Q&A with Sarah Haskins

By Brian Mahony | 30 May, 2011

We asked you via our Facebook page to submit your questions to US athlete Sarah Haskins. Sarah won her first ITU Triathlon World Cup title in Monterrey earlier this month, and was in winning form again last weekend at a local race in Texas. Haskins is sitting out this weekend’s race in Madrid, to focus on the races later in the season. Each week we’ll have another top ITU star ready to answer your questions, so remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be able to submit your questions.

MaryBeth Moore: What training techniques have you changed to make the run stronger?
Sarah Haskins: To make my run stronger I have worked on consistency in my run training and working toward staying injury free (not doing too much volume or intensity too soon).  I have begun a run specific strength training program and increased my hill running. 

Terry Nash: I think every triathlete has something that they consider to be their “secret weapon”, per se. An extra yoga class, pool running, a certain type of bagel and spread, whatever, what’s yours?
Simon Sarah Haskins: I feel like I really have learned to listen to my body; knowing when to keep pushing hard and knowing when I need to back off.  I have learned not to stick to a training program, but be flexible day to day and really listen to how my body is responding.  I have also recently embraced MAT (muscle activation technique) that has really helped me to stay injury free and balance my body.

2010 Ranking: 14th
2010 Record:

Triharder: I would definitely like to hear about some of your training techniques / secrets / mantras that you like to stick to. CONGRATS!!!
Sarah Haskins:At the start of the year when I was getting into shape and training in the cold winter in Colorado; I came up with a mantra with my coach/husband.  I came up with a single word he could tell me during a tough workout to help regroup me and keep me mentally focused.  “Time”, is the mantra and for me it means to remember not to waste precious moments.  Every second of time counts when working towards my goal.  I want to look back at my career and know that I was always giving 100% mentally.  When I am really hurting on the treadmill or trainer, I can hear “time” and know those couple minutes of suffering will pay off in the future. 

Ryan Hurrell : What is the one thing that motivates you when the weather is freezing or you hit the wall in a set?
Sarah Haskins:When it is cold outside, I think about a nice hot drink afterwards or some quality time in the hot tub!  Training in adverse conditions can make you mentally tough!  When the going gets tough, the Tough gets going.

Adriano Vasconcelos: What do you do to prevent running injuries?
Sarah Haskins:I focus on listening to my body.  If I feel something minor, I back off right away and get treatment.  In addition, I make sure I don’t push too hard too soon after a race or very challenging workout.  I mix up my running surfaces, with most of my running volume on a dirt trail.

Kevin Eijansantos:
What motivates you against all the odds when in the race, you feel like the world is gonna break down on you? Breaking away on Monterrey is one hell of a risk you did there. Congrats!
Sarah Haskins:When I am in race mode, I like to take risks and challenge myself.  I never like to hold back and sometimes, it does pay off in the end. That being said, I have to make smart decisions in a race and have learned with experience when I need to hold back on the bike and not attempt a break.

Cynthia Gan : How do you keep going, and not encounter any mental or physical breakdown?
Sarah Haskins:I feel most mental and physical breakdowns occur when the body is overreaching and over training.  I try to plan my season accordingly so that I can have at least one to two “mini” breaks during the season.  Racing from March through October is a long time not to take a few weeks to recharge the batteries.  If you don’t allow the body proper recovery, it will break down.

Rodolfo Lourenço: How do you evaluate the importance of your coach, or athlete-coach relation to your recent successes?
Sarah Haskins:A coach can be a great tool and guide to help you achieve your success.  I feel the athlete-coach relationship is a team approach and communication needs to be very strong on both sides.  For the past two years, my husband has been coaching me.  He can really access how I am feeling since he sees me every day and make adjustments to my program accordingly.  Trust is key in any athlete coach relationship.  It is also important to know that mistakes can and will happen; but what is important is how you learn and change from the previous mistakes. 

Martin Brown: What proportion of your training is spread across the three disciplines and is it based on your strengths and weaknesses?
Sarah Haskins:My training throughout the year will change depending upon what upcoming race I am training for; but I like to think that you train your weaknesses, but don’t forget about your strengths.  Open water swimming has traditionally been a strength of mine and recently I have focused slightly less on my swimming and focused more energy on my running and cycling.  As I get closer to London, I will continue to focus more on my run and maintain my bike fitness.  I truly feel that the fitter you are on the bike, the more it will help your run performance.  I always strive to improve in all three disciplines over the course of the season, whether it be tactically or physically stronger. 

Sarah Haskins (USA)

Yearof Birth: 1981
Height: 5’7”
Place of Birth: St. Louis, Missouri
1st: 2011 Monterrey ITU Triathlon World Cup
2nd: 2008 Vancouver ITU Triathlon World Championships
2nd: 2007 Rio de Janeiro Pan American Games
4th 2009 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series Grand Final Gold Coast

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