Road to Kona starts in the tracks

Road  to Kona starts in the tracks

Triathlon professional Michael Weiss is back! Eight weeks after an arthroscopic procedure on the left knee, the Lower Austrian is already back in full training.

However, his training regime is not typical to triathlon as he swapped the time trial bike for cross-country skis. In an interview, Michael explains his new winter training tactics:

How are the preparations for the new season?

Michael Weiss: Very Good. I just had a great week of training in Ramsau, Austria with two cross-country sessions per day. In addition, I was swimming every day and including gym work. The conditions were perfect; great trails, top Fischer Sports material, professional service from Ski-Willy and a modern sports center with indoor pool and weight room.

How does cross-country skiing fit into professional triathlon training?

Weiss: Very Good. I was looking for a new training stimulus. Although, I must admit, skiing is not entirely new because I have enjoyed cross-country skiing for 25 years. But in Ramsau I properly adapted the sport for my training and set a focus and in February I will return for a second cross-country week. Winter training does not necessarily need to be in Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and Mallorca.

What do you mean by that?

Weiss: I would like to recharge during these winter months and a peaceful, scenic training on snowy trails in nature is absolutely ideal. There are no cars, no cell phones, only your own breath and the sound of skiis on snow. That's training and meditation alike where one can find himself.

What insights have you gained here?

Weiss: It’s been eight weeks since my knee operation and it was quite a stressful experience for me. I was forced to take a break, which is difficult for any athlete. But I soon realized how to accept the situation and that I cannot outsmart my body.

Would you recommend cross-country skiing to the amateur triathlete?

Weiss: Definitely. It's the perfect winter training for triathletes. You are in nature, it affects similar muscle groups, such as swimming and your balance is specifically well trained. In addition, the risk of injury when cross-country skiing is quite low.

Speaking of injury: Where do you stand two months after your surgery?

Weiss: I'm right on schedule, working my way back step by step and without too much pressure. I received the green-light for running after four weeks, but demonstrated patience and only now started again with light runs. In the coming weeks and months, the focus will however be mainly on the swimming. That's the key for a top finish in Hawaii.

What is your timetable from the cross-country skiing in Ramsau to the Ironman World Championships?

Weiss: If everything continues to go well, I'll enter the Ironman 70.3 Texas on April 10th. With the points from Hawaii 2015 and Cozumel I have to no stress with the qualification for the Ironman World Championships and will focus on race quality over quantity.

And will you be racing Ironman Austria in Klagenfurt this year?

Weiss: Yes, Ironman Austria is my season big highlight next to Hawaii. I visited Klagenfurt this winter and looked at the Lendkanal and Uferpromenande in the snow. It was cold and I was just with my dog on the road, but I had highly emotional images of last year and that gives me strength for another attempt at the home win.

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© Michael Weiss, 2019
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