05 Apr Andrea Hopkin
“At the end of the day, I just want to get the best out of myself, both physically and mentally”
Meet Andrea, a self-motivated and determined athlete and teacher who hails from Rockingham, Western Australia. Just recently she was the fastest female age grouper to cross the line at Ironman Taiwan, and has booked her ticket to Kona for the third time.
This sub-three hour marathoner is as tough mentally as she is physically strong, so read on to hear about her favourite training sessions and nutrition tips.
How did you start in triathlon?
I’ve always been sporty. Mainly competing in athletics, running, basketball and netball, and I did my first triathlon when I was about 12 or 13. My Pop had built me up a Raleigh road bike in the UK and brought it out with him. I enjoyed it, but was more in to athletics and running so continued along that path.
Then years on, in about 2007 a friend from uni did Ironman Western Australia and, oddly enough, I was motivated by the finishers towel she got and I wanted one too! So the following year I did the half IM in May and then the full in December. I hated it. I didn’t train properly and paid for it! I sold that TT bike, never getting on it again, and the following year moved to Melbourne. I took up marathon running, but was forever getting sick and injured. I suffered from severe plantar fasciitis after running the Melbourne Marathon in 2012 and could barely walk for 5-6 months.
So I bought another TT bike and started riding, swimming and hanging around with some running friends who were getting in to triathlon. One friend raced Ironman Melbourne in 2013. I watched him race and also that year went to the Witsup breakfast/1st birthday. Melbourne Ironman was hard to get in to as it sold out super quick. At the birthday they were offering 5 people auto entry if you committed to raising money for Tour De Cure – for Cancer. I put my hand up as my Dad passed away from cancer in 2000, so was in my eyes was a worthy cause.
I decided I wanted to go to Hawaii for the World Championships, so this time was going to train properly, and that was beginning….
Any bucket list races? (not limited to triathlon)
From my marathon days, I always wanted to complete the 5 major marathons – New York, London, Boston, Berlin and Chicago. I have ticked off New York and London. Three to go!
Comrades marathon in South Africa is also on the list.
These will be ticked off when I’m done with this Ironman business.
An Olympic Distance! I’ve never raced one.
Best race results?
Melbourne Marathon 2012 I ran a 2:55 marathon. Earlier that year in March in Rome I ran a 3:00:49.
Ironman Melbourne 2014 – sub 10hrs 2nd place in age group.
2014 70.3 World Champs Mont Tremblant 4th 35-39yrs
2014 Ironman World Champs 4th 35-39yrs
2016 70.3 World Champs Sunshine Coast 4th 40-44yrs
2016 Ironman World Champs 8th 40-44yrs
Most recently, 2017 Ironman Taiwan 1st 40-44yrs
What drives you to compete at top age group level?
I am quite goal driven and put high expectations on myself. I think I am quite critical of my performances and am always seeking ways to better myself. At the end of the day I just want to get the best out of myself, physically and mentally.
What’s your favourite training session?
This is a hard question!!!! It’s hard to pick a specific session.
Swimming – Band work! It makes you strong.
Bike – on the erg I like big gear work. Outside I love riding my road bike. Happy going loopy in Kings Park as normally there isn’t too much traffic to contend, there’s no traffic lights and I just find it quite peaceful with the scenery.
Running – Mona fartlek.
Who are your training crew?
I am coached by Annabel Luxford. I am fairly well self-motivated but like direction and guidance. My work in the past has always been not conducive for attending regular training group session times, so I find this works best for me.
Following a program designed to work around my work/life but specific to my goals, I often find myself training solo, or I occasionally phone-a-friend or two and get them to tag along. I find the solo hours are good mental prep for Ironman racing.
Since moving back to Perth and now working “normal” hours I have joined Mike Gee’s Pursuit Tri group for swim squad once a week.
What’s your favourite Ironman nutrition tip?
Since running my sub 3 hour marathon following a specific carb load I have used the exact same carb load for every 70.3 and Ironman for the 2-3 days prior to the event. I eat the same meals for 3 days which includes lots of pasta, white bread and Rice Bubbles for breakfast. When travelling to the international races I’ve had to compromise a little. I have never had any nutrition issues so don’t dare stray from the plan. I don’t drink any plain water in those 2-3 days prior, always either soft drink or Bindi Hydrator.
“I believe in Bindi products and the benefits gained from using them, in racing, training and recovery. Being fuelled by Bindi helped me achieve my results, most recently this year in Taiwan, both in March 70.3 and October IM, and am now on my way to Kona 2018. I am a positive and healthy athlete, committed to representing and promoting Bindi with pride”