6-5-1@SPARTA interview with Leanda Cave

Edit ~ Oct 2012: she’s done it again! Leanda is now the 2012 Ironman World Champion after winning at Kona this month, making her a 5 time World Champ. Congrats Leanda x

Edit ~ Sept 2012: since this post was published, Leanda went onto the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas in 2012, making her a 4 time World Champion!

Leanda Cave is a great example of what persistence & determination can achieve.

Having competed as a professional triathlete since 1994, the 2011 season was Leanda’s best with her first Ironman win at Arizona, a 2nd place at the ITU Long Course World Championship & a place on the podium – behind Chrissie Wellington & Mirinda Carfrae no less – at the Hawaii Ironman!

I am delighted to welcome Leanda to SPARTA ~

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

I started racing the Ironman distance in 2007 and I had not had one good Ironman race up until last year.  So I was getting extremely frustrated with myself and my body because I am a high achiever, and my results were not where I wanted them to be. 

But I knew I had to be patient with my body and let it develop the strength and endurance required to race Iroman events at a competitive level.  That patience paid off with my 3rd place in Kona and win at IM Arizona in 2011.

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

I incorporate three strength sessions a week. 

This could be a mix of TRX and/or free weights in the gym, depending on where I am in the world and what I have available.  I also make an effort on a daily basis to do some stretching and/or core work.  I also use stretch cords after most swim workouts to prevent an on-going shoulder injury from returning.

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

My role models growing up were Kieren Perkins who I used to swim with.  Clint Robinson who I did surf lifesaving with.  And Paula Radcliffe, just because she is amazing.  My coaches have all been amazing people and they have all shaped my life and the success I have had.  I could not single just one of them out.

And then of course I can not forget to give my parents (Joyce and Gordon) and siblings (Melissa and Justin) and my Uncle (John) a shout out for being my number one supporters.

4/. What is one pivotal event in your past that has shaped your present?

Making the move from Australia to the UK when I had no money and probably way too much confidence for someone who hadn’t achieved a whole lot in sport at that point.  I just knew I wanted to give being a pro triathlete a shot, and in 2001 I made the move when I went from the junior to an elite level.

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

I’d be a fashion designer.  I actually studied to be a teacher, however after going into a school and doing some prac work, I decided there was no way I could teach kids!  But I always wanted to be a fashion designer since a young age, and I studied it for a few years, but turning pro in triathlon took preference because I can only do the sport while I am young.  Fashion is still on my agenda.

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

Rest.  I never believe or trusted my coaches when they told me I needed to rest to become better.

So instead of tapering into some big races, I’d just train hard all the way up to the big day.  This left me and everyone who know how hard I trained confused as to why I didn’t achieve better results in my early days.  I have changed that approach these days and I take a day off a week and rest ALOT going into big races.

Leanda is currently in the United Arab Emirates to race in the Abu Dhabi Triathlon this weekend & we wish her all the best!

You can find out more about Leanda (and her fabulous sponsors) on her website or follow her on twitter @LeandaCave.