6-5-1@SPARTA: interview with Conrad Stoltz

I am uber-excited about this interview.

They call him “The Caveman”.

He is a 6ft 3′ caveman trapped in the body of a triathlete.

Conrad Stoltz has had – and continues to have – an extraordinary career.

An Olympian, a 4 x time XTERRA World Champion (off-road triathlons) & with in excess of 40 XTERRA race wins, he has been a professional triathlete for more than 20 years.

Born and raised in South Africa, he now spends much of the year racing around the world. Just this past weekend Conrad won XTERRA Japan and, as I write this, he is now in Whistler preparing for another XTERRA race this weekend.

Welcome to SPARTA Conrad!

1/. What is the biggest challenge to your motivation & how do you overcome that?

I have been racing triathlon as a pro for 20 years now, so boredom can be a problem. I have an amazing coach, (Ian Rodger from Cape Town) who really understands power based training. We train as little as possible in order to win, where most of the other athletes see how much they can train and then hope it sticks. If I swim 7km a week, (in 3 session) its a pretty good week. Usually I swim 2.3km twice. Staring at the bottom of the pool is just not fun anymore, so we focus on technique instead of milage. Same with the run (after the surgery to my foot from infection, I’ve been injury prone). We believe the cycling fitness carries over to running and swimming.

2/. Aside from training for the 3 disciplines, what other training do you do (eg, strength, stretching, core etc) and how important is it to your performance?

I would like to do some strength and core training, and I tried to get into it this year, but I was so sore from no weight lunges, I couldn’t do my cycling training properly, so we put it off another year.

3/. You are one of the strongest cyclists & runners in the sport. What do you visualise or think about on the bike & run leg?

Luckily most of the XTERRA courses are fairly technical and that’s what I really enjoy. Obviously the technical aspect makes you concentrate on skill and your lines, but during the times where you just pedal or run, I’ll stay calm and relaxed, not worry about what the others are doing, I’ll think about a great training session or what it felt like to win Worlds by 5min last year, I may visualize about the cool stream on our farm or Stellenbosch and of course I’ll make sure to constantly check form, pacing and nutrition. Thinking about winning helps too!

4/. Who is the person (or people) who have had the most influence on your sporting success?

My parents- the’ve always been supportive (and tolerant those early years), and of course, great genes!

5/. If you weren’t a professional triathlete, what would you do & why?

It’s hard to say, because I’ve never had a normal job. Pro racing made me the person I am today. I considered studying Industrial Design after school, but racing in France sounded much more adventurous. I really enjoy Enduro riding (off road dirt bikes) but I suspect I’m not crazy enough to have ever raced pro at that level.

6/. If you could go back in time & give one piece of advice to yourself when you were 18, what advice would that be? Get a good coach.

I was self “coached” for the 1st 10 years and threw away those early years by trying to race 30+ races, 2 seasons a year and training like a bull in a china shop.

You can follow Conrad’s adventures at his website: www.conradstoltz.com. I highly recommend it; his posts are a great read! Special thanks to Conrad for his time & our best wishes for the rest of the season!