Our New Zealand athlete Nicky Samuels will compete in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, this week. The 2013 XTERRA Triathlon World Champion will go into battle with some of the fittest women on the planet in Thursday’s high-profile individual race and, potentially, Saturday’s mixed relay. The 31-year-old answers our questions in this latest blog.
inov-8 is for the committed athlete. Sum up what makes you a committed athlete.
What is in my programme gets done. Rain or shine, it gets done. Tired or busy, it always gets done. I spend 5-6 months a year away from my home in Wanaka, New Zealand. This time is hard as it is away from family and friends but it is essential to get the best out of my body and my sport.
Describe the pain your body goes through during the different phases of a triathlon and how you overcome these, physically and mentally.
The start of the swim is very hard. You are not only pushing yourself physically but also at any stage you can be dragged under, take on water or sometimes feel like you are in a boxing ring. That first swim buoy is the worst part of a triathlon. Once past this, the pace usually settles down a bit and you can get some control (breathing and technique). The bike is usually not so hard, so it is a matter of getting off it as fresh as you can be because the run is going to win you the race. The run is where most pain is felt, you push as hard as your body allows. It is definitely a mental game as well. You have to run your own race but still be aware of what is happening around you. Hanging onto a group of runners may benefit you even if you have a bad spell physically or start questioning how much you can keep pushing in the middle. If you can get through that feeling and out the other side you are likely to have a good day.
Talk us through your season to date and your delight at finally gaining that Commonwealth Games place.
This year has been a bit different. I am under a new coach so we are still learning about each other and what works well and what doesn’t. I don’t think I did enough during my base phase and that began to take its toll, but now, with a bit more training under my belt, things seem to be starting to fall into place. I have been sick a couple of times which affects your training and racing a lot. Finally getting that Games spot took a lot of the pressure off. Now I’m focused on pushing myself to the limit and delivering the best performance I can in Glasgow.
Do you believe you can win the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games?
Yes. It will be a tough course, which will suit an athlete like myself. The reality is anyone in the race can win the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, you never know what can happen on the day. Like the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games is a pinnacle event for athletes and the fight for medals will be fierce.