Javier Gomez: ‘I crave beer and pizza after a triathlon’

Congratulations on being world champion, Javier! So what now, now that the triathlon season is almost done? Well, it’s one of the last races of the year so I’m a bit tired. The past couple of months have been intense in terms of training. I spent the month of August at home training hard with no racing, then I did a couple of races in Stockholm and the US. They went very well too!

Where is your favourite place to run – and why? There are lots of great places. Hyde Park is one of my favourite places. It’s really special. I’ve got great memories from the Olympic Games here last year. I like to come and just go for a jog.

What’s the best thing about running? I enjoy an easy jog. In the mountains, or the forest with my own thoughts I can escape from the world for a bit. Obviously we have to work hard on the track, which can be tough. Although when you’re fit you can enjoy it. Pushing yourself to the limit and seeing that your times are going well, is a good feeling.

And what’s the worst thing? A tough track session. When you’re not feeling good, you’re suffering and the times are not as quick as you’d like … that can be pretty rough.

Do you remember your first race? In triathlon, it was back in 1998. It was Olympic distance and I was only 15. It was a very tough experience, but I really liked it. I was a swimmer back then and hadn’t trained much for the bike and run. I saw I had potential to do it well. From the beginning I really liked the sport and started to train harder and harder. I was first in the junior and overall I was tenth. It was a pretty high level race.

What do you eat on the morning of a race? It depends on the time of the race. I like to have some plain rice, which provides carbohydrates and is easy to digest. If it’s breakfast I’ll also have a couple of slices of toast and a coffee. Usually I’ll have fruit with breakfast, but not on the day of the race, as sometimes it’s difficult to digest. When racing Olympic distance I’ll have my last meal three hours before the race and during the race I’ll have a gel. I think it’s enough.

What’s the furthest distance you’ve ever run? I think I remember running 28km in a session. That’s probably the longest run. It’s not too much, but for the distance we’re training it’s not about running longer, but faster. In the future if I ever decide to move to Ironman or longer distance, I’ll have to run further. Until 2016 I will be focused on the Olympic Games in Rio.

When someone asks for a training tip, what do you tell them? I’d suggest people find a coach or somebody that can offer them advice. I see people running miles and miles and sometimes time would be better-spent improving technique with drills and exercises. They can make you run more efficiently and faster, but you need someone from the outside who can offer a different perspective.

Do you like running gadgets? If so, what’s your favourite? I’ll usually just a use watch and a heart rate monitor. Sometimes I’ll use a GPS. When I’m at home I know every kilometre, but when I’m on a training camp I like to take the GPS for my easier runs.

Do you listen to music when you run or when you train generally? Only in easy sessions. When I have an easy run I like to listen to music and relax. When I have to train hard I try to simulate race conditions, and in a race you can’t listen to music. I like rock music. Rock’n’roll, hard rock and a bit of heavy metal.

What’s your favourite post-race indulgence? I like to have a beer after a race, that’s always good. It’s weird because before a race I always want something sweet, like a cake, but afterwards I crave something salty. Like pizza.

Do you ever run barefoot, or in barefoot-style shoes? Not really, although I know a lot of people are and it’s working well for them. I had some issues with my achilles tendon over the past few years. It’s very sensitive so I don’t think I’ll change, not as I’ve been running in shoes my whole life. I think it could bring a high risk of injury.

Mo Farah or Usain Bolt? Mo Farah! As an endurance athlete he’s really impressive. Don’t get me wrong, what Usain Bolt is doing is amazing, but I prefer long-distance running.

Javier Gomez Noya is a global ambassador for performance optics brand Oakley. You can find out more about Javier and Oakley at uk.oakley.com

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