by Ayesha Rollinson
“Is this really happening? This is amazing!” These were the thoughts running through Amelie Kretz’s mind as she raced towards a first-place finish at the Edmonton World Cup sprint in June of this year. The moment she broke the finish-line tape and became a World Cup champion, she felt proud that her efforts had paid off. Kretz now knows that hard work is synonymous with success. She knows podium finishes will come with the gruelling 25-hour training weeks, that winning will come with the emotional fortitude of racing head to head with the best in the world.
I sat down with Kretz on a recovery day during her training camp in Spain to ask her about life, the training grind, her breakthrough year and her future.
Triathlon Magazine Canada: You’ve had a outstanding year: second at the Mazatlan Pan American Cup Olympic, first at the Edmonton World Cup Sprint and first at the Bridgetown Pan American Cup Sprint. Mazatlan was your very first Olympic distance race. What was your biggest lesson?
Amelie Kretz: A good plan and its execution equals a good race. I realized that nutrition and pacing are going to be way more important in Olympic than sprint distance.
TMC: In all three of these races you had the fastest run. Your 5 km run has improved from 19:03 in 2010 to 16:36 this year. What contributed to this improvement?
AK: In 2011, I travelled with my coach, Kyla Rollinson, to races in Europe. I was doing well on the local and national sprint scene, but it was on this trip that I realized I would need to work harder to match the talent at the international level. I increased my run mileage and changed my run program. My run improved but unfortunately I got a stress fracture. This incident was a good lesson about improving my run, preventing injury and realizing how water running is key to recovery.
TMC: Do you prefer training in a group or on your own?
AK: I used to like to training on my own when I lived in Montreal. It was what I was used to and I didn’t have a lot of training partners. Now, being with Craig Taylor and the training squad in Guelph, Ont., I am getting used to training with a group and I prefer it.
TMC: What are your thoughts on having a highperformance female coach?
AK: I think that this is incredibly important. Having Kyla allowed me to open up about everything. During my development years, she was not only a coach, but a friend. She knows me as an athlete and a person. Her pro triathlon and pro bike racing experience was priceless because she knew the intimate details and subtleties of the strategies, as well as the physical and psychological experiences involved in elite-level races.
TMC: You say you love adrenaline and that you are friends with many of your domestic competitors. Have you ever run into problems having to compete directly against your friends?
AK: I have had competitive friends my whole life. I am used to it now and I don’t find it a problem. I have made the conscious decision to separate the friendship and competition parts of the relationships.
TMC: What will be your biggest challenge over the next three years?
AK: Making the Olympic team. My coaches have a three-year plan and I need to follow it. The biggest thing in this plan is to stay healthy. If I stay healthy, then I can hopefully help Canada earn three Olympic spots. If I earn one of these spots for Canada, I will hopefully be selected to the team. (Ed.: Canada will be awarded up to three female spots. These spots are allocated based on World Cup rankings several months before the Olympics).
TMC: Are you going to stay in Guelph?
AK: I know my education is important. The training centre in Guelph makes it easy to train at a high level and study at the same time. I plan to be in Vitoria, Spain for the next three summers to train with the National Team.
TMC: Lastly, you are studying nutrition. Do you have a secret super food that you are willing to share with us?
AK: I always have avocados with me. I used to eat a lot of beets, but I am off them now. I find they don’t agree with me before races.
Favourite biography: The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton
Currently reading Swim, Bike, Run: Our Triathlon Story by Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee
Food obsession: Gum
Guilty pleasure: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Injury prevention advice: Take care of tight spots immediately
Best training advice for age groupers? Don’t take yourself too seriously and enjoy the process. Train hard. Have fun.
Pontoon or beach start? Beach. There is too much fighting off pontoon dive start.
Favourite workout? 10–15 min threshold bike intervals right into the fastest 1 km run possible, followed by 3 km hard
What is your most prized possession? My bike
What do you hate about sport or triathlon? Doping and cheaters
What scares you? Failure
What motivates you? Failure