clipping pedals or anything like that. So it was more trying to just train my body to put that aerobic engine into riding a bike, which took a couple of years, and then we really did start to see that paying off. But the running has always been the most difficult discipline, just because my body isn't used to it. So we did have quite a few injuries along the way in those early days, just learning what my body can do and actually building up that tolerance to running and actually learning how to train for running. So not always pounding the pavement doing mileage, but going on softer trail using a treadmill, just doing other forms of run training, that's softer on the body and I think over the years we've learned that. We've built that up and that's how we've had the progress that we've had.
Louise Minchin: 17:17
And we've got so many questions. I just want to touch on one which was sort of picks up on what you were saying there. This is from Louise, not me how important are things like yoga, strength training, pilates for triathletes and any woman who's active, Because I've seen you do great videos with your various different things? But just tell us, yeah.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 17:34
So I think again, I've been very fortunate because in my swim background we did a lot of shrimp training, so we almost from quite a young age, learnt the techniques for Olympic lifting and lifting in a safe way that doesn't injure yourself. But definitely for triathlon the strength training is so, so important. But you cannot neglect your kind of stretching and yoga and those kind of things, because there's no point being super strong but really stiff in your body. You need to be able to be flexible at the same time so you can get what you need from your muscles. So it's a real balancing act between being strong and being flexible. So I mean normally I will do two to three strength sessions per week just to build up that strength, but I'm trying to do stretching like two at least once a day, but normally twice a day around my other sessions, and just spending that time to warm up properly for all my sessions as well, which really I've only started doing in the last couple of years because I've learnt how much of a difference that makes. But obviously it's just finding the time to do it, which is obviously difficult for most people with their busy lives.
Annie Emmerson: 18:41
So in 2016, you suffered probably one of your biggest sporting injuries with the stress fracture to the femur. Now, that's a pretty tough injury to overcome, so I guess what would your advice be out there to any athlete at any level of coping with an injury like that and sort of moving on from it?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 19:01
Yeah, I think I was very fortunate that the injury happened so early in my career, but at the time it was obviously my worst nightmare, because I was coming into the sport, I wanted to prove what I was about, I wanted to prove that I deserved to be a professional athlete. And I had this injury and at the time I just ignored it. I was like kind of in denial. I was like, no, I'm not injured, I'm fine, it's a bit of pain but it'll pass and just continue to race and train. With the injury and the stress factor was actually in my tibia, so it was in my shin bone and I remember it getting misdiagnosed so many times. Some physios just said oh, it's just, it's just shin splints, have a bit of a rest from running, it will go away. And it just it didn't go away and I actually raced a four Ironman and a half Ironman with the stress fracture until it got to the point that it was so bad I actually couldn't walk at all and Wenen had a scan on the leg and they said if I do one more race, the bone will actually snap, because it's gone like 98% of the way through the bone. So that I learned the really hard way because it meant that the recovery and the healing was so slow because it was such a big fracture. So I remember at the time I was still personal training, so I was I had like a moon boot on and all of my clients were like, what have you done? And I was like, right, this is what you don't do as any athlete or anyone doing any training. Just listen to your body. If you start to feel something and it just continues and continues, you must either rest or go and get it looked at, so you know what you're dealing with. So it was a really tough lesson but I do feel fortunate now. It happened so early on that anything now I feel so in tune with my body to be like, okay, that doesn't feel quite right. Let's either stop immediately or go and get it looked at, so we know what we're dealing with.
Louise Minchin: 20:51
That is a really good lesson for everybody listening to this podcast. I wish everybody could see our faces when you were telling that story, but I feel stupid, given what I did with my foot as well. Just on the impact thing you said about running, because lots of people will be coming back from injury and for various you know whatever reasons it is. But so I had my operation I think it's four months ago and was obviously not running, and it's been very hard getting used to impacts. That's the thing that I didn't realize, because I have taken my running very, very slowly but I had no idea if you stop it. That's what, for me, was a difficulty. Was that presumably similar for you?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 21:30
Yeah, it's kind of you always whenever you have any injury, you almost want to go back in at where you left off, and unfortunately it's just not possible. You really do have to go back to the beginning again and just gradually build up that process, and that just kind of is the best way to do it, because it just means that injury has got far less chance of coming back if you can just gradually rebuild up again.
Louise Minchin: 21:55
So frustrating because you know and you've got this on a completely different level to me but I used to sort of think nothing of just like doing a half marathon in the mountains and I cycle past the mountains. The other day and I looked at them and I was like I can just do 5k. It's really frustrating, isn't it? And you must have felt that on a massively different level to me.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 22:15
Yeah, it's so, so tough. And it's also it's so tough now because you can see, or with the world that we live in, with social media, you get to see what all the other athletes are doing. So you're just like I need to be doing that, because they're all doing that already. So it's, it is really really tough because you're just comparing all the time to not only what you used to be able to do, but what everyone else is still able to do. So it is actually really really tough.
Annie Emmerson: 22:41
So, on a positive note, moving away, let's put those injuries aside. There you were out in 2016, 2015,. You'd won the age group, your age group in Kona 2017, you go back, moved on from the age group, you're now a pro triathlete and you finish second overall in the women's race. I guess my first question is was that something that you expected could happen that quickly in your long course career?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 23:10
Absolutely not. I think I always um, going into that race was just like I couldn't believe I'd really qualified. It was kind of just a dream to have got back to Kona in the pro ranks for my first year and I was just like you know what, if I could even make the top 10, I would be over the moon with that. So I kind of just had one of those days where everything seemed to come together and actually, even leading into that race, I'd had quite a difficult time with training because I'd had a bit of a hip injury that hadn't really allowed me to run as much as I wanted to. I'd had to just improvise and do a lot of other forms of cross training to make sure that I could potentially do the run. But the whole time leading into the race we were like, well, even if you go there and have an amazing swim, a really good bike, but you cannot do the run, it wouldn't be the worst case for your first time going there in the world champs and it kind of. I remember having this injury and actually then landing on the island and just it was like magic, it was just like it doesn't feel like it's there anymore and I was running thinking, yeah, I haven't got the pain in my hip anymore, this is a lot better. And I still, at the back of my mind, was like, well, I haven't really done the mileage needed to run a marathon in these conditions to actually have a good race. But I was like I think I'll be able to finish, so that's even more positive than not finishing. But yeah, 100%, I did not expect to come second and I think I watched back all three years of coming second in Kona and it's still that first year where I get the most goosebumps and just watching it back and see how much emotion I had because it was just so unexpected. So that really is, if I want to go and motivate myself to get on the bike or whatever, that's the one finish. I would go and watch because it's just, it really was magical. I just didn't expect it.
