Elizabeth Duncombe

British Triathlete

In five years’ time, I will be:

Hopefully earning a living from racing!

Career highlights:

  • winning my AG at the South American Ironman Championship
  • Travelling the world with my bike
  • Sight-seeing at high speed

What does your standard training week involve?

8-12km of swimming, 10 hours of cycling and 4-5 hours of running as well as 5 sessions of delivering Pilates and strength and conditioning classes.

Where is your favourite place to train?

Annecy in the French Alps. Its got clear blue water to swim in the lake and it’s free! A cycle path round the lake that leads on to all of the surrounding climbs and it’s a great mix of flat running road and trail runs to mix up some contrasting running terrain. Like a playground really :)

What is your favourite race?

IRONMAN Argentina. Slightly bias maybe because my victory was there but I loved the culture, the respect and hospitality from the locals. The sun was glorious and the wind was fierce which played in my favour on the bike.

What are your top 3 Kymira Sport garments?
When do you use them and why?

Running Leggings

As a PT I've worn them every day since I’ve had them because they look great with any top and they make my legs happy all day.

Compression socks

These socks are super compressive and I love the design. Sort of keeps me feeling feminine whilst getting very sweaty.

Onyx Cycling kit

The padding is super comfortable for the endurance ride and the sticky seams keep it from rising up.

What is your favourite training accessory?

Treks air bone conductor headphones. They have great sound and are very practical for training because of how light and snug they fit.

What has been the toughest experience in your career and what did you learn from it?

GI issues combined with heat stroke in my first ever Ironman. I learnt that I can finish a race no matter what because, in the end, if you keep moving in the forwards direction you eventually get to the finish line. I also learnt how much finishing a race meant to me.

What is the most common training mistake you see? Any suggestions on how to avoid it?

Over-training. In an Ironman lots of people train for the run fitness as if it’s a half marathon. It’s a full marathon at the end of several hours of swim and cycle, so the pace will always be slower than one's normal run pace. If one's body is not used to running slower then it won't cope well with that slower pace. In the end it becomes even slower to the point where people end up walking.. and it takes a very long time to walk a marathon!

What motivates you to train and race harder?

The races keep me training consistently and the consistency makes me consistent with everything else I do. New favourite word... consistency.

Describe your diet/meal plan leading up to a big race:

Intermittent fasting. There are a lot of people that don’t agree with it but it works very well for me. It helps me keep my weight down and makes me more efficient at burning fat so I don’t have to rely so much on carb loading. In the Ironman Argentina I lost access to my food supply on the bike and I still managed to negative split the run and in my opinion it’s down to being so well fat adapted.

On race day, after weigh-in it is important to re-hydrate with electrolytes and replenish stores with carbohydrates and energy ready to race. My favourite is overnight oats, I add protein powder, berries, cinnamon and honey.  

How do you balance your training and racing life with life outside the sport?

Nowadays I don’t really need to because I’ve made my life work around my sport. I have endless support from friends and family. A big change I have made is that I keep gaps between clients so I can get my training done during the day. That way I don’t have to eat late at night and it just works better. I used to struggle with this but in the end I just needed a routine. I’ve ended up working a lot in the evening but I have a good social life in the day time thanks to meeting people with a similar lifestyle.

What type of nutritional supplement do you find most helpful?

Fish oil with a high dose of EPA. Great for the heart and joints.

What is the best thing about being an athlete?

Being so fit and feeling very body confident yet getting to eat a lot of food!

What is the worst thing about being an athlete?

Not being able to go out dancing till 3am.