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There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Cat (9 Questions for Sam McGlone)

January 10th, 2012


Samantha McGlone
Samantha McGlone

Samantha McGlone has been successful in triathlon since she was a teenager.  Among her results are a second place finish in the 1999 ITU Junior World Championships, a first place finish in the 2006 Ironman 70.3 World Championships, and a second place finish in the Ford Ironman World Championships in 2007.  You can get an idea of how smart, funny, and hardworking Sam is by checking her out on Twitter.

1. Triathletes are often considered Jacks-of-all-trades, but a master of none.  What are your thoughts on this perception? That is absolutely true.  I think most triathletes secretly harbor single-sport envy.  Most of us started in one of the individual sports and soon realized that we didn’t quite make the grade, but this triathlon thing looked kind of cool. The exception being ITU World Champion Sheila Taormina, who had previously won an Olympic gold medal in swimming.  She was just a badass.

2. With regard to training: quantity or quality? Quality first.  But there is no denying that to compete at the top level requires a significant amount of quantity as well.  I think the key lies in the balance—if you are doing so much volume you can’t work hard in training, you won’t be able to go fast in a race.  I approach training with the goal of first getting fast then increasing the amount of time I can hold that pace.  I think too many people go for the big volume first because it sounds impressive.  Only once you are nailing the quality sessions should you look to increase quantity.

3. Do you strength train? If yes, why and what is your basic routine?  If no, why not?  I do use strength training and adjust my routine depending on the time of year and my sport specific training load.  During the winter I use a more general strength routine with power yoga and TRX, the goal being to improve overall functional strength and core stability.  I switch to a very basic (30-40 minutes, 2x/week) gym weight routine during my Ironman build-up as a way to maintain muscular strength while doing the high volume endurance training.

4. What type of diet do you follow? Again, diet is something I periodize based on the time of year.  I will be very disciplined for 8-12 weeks while getting down to race weight before Kona for instance, but need to relax a little in the off season and make sure to enjoy the food and drinks I have been restricting.  In season I try to focus on whole, natural foods—lots of salads and lean protein and try to eat mainly gluten free.  But I am not fanatical about anything.

5. How do you balance triathlon and the rest of your life?  I don’t think I do a very good job of that!  I am by nature very “all-or-nothing” when I am working toward a goal.  When you are training 2-3 times a day there isn’t much time or energy for other things.  My life is structured around my job and I work 7 days a week.  I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.  Fortunately I have lots of great friends in Tucson that are in the same boat.  I guess that is how I keep balanced—by surrounding myself with others that have the same, quirky lifestyle so that we all feel normal!

6. What do you love most in life?  That feeling at the end of a hard race, win or lose, when I know that I have done everything I could possibly do, and left it all out there.  It’s that 100% thing again.

7. What is your dream job?  Professional triathlete, of course!  Just kidding—the New York Times restaurant critic.

8. What is the most inspirational sporting moment you have witnessed or experienced?  Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal to win Canada the men’s hockey Olympic gold medal in Vancouver 2010.  It was a clutch play, on home ice by a quintessential Canadian player. It was perfect.

9. Finally, and most importantly: How do you like your coffee, and how much coffee do you drink on a daily basis?  I have one of those fancy espresso makers so I have a triple Americano (8oz)  with a little whole milk every morning.  That’s usually it for the day unless I am really dragging.  I’ll never say no to a really good cappuccino at Cartel or Sparkroot.

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