Last year Annabel Luxford placed second at Ironman 70.3 Geelong, and this year she’s vying for the win. Trizone chatted to Luxford about juggling a corporate career, excellence in sport and a mindset few athletes will ever achieve.
DNF at Kona creates goal for 2017
“Unfortunately I had some bad luck. I got off the bike in a good position then had to stop because of a heart arrhythmia problem,” Annabel told Trizone. “We’ve all heard the stories about endurance athletes that push too hard with heart issues, and I don’t love triathlon enough to die out on the Queen K.” Annabel has had her heart condition investigated and luckily it’s safe for her to continue racing. “I only experience it around three times a year, and I’d never experienced it in a race.”
Thanks to last year’s Kona race, Luxford is now eager to complete what she regards as a successful full IRONMAN race. “Kona was only my fourth IRONMAN. I’m still pretty inexperienced,” Annabel said modestly. “It’s taken me a while to get nutrition and pacing right. I just want to pull together the best swim, bike and run, and I don’t feel like I’ve done that yet.” While Kona is in her sights, and IRONMAN NZ is looming, Annabel has been training, and working, and somehow excelling at both.
Luxford’s training and work balance
Annabel Luxford is the ultimate multi-tasker, and an inspiration to any young athlete thanks to her ability to manage both a corporate role at NAB and pro triathlon training. “I combine work three days a week at NAB (National Australia Bank) with professional IRONMAN. There are no other athletes I race against doing that,” Luxford says nonchalantly, not realising the thought of managing the two is out of the question for most.
“I probably don’t get the chance to recover and hit some sessions as well as I may like,” Luxford told Trizone. “When you’ve got off the bike at 8:30pm and you have to be at work in twelve hours time, plus you’re trying to put in another sessions before that, it can be tricky.”
It’s not the training that Annabel finds tricky, it’s the negligible rest and recovery. “I do enjoy my job, but I definitely grapple with training and recovering the same way my peers do, especially with IRONMAN as the physical demands are so great.”
Seemingly superwoman, it’s refreshing to hear Luxford is still human. “I’m really proud of myself for managing to do it, but I do grapple with wondering whether I’m trying to do too much, and never nailing one.” From the outside, we’d say she’s nailing both, and she adds, “I’ve proven over the last few years if I’m not injured, I’m in the top ten in the world most of the time.”
How Annabel Luxford stays on top of training
For Luxford, performance is about consistency. “When I was young, I used to get caught up in those big sessions. Now, if I can get through the sessions I’ve planned, even if I’m not executing it exactly as planned, I’m out there.” Luxford acknowledges the pro mindset isn’t about perfection. “If you can perform at 70-80%, 100% of the time, that’s what counts.”
While Annabel’s balance between the corporate world and triathlon seems overwhelming from the outside, she breaks it down to stay sane. “I never think I’ve been working every single day, and sleeping only six hours a night, and wonder how I’m going to get through the session. I get my bike out, put my shoes on and get on the road. Most of the time I do come good, and I do get the session to the level I planned.”
This cool mindset is what keeps her going, and keeps Luxford on top. “In the scheme of things, it’s about putting in work day after day, week after week. If I focus on consistency and don’t beat myself up about each individual sessions, I find it a lot more manageable and don’t stress about it.”
Young athletes, listen up! Annabel’s approach to a bad day is the most mature method you’ve ever heard. “If it’s really not coming together, I think today might be a day to hang the bike up and get more rest. That doesn’t come easy though. It’d come to me from years of being in the sport, knowing myself, and trusting my coach.” Impressive and level headed, Annabel adds “there’s a certain level of confidence you need to do that.”
Annabel Luxford’s tips for Geelong IRONMAN 70.3
As last year’s runner up, Luxford knows the Geelong course well. “It can be quite windy in Geelong. It’s exposed on that bike course. I feel like there are plenty of athletes who aren’t experienced with the wind.”
Luxfords top tips for battling the wind are to use it. “I’d encourage athletes to keep using the momentum of the tail wind but don’t rely on it. Don’t think ‘I’ve got a free ride for a while!’”
The wind and weather are factors Luxford remembers. “It can be a hot day. By the run it gets pretty hot, so you can’t get complacent about hydration or nutrition.”
Lastly, Luxford remember the run. “Yeah the run does have a few pinchy hills!”
Annabel Luxford may just be the most composed triathlete on the planet, and its this mindfulness that has contributed to her success. Stay tuned to Trizone this week to check out more tips from the pros for Geelong 70.3.
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