A stress fracture to her femur six months ago and the ever-increasing demands of the international circuit as well as holding down a day job has made triathlete Andrea Steyn do some hard self-analysis.
At 28, Steyn is well aware that she’s fast running out of time to be able to earn an Olympic berth in 2012 and when the stress fracture hit her earlier this year she lost six valuable months of training and racing, writes Manfred Seidler.
ÔÇ£I couldn’t run for six months at all. That’s just losing out too much on hard training and racing for me to be able to be competitive enough to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. So I have decided to explore new opportunities.ÔÇØ Steyn made the decision to move up to the longer and no drafting races and her training focus has changed accordingly. Ironically though that training has seen her dominate the first three of the BSG Energade Sprint Triathlon races and she remains unbeaten half way through the series.
The sprint series is made up of 600-metre swim, 20 kilometre cycle and 5km run. Contrary to what many believe should happen, losing of speed once she upped her mileage, the converse is true. Steyn has become stronger and is now able to maintain the harder efforts for longer.
Another reason why Steyn has opted to move up is her swim. ÔÇ£It is not up to World Championship Series standard, and I’m left with too much to do to try and catch the field. In the longer distance events I have the time to make up that deficit. Also with the cycling being non drafting I don’t have to worry about the riders who have gotten away opening an even bigger gap as they are not allowed to work together.ÔÇØ
On numerous occasions Steyn has launched a come from behind attack in the sprint triathlons as well as Olympic standard races here in South Africa and used her superior cycling and running to great effect to win. But at international level, that would take some doing, so her decision to move up in distance seems a good one.
The stress fracture is still very much in the back of her mind though. ÔÇ£I’m just happy to be racing again, but do not want to push it too soon. And the training is very hard. Lots more mileage in between the racing and a lot more hours on the bike.ÔÇØ
Steyn has to juggle that longer training with her work schedule. ÔÇ£Lucky though I am just doing some locum physio work now so that allows me to put in the 4-5 hours of training I need every day.ÔÇØ
Steyn has earmarked two 70.3 races in 2012 and hopes to go to the USA to race in the 5150 series, providing she can find a sponsor. Based on her recent performances at the BSG Energade Series where all she is has done is long work, that could be a clever investment by a sponsor who has an eye for talent and sees an opportunity.