By Erin Greene on 22/01/14 at 10:31 am
An ITU World Champion and Olympic silver medallist, Lisa Norden‘s résumé speaks for itself when it comes to her need for speed. Last season, she continued to impress when she traded a bit of that quick fire speed for distance, resulting in a successful year despite a nagging injury. This year, the famous Swede is back to shorter distances and ready to regain her spot at the top of the ITU rankings.
What led to your decision to go long this year?
I needed a change of scenery and a new challenge. The Olympic year was a tough one with four years coming together into one massive push towards London. It was never easy, but my preparation at all times was interrupted by injuries and it was emotionally quite a roller coaster. I have always enjoyed the longer distances in training and naturally being a good time trainer I was curious to see what I could do over the half Ironman distance. Fresh faces, new courses and a slightly altered training regime. All to bring back my excitement to get out there and do the work.
What did you learn from your longer training & racing that you could bring back to ITU racing?
I learned a lot about myself and how I react under pressure. I also learned a slightly different pain and more attention to pacing and nutrition. Anything that gives you a greater knowledge about yourself will for sure be beneficial no matter the distance.
You took a break from the d-squad this year, but will be part of the group again. What led to that choice?
I have always enjoyed working with Darren and I love his professional set up and way of doing things. I had a great year with Craig Alexander as my coach and mentor. If I had stayed with the half IM distance I would for sure have wanted to stay with him. But since I was wanting to come back into the ITU and the shorter races, I think Darren can give me the best set up to keep developing. Not only does he know the demands of the sport but I will also be able to train with the very best.
The D-squad is full of some of the best ladies on the circuit. What is the dynamic like in the group?
It’s a lovely group with lots of smiles and laughter. But there is also that strong streak of professionalism and no messing about when it comes to doing the work. We all work with each other and I think that adds another level in training.
How is your foot injury going?
My foot injury has been the theme for 2013 unfortunately. It came about early in the season and instead of improving it only got worse throughout the year. The ITU race in Stockholm was when things took a turn for the worse and I ended up with a real rupture in the tendon. Trying to get through the last block of races was one of the most challenging parts of my career so far. The foot is still rehabilitating and slowly being able to take some load again. But I’m still under strict instructions when it comes to loading and ‘less is more’ is still the golden rule.
You train in quite a few different locations. What’s your favorite?
I think that has to be Davos, Switzerland. We have spent five summers up there and it’s almost a home away from home. On a good day, the mountains are unbeatable for training in that it is both hard and breathtakingly beautiful.
What, if anything, changed for you after the Olympics?
My life back home in Sweden. I went from being a fairly unknown athlete to a household name. The demands increased and I found myself struggling to balance training and life. But it’s been a great year and I have a lot of good people around me to help with the new situation. I have also invested time in finding myself a base and have now for the first time in my life a home to come home to. Probably the best thing I have done so far in my life.
What is your favorite triathlon memory?
There have been a lot of good memories for me over the past five years, but I have to say that winning the ITU Stockholm race in 2012 stands out on its own. To come back home after the Olympics with a medal, seeing the crowd that had gathered to watch the race and being able to deliver a win for them and for me. It was the best comeback after the slight ”miss” I had in London.
What is the best ITU race you have ever seen, and one that you have been a part of?
The best race I have watched was the first ever Team World Championships in Des Moines. The best race I have been a part of must have been the London Olympics. Guess that would classify as a true nail biter.
What was your favourite ever ITU race?
Hamburg! Great course - great people - great shopping!