Louise Minchin: 25:06
Can I ask you a question? I know you've got others, but this is from people sent them in and go and try and get through as many as I can. Jane says what's your event strategy and how do you focus and stay resilient when times get tough? Because they do get tough, don't they?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 25:18
Yeah, 100%. It gets tough in any triathlon, but particularly over a race that long, there's no doubt you're going to have dark patches in your mind and you're going to have physical struggles. But in terms of kind of my race tactics, I only really have one tactic because my strength is definitely in the swim. So unless I decided to just hold back in the swim and swim with everyone else which doesn't really make much sense to me I just I go pretty hard from the gun and get as much of a lead as I can and then, whilst it probably isn't smart to try and ride 180 kilometers on your own again, it's really the only tactic that I have is to just try and stay out front for as long as I can on that bike and try to not let anyone catch me. We're quite lucky. Normally in like the major races, like the world champs, we can get some time split. So I'm normally fed some information of what the gap is to the girls behind me and I think there's a real like pro and con to knowing this sometimes, because if the gap is opening out and I'm making time, then obviously my mind goes into this real positive headspace where I almost find it then easier to push on more because I'm making time, I'm gaining time. But then when you're fed information that the gap is going down and you're losing time, it's then mentally how you handle that information, like, okay, do I now decide what? I need to push on even harder, but I'm already suffering, how do I do that? So sometimes you don't even want to know that information, but obviously it's good to know tactically where you are and then, off the back of riding like that, then obviously I just need to try and hang on and have as much of a strong run as I can, and sometimes that means holding everyone off and getting the win, and sometimes it means being caught. And actually, again, when you're getting caught on that run, mentally how you handle that, particularly in Kona in the last race in 2019, I'd led for about seven and a half hours before I got caught on that run and it was so tough because I knew the gap was coming down and I knew it was probably going to happen, but at that point it's like I've definitely lost the win. I mean, I knew Annie Howe. If anyone knows her, she's just a phenomenal runner. So when she's chasing you down, she's the one girl you don't want to be chasing you down, and when she caught me it wasn't like mental defeat that well I can't go with her. It's actually well being real with myself. I know I can't go with her yet I haven't got that run speed. So then it's a case of right. I need to hang on for a second now then, because mentally you could just go, oh, that's it, it's over, and let everyone else catch you up, but you've just got to hang on and stay strong. So I definitely think, particularly on that run, it actually comes way more down to your mental strength than physical. Obviously it's tough physically, but mentally is where it all happens.
Louise Minchin: 28:07
Oh gosh, I mean you're really showing real with resilience. But just before we go on, one of my favorite things of the year is watching you in the Kona swim, because you're just like you're in a class of your own and you have to watch this. Everybody who's listening when it happens this year, because you not only do you like, you know, you're so far ahead of everybody else, you start catching up all the men in front of you, which is just, oh, it's just wonderful to watch, brilliant. You must see them in your sights and go. I'm going to get them.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 28:33
It's definitely an added motivation having them in front, because you're like, how many of them can I catch? And yeah, it definitely helps.
Annie Emmerson: 28:41
Oh, my goodness, there is so much that we want and need to ask you. I guess the next question for me is you've obviously won other eye and distance races. You've raised brilliantly at challenge. You've won three of the championship races there. But what do you do to win in Kona? I mean, you've had three seconds. Is that frustrating? Or is it something you thrive off and just think you know my time is going to come? Or is it frustrating? Is it deeply frustrating?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 29:11
It's definitely a combination of both. I think had I have come into the world champs one every year, I'd probably be like, what do I do now? I've kind of done everything that I need to do in the sport, whereas now, because I've had second three times, whilst, yes, it's frustrating, it's also the best motivation I could have, like it's that burning desire to win that race that I still haven't managed. And I think also from the outside it kind of maybe looks like I've just done the same thing each year and come second. But actually every year I've improved and changed my tactics slightly and always had the same outcome. But I always feel like I've progressed in my performance. So I feel like there's still tons of progression to be made. I feel like my swim and bike is pretty much where it needs to be. It's just building up that running resilience and, at the same time, building up that bike in strength so I can bike how I bike but just use less energy so I have more for that run at the end. But I feel like I say this all the time in all interviews that I do but my run, what we see in training has not happened in a race yet. So I'm excited for the day that that actually comes together and happens. And also, I've had like off topic slightly, but I've tried to do the London marathon about three times. I've had one year where I had the stress fracture so I couldn't compete. The second year I didn't make the start line because I was ill and then the third time I actually had to pull out the half marathon because I'd had a stomach bug. So that is also like. Another target of mine is to go and run a fast marathon to kind of stamp down where my run is. But I still haven't managed to do that either. So I feel like eventually it's going to happen and we'll be able to show you where my run really is.
Louise Minchin: 31:03
But let's give everybody a sense. So, given that you're doing your run off the back of a swim and a really grueling 180K bike ride, what are you doing the run in?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 31:12
So my fastest run off the bike is a 259 marathon, which was a, so this is a two. I mean it's.
Louise Minchin: 31:18
You know this is so fast for any of us normal mortals. Yeah.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 31:23
And to put it into perspective as well so Annie Hough, who caught me in Kona in 2019, she ran a 251 marathon off that bike. So it's just absolutely incredible. So that's the kind of standard that the women are doing on this stage. So it is absolutely crazy.
