Ben Bright has raced as Professional Triathlete against the worlds best. He’s been to the world championships and Olympic games and now coaches the Men’s British Triathlon Team. They have arguably the best ITU athletes ever with the super powers of Jonny and Alistair Brownlee. The Olympics fall on their home soil in London adding more drama to an already heavy script of a race. Can the Brownlee’s win on their own turf? Many Olympics have seen the favorites falter. So, with the Olympic games around the corner we took some time to catch up with Ben and find out what its like to coach the worlds best just a few weeks from the biggest day ever.
1. Ben, let’s get to the gist of it. The top Male and Female Professional ITU Triathletes in the world are from the UK and the Olympics are in London. Jonny has won twice this year and Alistair just won the ‘mini’ Olympics in Austria last week. Can they be stopped? What’s the pressure like for you, your staff and the athletes?
Obviously being a Home Games and with our athletes being favored for medals the pressure is there. We are lucky in that we have a very experienced team in key areas. Although we have a young team of athletes they are very used to dealing with the pressure of expectation. Similarly we have coaching and support staff that have been there and done that and I think one of the most important lessons you learn from the Olympic experience is that, win, lose or draw, life goes on. One of the key statistics you can look at from past Olympics is the percentage of athletes who under perform. They don’t under perform because they don’t want to do well or haven’t prepared well, they under perform because they want it too much and try too hard. It’s a fine line that hopefully we can walk well.
2. You are at an altitude training camp in Europe somewhere. What is typical day like for one of the athletes right now?
Pretty standard to what goes on at home. Morning swim between 75-90min, then a bike ride between 2-4hrs flat or hilly and a run in the afternoon for 60-90min. Of course different days have different emphasis, with some days the rides being easier and the runs harder and a couple of gym sessions a week. But the bottom line is that they’re training hard most days and there is not a lot else to do, which is one of the advantages of being at altitude and living in a small village.
3. What other sports are you excited for at the Games?
I enjoy just about all the Olympic sports but particularly the athletics and track cycling. The athletics are just amazing, the speeds they are capable of achieving, the tactics and the technique in all events. I’m really looking forward to the men’s 5000m and 10,000 where Mo Farah will come up against Bekele. The cycling road race will be interesting as well with Cavendish going for the Gold but he will have to deal with quite a tough course to do it.
4. You went to the Olympics yourself in 2000. What are some of the best memories you have of the games?
The race itself was terrible. I got ill the week leading into the race and was just hoping I would be ok but I knew from the first stroke that I would be in trouble. But it was a great experience. There was something like 300,000 people watching on the course that day and I remember looking out on from the race start across the harbor and just seeing a sea of people and realizing how big this race was. It was also just a great Games to be involved in because the whole city of Sydney was just in party mode and really into the spirit of the Games. You could just turn up to someone’s house party and join in and everyone was welcome. Very different to Beijing.
5. What is one KEY component to triathlon success for age groupers?
One of the most difficult things an age group athlete has to deal with is fitting training in with all the other commitments life throws at you. The most successful AG athletes that I coach are incredibly organized and consistent with their training. But they make sure they look after work and family commitments first and training fits around it. That way they can be consistent with their training over a long period of time. But that means keeping some strange hours and being incredibly disciplined. The commitment needed to be a top AG athlete and a top pro is no different and in many ways it is more difficult being an AG athlete, juggling so many things and getting little recovery. But if you want long term success and improvement you have to be consistent with your training over a long period of time. There is no magic formula or short cut.
Ben is also one of the Elite coaches at the 2013 Total Tri Camp in Fuerteventura, Spain. Watch Coach Ben in action here: http://youtu.be/vr4Kz6njZ6w and if you want to train with the best and learn from the best check out www.totaltricamp.com and sign up before it sells out. The 2012 edition sold out so don’t wait.