Catch up with Team USANA superstar, Britta Martin!

Team USANA has really been hitting the headlines over the past few weeks and one of our very own New Zealand Sponsored Athletes, Britta Martin is leading the way!
On the 19th of April in Taitung, Taiwan, Britta dug deep to win the Iron distance triathlon known as Challenge Taiwan. The gruelling race consisted of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and finished with a 42km marathon! We caught up with Britta between events – read our exclusive catch up here!  
Britta, bringing it home!

Q. At what age did you start competing?

A. ‘I started doing triathlons recreationally when I was about 24 in 2002. I did smaller events for fun and I absolutely loved it. It all started from there. I was hooked to it. I started doing more and more. In 2009, I did my first Iron distance race (3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run) as a professional athlete. I had a horrible race, I ended up vomiting the entire run, but I still loved it! I haven’t looked back since then :)’

Q. What was your training regime in the build-up to the Taiwan Challenge?

A. ‘To do a race like that and actually being able to race competitively means having to train a lot. I normally do at least two sessions a day, often involving all three disciplines. I tend to normally train between five-six hours a day. But including eating, sleeping and recovery time, it means being busy all day long six days a week. I normally have one easy or rest day per week which I need to recharge and be ready for another week.’

Q. What USANA products do you take?

A. ‘My products are: Essentials™, Proflavanol® C100, Coquinone 100™, Active Calcium Plus™ and BiOmega™. Furthermore, I love the USANA Fudge Delite™ Bars as a snack in between sessions or during my rides.’

Q. Which product do you think you get the most benefit from? Why?

A. ‘I love all my products and they all have a purpose. But if I had to choose one, I would probably choose the Essentials. They were the first products I started using and I was absolutely amazed. I am a lot healthier since I started using them. I used to get sick a lot, especially in winter. When you train so much, your immune system can get quite weak and you get sick easily. Since I started using the Essentials, I barely get sick anymore and feel a lot better and healthier. It has made a huge difference. For an athlete, the most important thing is to be healthy, otherwise you can't train properly. Now, I can train consistently and more and that has made a huge difference to my performance in races.’

Britta and some buddies

Q. What made you get into triathlons/iron distance triathlons?

A. ‘I have always been fascinated by the sport, but somehow, I always thought it was for other people and not for me and didn't quite know, where to start. But while I was at university, I started doing a lot of swimming and a bit of running; I just decided to give it a go. I bought myself a bike and started training on it. I had no idea, what to do, but I loved it. One day, I entered a fun triathlon and I was hooked to it after that. I trained more and more and always knew that one day I wanted to do the Iron distance event. But it took another seven or eight years, before I finally made it to the start line of an Iron Distance Race. A long but exciting journey!’

Q. What advice do you have for up and coming triathletes?

A. ‘For beginners, my advice is to just give it a go. You will love it! It is such an awesome sport and with three sports in one, you get a lot of variety. Set yourself a goal and enter an event and then just enjoy the journey. You will never regret it!

For more ambitious triathletes, my advice would be to be patient. Keep working hard and consistently and it will pay off. Hard work will make you achieve your goals and that will be rewarding. There are no short cuts out there though :). It might take time, but enjoy the journey and just keep believing in yourself. It is worth it!’

Enjoying the moment!

Q. Talk us through your thought process during the race. What were the hardest/easiest parts?

A. ‘When starting an Iron distance event, always expect to have a hard day ahead. Swimming is my weakest discipline, so I need to try to stay calm and not panic when everybody else is taking off and leaving me behind. I concentrate on my own race and take it step by step. When I am swimming, I swim and when I am on my bike, I only worry about the bike and don’t look ahead to the run.

In Taiwan, I had a good swim and wasn't too far behind the others. Once I was on the bike, I tried to take it easy for the first 100km. I was in second place at 100km and again, tried to concentrate just on my race. For the last 80km, I tried to push it and make up as much time as possible. I felt pretty good at the end of the bike ride.

It was important to make sure I ate and drank enough on the bike so that I would be able to run a good marathon and not run out of energy. That was one of the most important aspects during the race. It was very hot, so I had to try to cool myself down as well.

I caught the girl in front of me right in transition area and started the run in first place. Again, my goal was to take it easy for the first 20km and then push it towards the end. I felt very good running and extended my lead. But you never know, what is going to happen in a marathon. I wasn't sure, that I could win it until about 1km to go. That’s when I started relaxing and began to really enjoy it. There are lots of ups and downs during an event like this. One minute you feel like you can't continue, but then you come alright again. The last 20km of the marathon is always very hard. I just tried to get to the finish line as fast as possible.'

Q. How did you feel after the race?

A. ‘Winning a race like this made me feel unbelievably happy and relieved and I
had so many emotions and adrenalin floating around my body, that I could barely feel the exhaustion. I was definitely on cloud nine and forgot all the suffering and hard work that went into it. I trained day in and day out for a long time with this goal in my head so it was just great to be able to achieve it.

I couldn't sleep for a few days! Even though I was exhausted, my body kept going! I was very sore, but that didn’t matter either (although this hit me a few days after the event). Once I was home and had time to come down, I started was exhausted. This feeling can last to up to four weeks after a race like that. It takes a while until the body recovers and rebuilds the muscles and cells destroyed in a race like this. Apparently, it can take up to two months to physically recover completely.

Mentally, it sometimes takes even longer. Being so focussed building up to the race and during it means that it takes a long time until I am able to do another race like this. Some people can do more races a year, but for me two to three full Iron distance races are the absolute maximum. I can do a few more halfs or other races, but being able to push myself to the maximum again in a marathon after a 180km ride and a swim takes a long time!’

What a winner!


Q. What did you do to recover?

A. ‘Nutrition is a very important part of recovery. USANA is very, very helpful for me in that period. It’s important to try to get all the nutrition, minerals and vitamins back into the body. And, the body needs a lot during that time to be able to repair. Protein is very important as well. Protein shakes and fish and eggs are on my daily nutrition plan. Hot baths are very good and easy light training is helpful – mainly swimming and biking. It takes the longest time to start running again. I normally have two weeks off where I just do whatever I feel like. After that, I am starting to get back into my training routine again. Back to reality!’


Q. What's next for you?

‘I will head over to Europe at the end of June to train in warmer weather and do a few races over there. After that, I will go to the United States, to compete in another race in September before come back home to New Zealand. I enjoy travelling overseas, to be in warmer climates and go, wherever the races are, but it is always great to come back home!’

Massive congratulations to you from USANA Britta. We’re all wishing you the best of luck for your next race – we’re cheering for you all the way!

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