Annie Emmerson: 31:40
Oh my goodness, it is mad. I feel like we have to ask some questions from some of our men listeners. Go for it, we really do, because we don't want to lead them out. A lovely question, interesting question here from Clive Buckingham. It's about your Olympic aspirations, triathlon or swimming. You've already mentioned there that you know as a small child, the Olympics were something you really wanted to reach. I mean, at the age of 27, you most definitely still have options, and what are your thoughts on that and how important is that for you?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 32:13
Yeah, I think the Olympic dream has definitely not died. It's still there, burning inside me and as that kind of eight, nine year old, that was really the dream. So it definitely hasn't gone. And I think, realistically, it's actually probably more likely for me to achieve that in triathlon than it is in swimming. And obviously I went and did the Olympic swimming trials a few weeks ago and I knew that realistically, the time I needed to swim to get to the Olympics was going to be a big ask. It was faster than I've ever swam as a swimmer, so that wasn't really why I was doing that. But it was just a nice goal to have and something to work towards. But I think that the triathlon Olympic dream is definitely still there. I think that for Parish 2024, it is actually a realistic goal. Before then I would definitely have liked to have won Kona, so for a while I could put the long-course stuff to bed, go and do some short-course stuff, hopefully making Olympics, and then kind of make a decision after 2024, whether I want to carry on doing short-course or whether I want to go back to long-course. So it's definitely there. It's definitely being thought about. I've been having some really good conversations with British triathlon about this as well. So I would never say never, and I think you will see me on some short-course start lines at some stage. I was hoping to do some more short-course racing this year, but it's just proven super difficult with lack of racing and so many athletes needing to race with the Olympics happening this year, so I kind of decided it won't happen this year. But you probably, at some stage in the future, will see me doing some short-course racing, which is obviously pretty exciting.
Annie Emmerson: 33:53
So for people listening out there to put things into perspective here. So normally you would race eight hours plus in your Ironman races, but you did take part in the Super League Arena games earlier on this season, one in London and one in Amsterdam, which I was fortunate enough to cover. You came second. Actually, you didn't compete in Rotterdam, you did in London in a race where each stage takes around about 15 minutes, and you very much held your own against the short-course athletes. We know that Beth Potter, who's doing amazingly well at the moment, won, but your overall time was, whilst it was slower, you lost time in transition. You were as quick as she was in the swim-bite run. Overall, so I think you absolutely proved your potential as a short-course athlete.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 34:44
Yeah, I think for sure, if I seriously think about doing the short-course stuff, obviously I definitely need to spend time working on transitions, which in an Ironman, really, I don't ever train my transition. I kind of just take my time, make sure I get my nutrition, make sure my helmet's on properly, because I've got such a long time to do everything else. Obviously, for going to some short course racing, that almost becomes like a session in itself is just working on the transition stuff. So, yeah, my transitions were I mean, those girls hats off. They know how to do transitions, so mine looked a bit more compared to those, but that was quick for me. So yeah, it's something that I definitely would work on if I go into the short course racing.
Annie Emmerson: 35:27
How much did you enjoy the Super League racing? Did you enjoy? I mean, it's so different to anything you've done before.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 35:32
Yeah, I loved it. You know what? It's such a great format. I think it has such a great potential of where it could go as well and like, obviously because of the pandemic situation, we couldn't have crowds watching it, but I think having crowds in there it's so exciting. There's so much happening. It could be such a great event for mass crowds to come and watch. But I mean, for me personally, we didn't have crowds, but it felt like we had an amazing atmosphere. It's completely different, like you said, to anything I've done before. Just having that head-to-head racing, being able to see everyone, we're all racing side by side. It was just so much fun and obviously so much more intense than anything I've done before. Like I remember after doing round one and we were all like, oh my God, my lungs are completely burning and I never feel like that on an Ironman. So yeah, it was a real, real fun experience.
Louise Minchin: 36:22
I want to get some questions in. You pretty much asked Gem's question, who I'm just going to tell you this. She says you're a real inspiration. I love your YouTube channel, which is both entertaining and gives an insight into your life as a professional athlete. There's so much good stuff on there If you want to go and look at it everybody. And then she was asking you about Super League, which I think you've answered. What about this question about from Jessie how do you fuel yourself? She says what recommendations do you have for women getting into the sport? And obviously there is a massive difference between fueling yourself for a short, very short race and a very long race.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 36:51
Yeah, I mean so in general with my diet. I do just have quite a healthy, balanced diet. I don't restrict myself from having treats either. So the other day a picture went up with me with a huge pizza and someone was like there's no way she's eating that, that's someone else's pizza. And I was like that was a hundred percent my pizza. I've eaten it, like I've burnt enough calories I can eat that. So I never restrict calories or anything like that, because when you're training for a triathlon you are burning so many calories. So as long as you're having on general, a healthy, balanced diet, then you can have those treats because you've earned them, you deserve them. So that's kind of like on a general diet. But in a race, pretty much most of my fuel now for a race has gone to more gel or liquid base. But actually I used to use Snickers bars on the bike, which people thought was hilarious, my favorite. So they work really well because you've got you've got carbs, you've got protein, you've got some salt in them and they taste good, which is exactly what you need when you're doing that bike leg. You don't want something that you're like I don't really want that. You want something that you actually want to eat, because the longer you get into that ride you're actually like, oh, I don't really want anything now, so it needs to be something that you want to eat. So I did used to have them and I think there's no reason why I wouldn't go back to that. It's just I feel like I've got quite a good method with just using electrolytes and gels, and I actually have like a timer on my bike computer, so every 15 minutes it makes an alert to remind me to eat and drink, because when you're riding that long your mind can kind of just wander off and so you do need that kind of thing to remind you to eat and drink along the way.
