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Training Tips

PowerUp Tri Podcast Episode 2: Holly Lawrence

by Matt Lieto
on March 07, 2019

The PowerUp Tri Podcast is hosted by former pro triathletes Matt Lieto and Jordan Rapp, who lend their in-depth knowledge of the multisport to the Zwift Tri audience.

Listen/follow/subscribe on Soundcloud, iTunes, or Podbean.


On this week’s episode, we were lucky enough to have Holly Lawrence with us to have a chat about many things tri, but also a dive into why eating disorders are so prevalent in endurance sport. Besides being a many-time 70.3 winner and an Ironman 70.3 World Champion, Holly is very open and honest about past experiences and struggles and is the perfect guest to talk through this sometimes difficult topic.

In a sport where fitness, efficiency, and vanity collide, it's no surprise that eating disorders can be prevalent. But the real question is, does weight really matter that much? Is being light and fit better than being healthy and strong? We chat through all this and attack it from all sides.

Holly talks about how the self-perception of an elite athlete can be skewed with so many “fit” people around. “I remember even doing my first Hy-Vee (triathlon) years and years ago and I remember going back to my room and phoning my mom like, Mom, I'm the biggest one here by miles. And I was still only like early twenties, had a bit more like puppy fat.” Being one of the fastest triathletes in the world with this mindset shows how invasive peer pressure to be skinny can be.

Easier said than done, though, as Holly found herself chasing the scale coming off of an injury leading into the 2017 70.3 World Championships while training on an anti-gravity treadmill for rehab. “Realizing, one, my foot didn't hurt when I was running at 95% my body weight and I could run faster and kind of negate the fitness I was losing. And without consulting anyone, something just clicked in me and I was like, I'm just going to have (to lose) this 5%, my body weight.” Needless to say, this did not end well, but Holly learned a valuable lesson and with her platform has shared that this type of thinking can be very unhealthy for athletes on any level.

On top of this important discussion, we spend some time talking about recent results in the sport, and the tech behind integrated hydration systems. All three of us geek out on the Superleague results and the series, in general. Holly states, “I just think it's really exciting what they're doing, trying to change up triathlon, trying to make it more spectator-friendly... and obviously they're trying to make the races as dynamic as possible.” Lots of good Q&A for Holly this episode and she flips the script on us and starts a great dialogue about the side effects of misdirected doping accusations.

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