Claudia Beristain maintains team motivation during lockdown with virtual triathlons
Claudia Beristain, a triathlete since 1987, an ITU accredited coach on the ASICS World Triathlon Development Team and renowned age-group coach to her own team based in Mexico City. In addition to her role on the ASICS World Triathlon Development Team and her own coaching business, Claudia continues to establish pathway opportunities for women in triathlon, to progress and build confidence through skill-based initiatives before integrating them into mixed training programs.
“I have been a triathlete since 1987. I was swimming competitively for some years but was actually a pretty good runner. When I switched from swimming to running, I became injured and the doctor spoke to me about triathlon. I fell in love with the sport. Since then I have raced as an elite athlete, I have coached children, youth, juniors, elite and age group and I am now involved with the ITU Coach Education program and with my own federation Coach Education program. It has been so rewarding and so much fun,” Claudia said.
While Mexico City has been in lockdown due to the pandemic, Claudia has maintained the positive team dynamics with regular communication with the athletes by hosting virtual-triathlons, training sessions and coaching advice via Zoom online meet-ups. At the start of each online session Claudia introduces the specific session and race they’re aiming for, the coach then shares her screen with the team and replays a race on-demand from TriathlonLIVE.tv. This sets up the athletes with a warm-up, building block and then doing exercises specifically to replicate the pace of the swim, bike and run in race mode. Technical strategy is also applied depending on the course that is being played out. Claudia calls these sessions “mini-triathlons” and has been hosting three sessions, of this kind, per week during lockdown.
During the session which Claudia invited World Triathlon to join, a Triathlon Mixed Relay race was replayed, while the triathletes followed and adapted each exercise to suit the relevant discipline and course, practicing transition between each mode. Each training activity was easily adapted to suit the skill and fitness level of each within the squad. “In every exercise we have a different intensity. For example the push-ups can be simple push-ups, commando push-ups or push-ups with the keens on the ground. The first set is easy as a warmup. The second set is the intensity of an Olympic distance, long-distance. The third and fourth set is done with the athletes of a mixed relay event so if they attacked in the bike or come out of a turn or go up-hill we need to work harder. I share my screen so they actually see the race and we comment on technique, skills or race strategy,” Coach Claudia said.
“My husband (Jose Rivera) and I, we work together, organises Zwift rides and has different challenges each week. On Saturday we have a pair competition to more or less get everyone on a similar level so even the people on the team who aren’t very strong also get to win,” said Claudia.
Prior to the pandemic the team would normally meet and ride weekly with each other and do individual sessions in their own gym set-up. Despite not being able to train outside, the athletes on Claudia's team have stayed motivated during the lockdown period with the online sessions, support and meet-ups.
“Our team is called mind2motion, we thought of this idea thinking that sports not only work with your body but your mind should be involved too. Our team is made from really excellent people, most of them keep juggling sports, work, family or friends. All the members are very supportive for each other so we have a great team environment. I am very proud of all the people I work with. We have fun, we do sports and enjoy our friends.”