Louise Minchin: 38:38
Oh, I'm so glad you said Snickers, because how many times have I mentioned, I mean I'm surprised I'm not sponsored by the man? Need to be honest with you. I'm always talking about Snickers.
Annie Emmerson: 38:47
I'm going to ask another question. Actually, Alan Swain tweeted me and said what do they do for fun, Do you? I know you have fun, you can tell just looking at your face you have fun. But it's a tough, tough life as a you know, physically for an Ironman athlete. But what do you guys do, what do you and me do when you want to go and have a bit of fun and chill out and forget about the world of triathlon?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 39:09
I think the best thing we ever did for switching off from triathlon is get our dog, lola, which everyone will know that we are. Lola is our baby. She really is Like. I absolutely love her and obviously I'm on a training camp at the moment and she's with my sister and I miss her so much so she's just throughout the whole year of 2020 when we didn't really have a lot going on. We were just like this was the best thing we ever could have done was get our dog because she's just great, she's entertaining, we can go and take her for walks, so she's definitely the best thing, kind of for a distraction, but obviously we do love to have fun as well. So we're very fortunate that we made some great friends when we were personal training, so we like to just go out for dinner with them. We live on the edge of London so we have so many amazing places to just go and visit and we do love going into the city when we get the opportunity, which isn't often because our training schedule is pretty hectic, but when we can, we just like to go and do different things in the city.
Louise Minchin: 40:06
Oh, I love Lola. She's a little. She's Jack Russell, isn't she? Yeah, and she's a superstar in all your Instagrams and everything.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 40:12
She's so, so cute. She is kind of insta famous. She actually got 5,000 followers in 24 hours when we set up her account, so I think that might be a record for a dog, but yeah she is.
Louise Minchin: 40:27
I've got lots of things to ask you as well, because so many people who are on the HerSpirit app are going to leads and for a lot of them it will be their first triathlon, so it'll be really exciting, really scary for them. Lucy, our HerSpirit tri-coach, says we've got so many women going to leads in a few weeks to do their first triathlon. What advice and tips would you give them?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 40:48
I think, with any event that you're going to go and do is just do not put too much pressure on yourself. Go there and enjoy every bit of it. I think it's really nice if you're going as a group of athletes as well. It's just to go there, have fun, enjoy each part of the race. This is obviously a really, really great race in the UK. I know it gets a lot of coverage, so I think I actually would have loved to have been on the start line, but I couldn't get on the start line unfortunately, so I'll definitely be watching from home. But yeah, with any event I do, even at my level, it is about having fun. Even in the training that I'm doing for it or going to the event, I try and have as much fun as I can, which is not always easy when you're suffering at the end, but it's always worth it when you cross the finish line and you get the medal at the end.
Louise Minchin: 41:35
I think that's a really important lesson. That actually is, or a message, isn't it, Annie? At the end of the day, it's about fun.
Annie Emmerson: 41:41
It really is. I really think like that. I think when you're well and you're fit and you have the opportunity, it doesn't matter what pace you're racing at. That's what I always say to everyone. Listen, it really doesn't, because, let's not forget, you're professional, this is what you do, it's your job and for so many people it is a hobby out there. It's part of being a community and I just think it is really important to go out there and enjoy it. And it is such a wonderful world. Triathlon. People do. Actually, that's another question I've got for you. I think people do tend to be incredibly friendly, but I was wondering earlier what it was like for you in the early days at Kona this new kid on the block. People must have thought who the hell is this? Lucy Charles, as you were at the time. Who is she? Who does she think she is? You've come along in your early 20s and pretty much smashed everyone. How were you accepted well, into that world? How was it for you? What was the experience like?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 42:38
It was a mixed bag, to be honest. So I remember being like 19, 20 years old and trying to get sponsors at the time and telling them what I was about. Even in Kona, I remember going up to one of the bike brands and being like will you sponsor me? I can guarantee you I'll be first on the bike and I'll be out leading on the bike for some point of the day. Are you going to have some coverage of your bike out front? Hell, no, they didn't want to know. I had this that again and again and again, and I would email brands saying this is what I've done, but these are my aspirations, would rarely get a reply or it would just be no, we're inundated with requests, we're not sponsoring you. So that was kind of that journey on the sponsorship side. But I also had a really funny conversation with a lady called Belinda Granger a couple of years ago when she was out watching the race. She's obviously multiple Ironman champion, she's won Kona before and she was watching the race when I was an age group and she was like this girl has to have cut the course. How is she out with the men already? And I just remember she was telling me the story. She was like she can't have done this. And then people were Googling her. She might have done it she was a swimmer before, maybe she did do it and it was just so funny that they were like, what is she doing? She can't be out with the men, she must have cheated, she must have cut the course or something. So yeah, it was a real, real kind of whirlwind journey, I think, and obviously it wasn't really that long ago. So there are times when we've obviously worked so hard to earn the sponsors and work with the brands that we work with, but it wasn't that long ago before. No one wanted to know and no one would sponsor us. So it is one of those things. It takes time and even when you win races, you don't have sponsors calling you up saying we want to sponsor you. It's still really difficult to get those sponsors to support you and work with you.
Louise Minchin: 44:26
And you've got some really good sponsors. Now, if anybody can see you wearing a cap from a well-known drinks brand, if anybody knows you, they'll know you're a Red Bull sponsor, for example. I want to ask you as well, because you've really caught the imagination, I think, of so many people who are not necessarily into triathlons because of what you do on Instagram and all the rest of it. A Lucy P says I'm a huge fan of Lucy. I love her attitudes and inspiration. Never gives up, always pushes new challenges. And then also this question from Sharon. Sharon Leeming says you seem to have captured the social media expectations really well. However, how does it feel living in the spotlight all the time?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 45:07
I think it's really hard and it's made me realise that I would never want to be a super famous celebrity, because it's not a fun world to be in when you're just being criticised all the time for anything you're doing. And obviously I only really experienced that on a very, very small scale and I would say 99% of the comments or messages I receive are all positive and I try and only really listen to those positive messages that I get of people saying that I've inspired them or whatever they're what I try and focus on. But it's very difficult because it's always the negative ones that you remember and I think that's just human nature to remember the negative comments that you receive. So again, I do just try and ignore them and I'm actually really fortunate that I have my sister who works for me. She does a lot of my videos and photos and a lot of my social media stuff, so she kind of can take that responsibility away a little bit. But I know, because she's my sister, it also annoys her as well because it's still that personal connection. So I think anyone who does receive negative messages, I think you just need to realise that anyone sending a negative message online obviously has a sad life if they feel that they need to do that, and you just need to focus on the positives, because there's so much more positive than there is negative.
