Our 2017 XTERRA M15-19 European Tour Champion Paris Fellmann and his coach Tom Dureux member of the XTERRA Racing Team by Organicoach, gives us the insights and some training tips to be ready and fully prepared for XTERRA Greece on 28-29 April 2018
The 3rd race of the XTERRA Europeean Tour will take place in the magnificent municipality of Vouliagmeni in Athens, just a week after XTERRA Cyprus. Our first 3 races of the season in the Mediterranean, include Malta, Cyprus and Greece and provide a great opportunity to spent some time in the south and enjoy excellent weather conditions, open water swimming in crystal clear waters and amazing food at very low cost.
The race will start with a pleasant 1.5km swim composed by 2 loops of 750m and a small run on the beach, at the exact location where the 2004 Olympic triathlon took place, with a perfect set up for a triathlon as far as swimming, transition and finish area. Next you’ll have the 2 bike loops of 15km each. Starting on a sidewalk, some stairs up and down going thru a tunnel crossing the main road, please be careful as it’s always mandatory to walk this part. After about 1 km you will start climbing until you will reach the famous stairs a part of the race that you will need to work on. At the top of the stairs you will have an amazing view of the gulf of Vouliagmeni and will start the dirt and gravel part of the course. You will have to be careful on your speed in every turn, it’s tricky and very sleeper on this loose gravel.
The rest of the bike course has some climbs, ups and down, few technical descents alternated with some pavement that connect the 2 main hills of the race. In general its not very technical if you go easy, but pushing all out it’s another story! You will finish with a 9.5km run. Same area, dry and rocky with some pavement to start and come back, some flat and fast sessions, but also some very steep walking/running parts with great views of the area. And even it’s end of April, it can be hot, especially if you are coming from cold northern Europe winter.
Lets get ready with some specific training for it!
The swim in Greece is my favourite course. The sea usually is calm and clear offering god visibility of the buoys throughout the race. The sand is soft which is good for your feet and the temperature of the water is usually 18-20 C. So if you feel comfortable swimming with your wetsuit don’t forget to bring it with you.
To train for this race I would suggest 4x (100 crawl race speed (85%) raising your head oriented towards the end of the swimming pool per 25m (so you get used of looking towards the buoy), followed by 12.5m sprint (to simulate a boost after passing through a buoy) and then 12.5m back to race speed. Finish the session with a 75m easy pace. Have a 15 sec break after each session.
During the bike course you will have to carry your bike a couple of times, so you need to train on how to get off your bike quickly, carry it for a short time and then get back on it the fastest way possible.
To be prepared for that add a 30’ training focused on these three exercises 5 times during your ride :
- 3 minutes race speed, then get off the bike and carry it for 45-50 stairs or on a uphill for 20-30 meters, if you can’t have access to stairs. Then get back on it and ride 3 minutes easy.
- Repeat this exercise 5 times.
The trail run
After the swim and the bike part, It’s time to put on your trail shoes and finish the race the best way possible so you can enjoy the greek traditional meat stick “souvlaki” at the recovery area.The run course in Greece is not the easiest of its kind. You have to be prepared to climb two times a steep uphill with some unstable rocks, therefore it’s very technical. Be careful with your steps during those parts.
To work on the stabilisation of your feet, the exercises should focus on toning your calves and anterior tibialis through balance exercises and various jumps.
-During your run session add 10 seconds of bouncing stride, use your arms and try to be explosive ! Then continue with a 30 seconds walk and then back to 2 minutes at your XTERRA race speed on a steep hill or stairs at 90% of your capacity and end the exercise with a soft descent of 2 minutes.
Repeat this exercise 5 times, and you’re ready to rock !
“In terms of what bike to use, I would preferably use a full suspention bike. There are multiple reasons for that. As both wheels are able to travel vertically to absorb bump force, the tire/wheel does not get bounced into the air after every trail irregularity. This means your tires stay more firmly planted on the trail surface where they can give you much greater traction. In fact, when the shock absorbs the force of a bump, it pushes the wheel/tire back into the ground as shock rebounds, again aiding traction on slippery trails. Second reason is as the run is not an easy one, with a fully your legs and body receive less impacts on each bump you go through, therefore your legs will be more fresh for the run. Third and last but not least, the added traction ultimately gives a rider more control over the bike. A full suspension bike will dart left and right between trees, even when the wheels are rolling over exposed roots. It will also slow down or stop quicker, as the tires don’t lose contact with the trail as easily. The control a fully bike has also offers improvements in climbing ability and line selection/options, both of which add up to faster riding” said Dureux.
“As for the runing shoes, I will usualy go towards light shoes as the run is not very slippery and you have some steep climbs. But it always depend what you normally use and how agile you are one rocky session. Looking forward to see you in Greece” said Paris