Team Oxygenaddict athlete: Sybille Schorm
Sybille Schorm has been a member of the Team since early 2016. We caught up with her to chat about Ironman Copenhagen, and how she’s found the transition to structured, coach-supported training in team Oxygenaddict.
So, Sybille – your big race of the year was IM Copenhagen – let’s jump straight into that… How did it go?
Racing in Copenhagen was a great experience. Any triathlete will tell you the “perfect race” doesn’t really exist, but given I hoped to finish in under 12 hours and my finish time was 11:08, I think it was a pretty good day. I was also really pleased with 13th in my age group so I had plenty to celebrate!
You’ve worked hard on your bike and we’ve seen you progress into a really strong biker this year – did your hard work pay off on race day?
I have to admit, I’m actually very proud of my bike performance. Once I’d recovered from the very cold swim and got into a rhythm on the bike I felt strong. I went past loads of guys on their fancy tri bikes (I was on my road bike with clip-on aero bars) and really enjoyed the lovely Danish countryside.
I completed the bike in 5:36. In retrospect it might have been a little too hard as the run was tougher than expected but no regrets because I had a lot of fun!
When we were chatting afterwards in the team Facebook group you said the “run:walk” strategy helped get you through the marathon?
Yes, definitely – that and the great support of many of my club mates who were at the race. An old hamstring injury flared up on the run so taking Coach Rob’s advice of walking through aid stations to get plenty of fuel and give my legs the chance of some recovery was a lifesaver!
I finished the marathon in 4:07 so all things considered I don’t think I can really complain.
So you joined Team Oxygenaddict in early 2016 – what was your background and experience in triathlon prior to that?
Before I came to Triathlon 3 years ago, I was into running and also rowing, on and off for about 11 years. Mostly, I enjoyed running half marathons and marathons, taking part in big city races like Berlin, Vienna, Paris etc. I Loved it, but pure running can be hard on your body, especially when you get older, so I decided to learn how to front crawl and eventually got a bike and started commuting to work.
It sounds like there probably wasn’t much structure to your training back then?
Exactly – it actually makes me giggle, thinking back two years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I would just cycle to work and back. At the weekend I pedalled around the Surrey hills, without a GPS, heart rate monitor or watch. I’d often get lost and had to ask other random cyclists for the way back to London!
People always looked at me strangely but were all really helpful and friendly and I always made it back in one piece.
So how and when did you start to take your training a little more seriously?
Someone suggested I joined a Tri club and I finally joined my Ful-on Tri two years ago. It’s great to have the option of training in a club – there is so much knowledge that helped me actually form a vaguely structured training plan!
However, the club mainly catered for shorter races and I ended up doing some quite random sessions tailored towards club events (usually sprint / Olympic distances).
Triathletes tackling longer events usually had a coach, but I found this option very expensive. It seemed you could easily find yourself spending hundreds of pounds per month for a tri coach and I just didn’t want to spend that much money.
It sounds like the timing of Team Oxygenaddict was perfect for you then!
Yes – when I heard Rob was launching Team Oxygenaddict and saw the price relative to 1:1 coaching I wanted to give it a go. I’d never had structured training before and I so I was interested to see how much of a difference it would make.
And how have you found it being a member?
Well I have a structured training plan built around my goals and specific races and we’ve got the group aspect which I really like too. Having access to a coach (Rob) in the Facebook group for random questions, coaching tips and advice on tweaking my training plan when something unforeseen crops up is great.
But not just Rob – the ability to chat to and get motivation from other team members is brilliant. There have been a few times I’ve posted my turbo training woes, and straight away team mates jump on it and give me exactly the support and motivation I need to bounce back!
Comparing what we have in the team with friends who have private coaches, it gives me everything I need and more – it works very well for me.
Having not really had a structured training plan before, has the training been what you expected?
It’s so much better than I was expecting, It’s a structured training from a coach who not only gives you sessions, but also outlines the purpose and idea behind them. As I had never had a coach before it took a bit of time to put my full trust and faith in Rob and his training philosophy, but now I’m glad I did!
Ha ha, yes – we’ve had quite a few discussions about the 9:1 run/walk philosophy this year haven’t we!
Indeed! I never thought I’d hear myself saying “I plan to walk in the IM run”. It took me a long time to take it on board and commit to it in training, but I came to the conclusion that an IM run is something completely different to a marathon on its own.
I’m still amazed how quickly you can recover from a long run done with 9 minutes running and 1 minute steady walking. At the end you are not that much slower AND you can be ready for the next day’s sessions.
But yes, eventually you convinced me that the 9:1 approach is very helpful in IM training. I’m glad you did – otherwise my memories of IM Copenhagen could have been a very different 🙂
Well we love having you in the team and we’re really happy to see how you’ve progressed this year.
Thanks! Being part of the team makes a massive difference. It’s a big motivation when things get hard and it’s great to know there is a team behind you wanting you to do well. It’s nice to have gotten to know the other guys and girls in the team this year too, it actually feels like a community now.
And finally what’s in store for next season?
I have to say, I’m enjoying my off season, but I feel I’ve learnt so much about how to train and what I’m capable of, that I’d like to race another IM next year. There are just too many nice races to choose from though! That said, I’ve learnt that my strengths are better suited to hilly races so that’s what I’ll probably be on the lookout for.