Louise Minchin: 46:29
Yeah, your sister does lots of the photographs as well, doesn't she? She does, so that's nice, isn't it, to have somebody kind of close, personal working in that sort of environment as well.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 46:40
Yeah, it's really really nice. She does all of our YouTube videos as well. So because she knows me so well, it's like I don't mind having the camera in my face videoing me, and obviously, if I don't want the camera there, it's very easy for me to say no, I'm too tired today, let's leave that. But she just knows me so well so she can often post on my behalf because she knows exactly what I'm like and what I would say. So, yeah, it's just a really nice partnership that we've got.
Louise Minchin: 47:08
Well, one question with regard to that as well. Lisa A says you always seem really positive and frank about all your learnings, and even a sense of humour when it doesn't go quite right, and she talks about toppling over the handlebars in Florida. Tell us about that.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 47:22
Yeah, I think I've been very fortunate that even from a young age I was able to kind of laugh at myself, not take things too seriously. I think it's definitely the best way to live your life is just brush anything off that goes wrong and kind of learn from it. And obviously, yeah, I hadn't raced for about 15 months when I went and raced in Miami and I was on a completely new bike and coming into T2 with a really strong tailwind, so I just completely underestimated how quickly I needed to stop. Before the dismount line I'd already got a penalty in this race so I was like if I go over that dismount line, I'm going to be completely out of the race because I'm going to get another penalty. So I was like I'm just getting off of this bike. So basically, straight over the handlebars I was off before the dismount line. So that's fine. But yeah, it wasn't my finest moment. Definitely will break a bit earlier. Next time I want to dismount my bike. Luckily in the arena games we didn't need to do any of that, it was stuck on the ground, so that was quite good. But yeah, I think I might practice a little bit more before my next race.
Louise Minchin: 48:29
That is a good point actually that we're all sort of so undercustomed I've done so much cycling inside, for example. You don't race actually. You sort of lose things which you would completely take for granted otherwise.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 48:40
Yeah, I think when you get racing back to back to back, these things just become second nature. But when I'd had over a year away from racing, obviously I hadn't even really thought about the fact that that would be a skill that I would need to remember. So, yeah, breaking, stopping, stopping.
Annie Emmerson: 48:58
Brilliant. Oh my god, I love the fact that you are so. You're sense of humour. I'm kind of with you on that one. You know I'm always saying to my kids who are 10 and 12 like you know, whatever you do, don't lose your sense of humour, you know. But on that note, when I look at your results, you know they are so amazing. You very rarely get it wrong. But if you had to say you had one race, it was really tough when you just didn't want to be there. Do you have one or not? It looks to me like you don't, but maybe you're going to tell us something different.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 49:31
I think there's always a point in a busy season where you do get to that point where you're like I feel pretty tired in the year now, and it's normally when we start racing in like April time, you get through to like the end of July and you're feeling pretty tired. So there's been a couple of times where even on the start line challenge rough I've been like I feel like I'm quite tired. Now this is a full distance and then after this race I know I'm going to go away and I need to do my build to Kona. So it is always hard sometimes when you do feel like that. But it's just remembering you've done all the hard work in training for this point, so you've got to kind of do justice to the training. So I think when I raced in rough in 2018. I definitely kind of felt a little bit like that on the start line and then had a race where Things did go wrong. I definitely had some stomach issues on the run in that race and ended up coming second by nine seconds on a full-distance race and I had had a couple of poor to lose stops. So I was like, oh if, maybe, if I didn't do that, could I have one. So that was a really, really tough race but at the same time I kind of took the positives from it. It was such an amazing race. If anyone wants to go and do a full distance, I would a hundred percent recommend challenge Roth, because the whole community just get behind the race and it is something else in terms of the Atmosphere. So I was so motivated to go back in 2019 and win the race, which I did manage to do, but I think it almost motivated me for a whole year that's nine seconds because I was like I need to go and win this race now. So it kind of went from being a slightly negative experience to actually a real positive, because it gave me motivation For a whole year to go back and win the race.
Louise Minchin: 51:18
Well, I mean, if you've got to go, lucy, you've got to go. Maybe there are, but I don't want to bet. It doesn't bet, think about, I'm somebody else, another Lucy, sorry, lou, and I can just quickly do this. One another. Another Lucy asks what are your favorite and least favorite training sessions?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 51:36
Oh, and my favorite are normally like the more shorter intense sessions. So I really do love like a track workout or some harder intervals on the bike or doing like a swift race or something like that. They're definitely my favorite sessions because I feel like I get a bit of a buzz from them, so that's why I really enjoy them. In terms of least favorite session, I Don't mind doing like long riding outside, but having to do like five or six hours on the indoor trainer can really start to grind you down. So I have done a few of those before. But yeah, like I said, I definitely feel Fortunate when the weather is good enough to go and do that outside, because it goes a lot quicker. But yeah, probably least favorite is gonna be like a five-hour indoor ride.
