Athlete Q&A Susie Cheetham

Congratulations on another great showing at Kona - a 6th place to match your 6th from 2015 - but over 6 minutes faster!​

Did you change anything in your preparation for the World’s this year compared to 2015, where you were a rookie at the event?

Nothing changed much in terms of my prep and training set up. I am a better athlete than I was two years ago so the training has progressed.  I like training at home when I can. I have an awesome set up here. The training facilities at the University of Bath gave me everything I need and has the added bonus of having the support of family and friends. For me this is the best prep in order to get to the race in the best mental state as well as physical. 

Having said that I have changed my bike set up a fair bit. I’ve been working with Matt Bottrill since the Ironman South American Champs this year which has made a noticeable difference in helping me get into a more aero position, and more importantly, hold it for 180km!

What does a peak training week look like in the build up to an Ironman World Championship?

Lots of training. There’s no escaping it. If you want to be good at Ironman you have to train – a lot! I swim with the Team Bath Triathlon squad five times a week which has been great for pulling my swim along. Most of my run and bike training is on my own which I don’t mind. It means I get to do the sessions that are making the most of my strength and working on my weaknesses and not someone else.

In what ways have you seen women’s racing progressing in your career and what have you had to do differently to keep up with, and better, the competition? 

The women’s field is faster than ever. I’ve been racing since 2012 and in that time I’ve improved every year. As I progress as an athlete it becomes harder to find the small improvements that were so easy to make at the beginning of my career. It’s so important to improve as without that my relative position would have gone backwards! This year I’ve started to look at my performance in more detail, particularly at the areas that may have been overlooked in the past. That’s why I contacted Sarah at Forth Edge. Being able to put a marker down as to what is normal for me and make the amendments in my recovery and nutrition is key to my development as an athlete. 

You are getting close to the very pinnacle of the sport. Are there areas you feel you can still improve? Will you have a key focus this winter?

There’s so much to improve which is exciting. I was really disappointed with my swim in Kona and that’s something I really need to work on if I want to progress.  There is a great squad set up in Bath and I’ll be working hard on trying to minimise that deficit in 2018.

If you had to pick, what would be your single best triathlon moment so far?

Kona 2015. For me it was the first time I felt I had proved myself. I felt like I was capable of performing at that level but hadn’t had the opportunity to show it. Crossing that finish line I was so content and so relieved that I’d done everything I could.

Triathlon can be extremely time-consuming, but what do you enjoy doing outside of the sport?

Spending time with family and friends (and Jasper the dog). For me at the moment it’s all about coastal walks. It’s so good to catch up after Kona. You appreciate it so much more as the past few months have been consumed with training, testing and trying not to get sick.  It’s not the most sociable sport and takes a fair amount of understanding from family!

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