Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Interview with Tara Norton

CT: While most of us have been hunkering down for the winter it sounds like you have been putting in a hard off season! What have you been up to over the last few months?

TN: I have definitely started off my season earlier this year than ever before. I know that this is true as I did 4 5hr+ indoor Computrainer rides! In February I traveled to New Zealand and did Epic Camp ( After the camp, I traveled to Melbourne, Australia and raced at the Geelong 70.3 one week later! And I have just returned from competing at my first Ironman of the season in Tempe, Arizona. I placed 6th overall and qualified for Kona in a very competitive women’s field.

CT: You were down in New Zealand for Epic Camp. What was that experience like?

TN: Epic Camp is a camp run by my coach, Scott Molina, as well as Gordo Byrn and John Newsom and my 8 days there consisted of 1100km of hard cycling, 125km of running and 42km of swimming (totalling 62hrs of training). It was the experience of a lifetime! I pushed to limits I didn’t know were possible and this new knowledge (along with the physical strength I gained) will help me in my future Ironman races. There were 21 campers including the coaches, and I ended up placing 4th overall in the points system. I was the only woman there and had to show the boys that a girl could play the game too! The people at the camp were great and the scenery in New Zealand was spectacular.

CT: So, what are your plans for 2008? Any major goals that you would like to achieve?

TN: My plans for 2008 are to do four ironman races: Ironman Arizona, Ironman Lanzarote, Ironman Switzerland and the Hawaii Ironman World Championship. Obviously I would like to improve on my 12th place finish in Hawaii, but I would also like to add “Ironman Champion” to my resume!! I am continuing to work to improve my run leg of the Ironman. I would like to run a 3:15-3:20 marathon in one of my Ironman races. Finally I am coaching some athletes through and I want to be the best coach I can be and get them all to their start lines healthy and happy!

CT: We are heading into summer, what does a typical week look like for you once the snow has left the ground?

TN: A typical week would include:
Monday: 3-4K swim, 1 hr weights. Tuesday: 90min run (tempo or short run reps), up to 3 hr ride, 90 min strength and stretch class. Wednesday: 4K swim with lots of IM, 3-4 hr ride, 45min run. Thursday: 90 min run, 1 hr weights, 5K swim. Friday: 3-4K swim, 1 hr weights, 1 hr run. Saturday: Long 5-6 hr bike/30-60 min run brick workout. Sunday: 5-6K swim, up to 3 hr run. And in there I coach, see massage clients and get all my own appointments in!

CT: Obviously you are a very talented and driven triathlete, what first brought you into the sport?

TN: A friend of mine started the Triathlon Club at Trent University where I was doing my undergraduate degree. He suggested that I try doing a triathlon race. I started with the relay (I did the swim) and then I progressed in the sport as most people do: I did a sprint, then an Olympic triathlon, then a Half Ironman and finally a full Ironman. It’s funny because when I first started triathlon I thought that Ironman was crazy and that I would never do one! Fourteen Ironman races later…there is no stopping me!

CT: You have been a major proponent of visualization. What first got you interested in this subject, and how has it affected your racing?

TN: I have always known that Ironman is 1/3 mental (and 1/3 physical and 1/3 nutrition) and as I progressed in the sport, wanted to train mentally as well as physically. Just as I was starting to inquire about mental training options, I was contacted by Etienne Couture ( and that was the start of my mental coaching. I signed up immediately! This work has been incredible and has been extremely instrumental in my improvement. I continue to do weekly sessions and continue to learn how to use my mental strength to achieve my best in the sport. Through my mental training, I now have better awareness which helps in all aspects of my life. I have learned mental techniques to help me in my races and in training (both mentally and physically) and I am steadily improving my results.

CT: What is your sponsorship situation looking like this year?

TN: I have the most amazing sponsors including Shimano, Zoot, Endurosport, GU, Rudy Project, The Toronto Athletic Club (Dr. Lawrence Micheli), and Toronto Circus School. My success wouldn’t be possible without all this support, for which I am extremely grateful. My Shimano gear and Zoot apparel and Cervelo P3C from Endurosport make me fast AND make me look good!! I just rode my PRO disc wheel in Arizona and it was SWEEET! I love the new Zoot racing flats as they fit like slippers and my Zenith wetsuit makes me look like a superhero!  GU and ART by Lawrence Micheli keep me well fuelled and keep my body healthy.

CT: Do you have a race that sticks out as your favourite? Why?

TN: Ironman Lanzarote is definitely my favourite race. The island is magical and deemed the toughest Ironman in the world with the heat, wind and almost 9,000 feet of climbing on the bike, it plays to my strengths. I love climbing on the bike, so this is a great course for me.

CT: Has your family always been supportive of your triathlon pursuits?

TN: I have 100% support from my family and as a result I feel very lucky. I know this is not the case for everyone so I am extremely appreciative and don’t take it for granted. I have had the support from my husband, Bruce, and the rest of my family from the time I started to contemplate turning pro. My family also travels to almost all of my races and this is very special to me

CT: What is your favourite food?

TN: Oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts. Post race would have to be ice cream!

CT: If you had one piece of advice to offer an aspiring pro or age grouper what would it be?

TN: Follow your passion – if you do what you love to do, you will do it well and be happy. More specific advice for Ironman would be to ensure that you get in good nutrition (that you have practiced beforehand) during the race in order to fuel your body. Most people do all the hard training in order to get ready for Ironman but it would be a shame to then not have the proper fuel to execute that great race and put all that hard training to work on race day!

CT: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! Best of luck this year and hopefully we will see you on top of the podium!

TN: Thanks! I hope so too

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