Annie Emmerson: 52:24
Not fun at all. Can we just go back to like a little bit of Lou chat? Because you know how you like to keep thing. We like to keep things light-hearted on this podcast, don't me? I can see Louise looking me good. Oh my god. What's she gonna say now? Chances of this happening. Okay, I've got this run room. What if this says this ever happened to you, lucy? I've got this run route. I don't know how many times I've run down this road. It's a country road, bit busy, but it's sort of quiet. You don't see people. There's a bus stop. I have never, ever seen a bus stop at this bus stop when I've been running ever in the 10 years I've been running down that road. The other day I was on a long run. I thought I really need a wee. I can't start this run because I'm right at the beginning of my way. I'm just gonna have a quick wee behind the bus stop and this is in woody area and everything. So I'm just going for a wee. And what happens? A bus stop, a bus pulls up and two people get out of the bus and then proceed to stand there and chat and I've got to walk from behind the bus stop and go. Chances of that happening. Really, you know that thing like Sons Law. I don't know your bus routes.
Louise Minchin: 53:22
I don't know your bus routes any brilliant but I've done it.
Annie Emmerson: 53:25
I've run that road ten times. That's how? Ten years, ten years, and I have never seen a bus stop there. What are the chances at the first time I have a wee behind the bus stop? What are the chances, lucy? Honestly.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 53:37
Just sounds like such Lord, doesn't it? She's always gonna be exactly.
Louise Minchin: 53:42
Should we give a way for Reese, reese, hi, right.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 53:45
You can't hear.
Louise Minchin: 53:47
He looks a bit shy. Finally, before you go, I want to ask you as well, because you know you, there's so many of us who you know, do, do, try them on a completely different level to you. And I sometimes look at my training week and go. You know, you know, I know how much I train a week, how many hours. Just give us a sense. How many hours do you train a week?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 54:08
So it does vary quite a lot depending on what training phase I'm in, but it's definitely like a minimum of Around 20 hours a week. At the moment, on a right on a training camp, I'm doing about 30 hours a week and then leading into a big block into Kona. That could go up to 35 hours, maybe even 40. If you include all the small little stretching sessions, flexibility work, strength training. Once you throw that all in, it is getting up near 40 hours. So it is a lot of work.
Louise Minchin: 54:41
Yeah, I was gonna ask you whether you include those bits as well. So 40 hours a week, I mean it's you know you can see why you can eat. You can probably double pizzas, Lucy.
Annie Emmerson: 54:49
Lucy, it's so lovely to have you on on the podcast it with us. If you have one last word for our listeners out there, because this podcast will be going out to all sorts of people, people that Extremely experienced and people that maybe are just thinking about Taking up triathlon what would you advise to be to be to someone of any age that wants to take triathlon up any ability?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 55:12
I Definitely say give it a go. I mean, triathlon has a hundred percent changed my life. I went from thinking my sporting career was over to having an even better career in triathlon than I've had in swimming. So Always just give it a go. If you've got an opportunity to enter a triathlon, sign up for a new challenge, just go and do it, even if it scares you, like that. First I'm man a hundred percent scared me. I was like am I gonna be able to do this? Even my family thought I was crazy, but it's just set me up so well to have a lifestyle that I absolutely love. So definitely give it a go, even if it scares you. Get your friends involved, do it together and you won't regret it and I love this.
Louise Minchin: 55:54
Well, you got a sort of team as well, haven't you? You know, if people go and look at your Insta, on all rest of it, there is so much enthusiasm. You're it getting more people involved in the sport, training out, helping train other people as well, Aren't you?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 56:05
Yeah, so I actually have a team of athletes that I'm working with that have also been on a bit of a roller coaster journey Because we were all gonna be racing at challenge Roth this year, which has been postponed so, and we're actually all gonna do the race hopefully next year. But yeah, I'm, I am coaching some athletes towards some big goals as well, so, yeah, I was so tempted to apply for that, lucy. You do again, maybe, maybe. I think it's definitely been a lot of work, but I am really fortunate to have a great team around me that are making it possible, and also some of the stories of these athletes are just so inspiring, and the work that they put in around their busy work Lives is definitely inspiring me as well, so it may be something that we do again later down the line.
Louise Minchin: 56:52
Brilliant. Well, good luck to you. I'm good luck to all of them. And when is Kona? When's Kona meant to be?
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 56:56
It's meant to be. I want to say the 12th of October, somewhere around that. It's normally the second weekend of October, so I think we said it's like 22 weeks away this week if it happens. So we keep having us cross that it's happening. I'm obviously training as if it is, but everything's still a bit of an unknown at the moment, so hopefully it will happen.
Louise Minchin: 57:18
And it definitely rules you out the London marathon, because I think that's a second or something, isn't it? So not this year again.
Lucy Charles-Barclay: 57:23
Yep, not this year, definitely one year. I will be on that start line and I will have a good run.
Louise Minchin: 57:31
Lucy, thank you so much. It's been such a pleasure talking to you and you're so inspiring for so many people. Thank you. Thank you, lucy, thank you. Oh, thanks so much for having me have a good day, training or not training. I mean, you know I'd sound like a full day to me Bike and a run. You take care. Well, listening to that podcast was our wonderful. I say she's my only claim her as mine. Annie, I know she's your friend, but she's my friend.
Annie Emmerson: 57:58
She's my friend. She lives across the road from me. She's my friend.
Louise Minchin: 58:01
I said I know she's your friend, but she's my cycling coach, Michelle Charlotte, you can do the introduction, Annie, because you've known her many years and she's just. You know. When did I meet you, michelle? About a year ago.
I haven't even met you in fact.
Louise Minchin: 58:15
I feel like we know each other, but we because we spent so much time talking to each other on zoom and everything else. Anyway, go Annie.
Annie Emmerson: 58:21
Oh no, michelle is is is one of life's really wonderful, bright, lovely, gorgeous people, and I'm very fortunate that she's one of my neighbors. She lives just across the road and actually when we started chatting with her spirit and things started coming together, I chatted with Mel and I just said, listen, I have a friend who is just the most amazing cyclist herself. Technically she's absolutely brilliant, but she's also phenomenal coach, both technically on the ground and in terms of putting programs together for people. And that's when Michelle sort of started chatting with with Melanie, who's obviously our amazing founder of her spirit and, and well, the rest is history. Now she is, like you know, fully fledged member of the her spirit team coaching squad. Yeah, and I'll leave you guys to chat because Louise, you and Michelle, obviously you know your friendship is much more and bigger and important than mine is now. But you have been doing all her cycling sessions and those sessions. I've been threatening and I haven't got around to it yet, but you've been doing the sessions, the regular sessions that are online.
