Q&A with Simon Whitfield

by Brian Mahony on 16 May, 2011 06:26 • EspaƱol

We asked you via our Facebook page to submit your questions to Canadian legend Simon Whitfield. He took some time out between training sessions to answer a selection of them. Each week we’ll have another top ITU star ready to answer your questions, so remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be able to submit your questions.

Leslie-Anne McKenzie What inner thought/space did you tap for your medal winning performance in Beijing?
Simon Whitfield: “inner space”.. I quit before the line in Athens, when it was obvious I wasn’t going to win I stopped giving it everything I had. I regretted that afterwards and simply committed that in Beijing I would cross the line knowing I had left everything out on the course.

Piti Gutierrez: When your body and mind tells you to stop or take a break from your training routine. What keeps you motivated to continue??
Simon Whitfield: I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to compete, to “play” triathlon, that sense of “play” and the joy of calling this a “job” motivates me.

Franzi Petermann: This was the best finish ever [Des Moines ITU Elite Cup 2009 - see photo below]. I love the actual photo finish picture ...
Simon Whitfield:Funny man Matt Leito called it the Howard Dean finish line scream. He and I are no longer friends (sic).

Carlos Valladares: After winning almost everything and being the most successful Olympic triathlete. Did you ever consider the long distance?
Simon Whitfield:well thanks. Yes and no. I love going fast, running fast, pushing my swim, being competitive all the time on the bike (as compared to training for LC where you need to be precise and patient). I’ll race an Ironman one day but likely not as a professional.

Travis Lance Sosa: What do you do to prepare mentally?
Simon Whitfield:Play. like a kid. Relax and play.

Philip Hantschk:
Do you sometimes regret the sacrifice that is necessary to be a successful triathlete? e.g. partying, or extreme sports, or travelling. greetings from Austria. big fan.
Simon Whitfield:nope, honestly, never. I didn’t go to University, I moved to France, an education on the road I suppose. The sacrifice I regret now is time away from my kids, I try to limit it but at times it’s 3 weeks away from my two little girls and that’s very tough.

Do you feel sometimes you still have to prove something to others?
Simon Whitfield:yes. Now I’m busy trying to prove I’m not too old. Long ago I was busy trying to prove I could actually do it. Then I was trying to prove I wasn’t a one hit wonder. Then that I could ride, then swim. then still compete…...

Pete Knapp: Sweeter victory: 2000 gold medal or revenge and $200k at Hy-Vee?
Simon Whitfield:Hands down Sydney. take one gold over 1000 other wins. just is what it is (for me).

Kevin Eijansantos: What’s the feeling of being a “Simon Whitfield”?
Simon Whitfield:busy. play. ADHD [Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] :P

Robert Johnson: 1. What sort of things (exercises, recovery, etc..) do you do to avoid injuries? 2. What are your plans for after 2012?
Simon Whitfield:I’m getting old, it’s getting harder to be as consistent as I used to be. I’m doing some mobility work, some posture work (as I slouch into this couch…) and some light core stuff. We shall see.

Shannon Warren: How do you mix Mark’s Daily Apple ideas of eating real food with the demands of being an endurance athlete? For example, do you allow for simple sugars on long bike sessions followed by a run? When you stared the process of eating by Mark’s suggestions, was it hard to adapt to eating minimal carbohydrates while still swim/bike/running a lot?
Simon Whitfield:I follow a pretty predictable diet. same breakfast most mornings (Ruths Hemp/Chia seed cereal) with a piece of toast and Almond butter and coffee. Eggs, bacon and toast after workout (I take Vitargo to the pool and have it immediately after workout). Protein powder, Ascenta Nutrasea oil and yogurt as a snack. dinner is limited carbs, as much veggies as possible, steak/fish/chicken etc. and usually a night time snack. repeat the next day… 

What type of saddle to you use with your bike? A “tri” saddle or a road bike saddle?
Simon Whitfield:road saddle, been using the Roman by Specialized and love it.

2010 Ranking: 22nd
2010 Record:
Sydney 5th
Hamburg: 12th
Seoul: DNF
London : 14th

If you’re in a “slump” either from training or racing, what indicators do you use to know whether it’s A: time to buckle down and keep plugging away/“chop wood, varry water” or B: ease up a bit, maybe take a break to “sharpen the saw”?
Simon Whitfield:if you’re “coaching” yourself then it’s just experience that tells you when to “chop wood, carry water” and when to back off. Athletes are often afraid of training tired but that’s where the gains are made. I think it’s very hard to over do it, to “over train”, but that’s really a coaching issue and/or a planning issue. I basically do as much as I can handle and whatever that comes out to be, # of hrs trained in a week, etc. just “is what it is”.

Roxy Guns: What kind of training do you do in the race’s week and the week after the race?
Simon Whitfield: race week is just a paired down version of my typical schedule. I thrive on routine, routine, routine. it’s tames my ADHD.

Simon Whitfield (CAN)

Date of Birth: 16 May 1975 Height: 5’10” (178 cm)
Place of Birth: Kingston, Ont, Canada Weight: 150 lbs (68 kg)
2nd: 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
1st: 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games
1st: 2000 Sydney Olympic Games
3rd: 1999 Pan American Games
12 ITU Triathlon World Cup wins (tied for 2nd all-time)
8 Canadian National Championships
Notable: Has competed in more than 70 ITU events. Raced in his first triathlon at age 11 and made his ITU debut as a junior in 1995. Lived in Australia as a teenager. Married with two daughters

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