Louise Minchin: 59:21
Everybody was joining. They need to go to her spirit, her spirit, dot, co, dot UK and then join our community. And then what you, what you're doing for us, michelle, as you do two live sessions a week, I can only make the Thursday night session. Oh, three, oh, my gosh which. Oh, I'm missing the newbies one on time. Yeah, go tell us what you do doing for people right.
So, um, yes, I'm very, I love my three sessions a week. I really even look forward to them, even the seven o'clock in the morning, tuesday morning. So Tuesday and Thursday. I do so usually. Endurance on a Tuesday and those short, sharp intervals that Lucy likes, I Bring those in on the Thursday. We do some climbing. So every week is different and we have we have so much fun. I mean sometimes I get off the bike and I've actually just laughed so much. But it's not really a but. I mean that's the community side of it, but actually there's the training side of it and we've recently started a Session for people who have never done anything like this before. So get them in, get them on their bikes and just talk through. So I explain a lot more about what's what I'm doing, but the sessions stay intense, they stay sharp, so that you feel like you've actually done a work out. It hasn't been a beginner session, it's been an introduction session, essentially and for anybody who's not done them.
Louise Minchin: 1:00:37
So you do them on zoom so we can see you and we can see, kind of, how you're cycling, and you also, and lots of us are on Zwift as well. So we have these and we all have a little matching outfits, annie. It's absolutely honestly and there's lots of different chat that goes on both on the zoom and on and on Zwift as well, and it does feel. I mean, what I have found incredibly useful is, you know, I got on my bike. I'd never not like you, annie, I'd never had a road bike until sort of four, five, well, maybe six years ago now. And there are so many little tips, michelle, that you give us that I go out on the road and Suddenly things, just little things, that I didn't know you know, like how to get into the big gear or whatever. Just it's absolutely Brilliant, thank you.
Oh well, you know, I think that's actually one thing that I've that I actually really value as my input, so anyone can do a training session, you know, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, whatever. You can structure it like that. But what I've really really enjoyed doing is Bearing in mind that so many people don't understand the technical side of riding a bike. You know and I've, and so I try and bring as much of that as to life as I possibly can. I mean, we've spoken about going up hills, we've spoken about descending, we've spoken about, you know, getting out of your saddle, to things We've done, peddling, and I think, louise, you've come. You've often commented saying, oh, I never knew that.
Louise Minchin: 1:01:53
And I'm thinking oh, my goodness, so many things. But you're saying that, no, but nobody, because I don't, because I've. No, you never taught, are you? It's a bit like Annie you never taught how to run, are you? You're just, most of us are just a go run. But actually there are things you can learn, annie, both with running and cycling.
Annie Emmerson: 1:02:09
They're absolutely are. You know some people will come into a sport and you know just, you know from nature, by nature, be, be amazing at it. But you know, most people do need some sort of technical help and I think that's where Michelle is Absolutely fantastic. You know she's she's a born instructor, a born teacher, and you know you have so much patience. And I think the great thing is is like where we live, locally as well. Michelle takes out groups of cycling cyclists, but particularly women. You've always focused on your groups and you, you never care. In fact, the probably the bigger the challenge, the more excited you are about seeing someone conquer something that they thought they couldn't do, and that's what's so lovely. And the time that you've given up to people you know so passionately is, I guess, what makes you a great instructor.
Oh, I do just, yeah, I do just love it and and I think for me, because I'm, I am slightly dyspraxic, which nobody believes me, but as an OT I can tell you I am. And when I started learning to ride a bike, you know, then certain people would give me sort of certain tips, and then, and then eventually I had to Discover it all for myself. I thought, why didn't no one tell me these things? And so, because I've been through that journey myself, I'm totally understand where, where a lot of people come from.
Louise Minchin: 1:03:20
Oh, you said OT, that's occupational therapist. That's your, that's your day job, isn't it? That is my profession.
Yes. Well yeah, well, yes, but actually cycling coaching is my passion.
Louise Minchin: 1:03:32
Oh, it's so obvious when we're on there. Um so so, and I yeah, no, I just told you just off the pod but, um, so I've had a total result. So I did a race in 2018 on a particularly difficult pass near here in Wales, and then I went last Friday and I did the same hill and I just thought as a matter of interest. So I did that hill in the race and I did it just with a friend the other day and not really, I mean, I wasn't really even trying. I just thought, oh, I remember, I remember how hard this hill was in the race, so I'm gonna, you know, prepare. And I had a baby. Do you remember? Susie Chan told us to use baby food, so I had a little baby food pouch at the bottom of the hill. Anyway, did the hill and then I just thought, oh, I'll have a little look back and see how I did and, utterly to my amazement, in the race, it took me 30 minutes, and that was three years ago and this time 20 minutes. I cannot literally believe it.
Michelle, it is absolutely phenomenal, louise, I think. Oh, I've been really paying off. Coaching works, you see.
Louise Minchin: 1:04:30
Unless I've done something really weird with my watch, which I don't think I have anyway, but but, but actually, you know, because it's not all about data, is it? But I? But when I did the hill, I was doing it and I was thinking, you know what, it's ain't as bad as it was in my head, and so, yeah, you know those hours do, and those hours of Focus training on, you know, doing hills, etc. They do genuinely pay off myself absolutely.
Yes, and I think some people I mean indoor training is really, really that's a good bang for your back kind of training. You know, and I think at her spread we're really proud of the fact that we can offer these two women, and I have been Blown away by the amount, by the number of women who have gone out and got themselves indoor trainers and I'm certain that they would probably never have even considered it. Yeah, and it's been really fun. So we've had Tour de Hors spirit. So once a month we've been having these little events and 90 minutes long, essentially, so you can come along and just ride for 90 minutes or you can challenge yourself or you can race Louise.
Louise Minchin: 1:05:34
I laugh because.
Louise Minchin: 1:05:37
I'm not at the front.
Let's be clear. Well, I think this next round, louise is up your street. It's on the 27th of May. Stick that in your diary. Yes, is it flat At 6.30. Yes, it's Paris, so we're doing our sprint laps. Oh, yeah, yeah, so we like that one. So, yes, so do join us on. Anyone else who's listening, come along and join us. It's an open event to everybody.
Louise Minchin: 1:05:58
And Michelle, because I don't know, because I've never had a chance to ask you. So, do you come from a bit like a professional cycling background, or what is your background? Because you are seriously good cyclists.
Well, you know, I didn't actually think I was, because I moved to the UK 20 years ago and I brought my rusty old mountain bike with me because I thought I love being outdoors and I'm going to need something to keep me sane in the UK weather. So I got all kitted out and I found a group but it was all men and I was always hanging off the back of these men up the hills and anyway, hanging off the back of them. And then one day I went for a ride with some women and I just was what's the matter with them? Why, like, where are they? And it's not. It was just where I was at because I'd ridden with men so much and I always felt like I was rubbish. But then I started doing some racing and I think in the back of my head I still kind of think I'm not really that good, because I know it's ridiculous and this is one thing. I just don't want people to ever feel like that because it sort of holds you back. But I actually did a triathlon. I've done some triathlons. Because I did so much cycling I thought now I need to do a bit more because my quads are getting bigger and my arms are getting skinnier and this is ridiculous. So I did a triathlon and I did really well in my 70.3 and I messed it up in the transition so I lost. So I came fourth, not third, even though my times were quicker. It was so annoying. So that little transition I must have put too much Lippie on or something, but yeah. So I doubled a bit in triathlon and I loved the transition, you know, using my bike. But then after a couple of triathlons I thought it's always on the bike leg. You know I'm very average on my swim. My bike leg top of the field run on. I just watch everybody overtaking me on the run. It's very depressing. So so yeah, and I can't run anymore now because I'm injured, but my but yeah, but I do love the bike and I have done some racing and it is good fun. So I've overcome that racing fear and yeah, so that's my background. So it's very, very ordinary really.
Louise Minchin: 1:08:02
Well, it doesn't look ordinary to me.
Annie Emmerson: 1:08:06
For anyone, though, who's, you know, not interested in the cycling side, or maybe it's just not possible because of the equipment. You can always have a go at the Give Me Five, which is a 5K running programs developed by the brilliant Olympic athlete Donna Fraser. So there are other options as well, and different things to do on the Her Spirit site, but the cycling is obviously what you two do. Well, actually, I'm going to come and join you one day.
Yes, no, that'll be good, annie, you can come and sit here next to my walk bike. So. But, annie, I have actually developed, we've got a bike with confidence program. So basically they're short little videos that people can upload. So they all little skills things how to go around corners, how to go up hills, how to change your gears, how to get on or off a bike, because actually that sounds simple. But, my goodness me, how many times does do you kind of swing your leg over your saddle and the whole thing sort of falls around. And so right from getting on and off your bike safely, I mean, then there's also the transition triathlon on an off bike, which is another whole ball game. But yep, so if you do feel like you don't want to do the indoor stuff, there's plenty, plenty to build your skills and confidence.
Louise Minchin: 1:09:14
Right? Well, listen, I'm going to let you go because you've got to prepare tonight's session. What is it tonight?
So tonight we're doing threshold, threshold, pyramids.
Louise Minchin: 1:09:23
Do you know what, annie? I never normally find out what it is, because if I do, then I'm less likely to turn up, so I just go in and go, okay? So what is it today? It's going to be hard, but it's going to be fun. Yeah, it'll be lots of fun. So, my lovely Annie, what are your plans? Oh, you've got some work to do. You've got to go and do some actual reporting on real live triathlon.
Annie Emmerson: 1:09:47
I've got an all nighter Friday night. Yep, it's going to be a tough one, I'm feeling an all nighter, but I was thinking about you. I was thinking about you, thinking, oh my gosh, okay, I'm starting at two o'clock in the morning. That's quite tough, isn't it? There won't be any sleep on Friday night. Yeah, I'm actually really excited. What's with a bit of interpretation, because it's a long night and it's tough to be up. You know two to seven in the morning commentating. I'm really excited. It's massive racing well, triathlon series first proper standard or Olympic distance race since 2019. So really excited to be back at work and grateful for it and we'll be able to watch it on the iPlayer, won't we?
Louise Minchin: 1:10:29
Because it'll take place by the time the podcast goes out. But yeah, it will be.
Annie Emmerson: 1:10:32
Yeah, red button on Saturday morning, early as Saturday morning, and then there'll be a highlights program. What about you? You've been busy, have I? Well, you're just non-stop.
Louise Minchin: 1:10:41
Just do it. You know, just getting on with my life, trying to get back to running, and then just kind of looking back and thinking how was I ever able to do all of that? But one day I will be able to do it again, annie, I think. Oh, Anyway, I'm very excited. I'm going to be swimming with the Her Spirit team later on. When is it? In the end of June we're doing the solstice, which could be 21st of June. Excellent, I'm really looking forward to that and I shall see you fingers crossed there and live not before it leads.
Annie Emmerson: 1:11:11
Yes, I can't wait. I can't wait. We've got leads, so we've got quite a few of the Her Spirit community ladies will be racing in leads, and we've also got the swim coming up, which I'm really excited about. We're all going to do that. That's going to be brilliant. Yeah, keep swimming, annie.
Louise Minchin: 1:11:27
Yes you two darling, take care.
Annie Emmerson: 1:11:28
Have a great week. Lots of love. Bye.