Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MORE from the Desk of Cub Reporter, JP Severin:

Fireside Chat with Olypic Hopeful, Kevin Collington!!!

Kevin stormed onto the triathlon scene as a recent ITU stud. He has brilliant results to his name such as 13th place at the incredibly competitive Hy-Vee Triathlon. A feat which few can claim, he has outsplit Simon Whitfield on a run course! A member of the USA triathlon team, he is definitely one to watch for in the London Olympics of 2012.

P.S. He recently smacked it at 70.3 world championships, coming 7th.

Representing the Red White and Blue in ITU

Amazing season so far, how did this season compare with your expectations going into the year?

This year I really just wanted to prove I could race on the international level. I raced well in 2008 in some of the World Cups in Europe but a lot of people questioned those results because those races were not as competitive as they usually are since a lot of the top guys were sitting out waiting for the Olympics. So I really wanted to do well in a couple of competitive races this year and prove I can race at that level. My result at Hy-Vee really exceeded even my highest expectations, and I did OK at a couple of World Championship Series races this year in Hamburg and Gold Coast. The end result is that I should really be able to attack the 2010 World Championship Series next year.

Your run speed has just gone through the roof and your progression has been amazing. What changes have you made from years past that has lead to this development?

My run improvement came from a lot of different changes. The biggest has just been a slow increase in running mileage over the years. I was only running 20 miles a week in 2007, but now I'm up to 50 or 60 per week. I have also been working with a running coach out of Boulder, Bobby McGee, and combining the work I do with him on running form and economy with the increased running mileage has really made my run my biggest weapon. I still have a lot of work to do before I can keep up with the top ranked guys in the WCS, though!

I understand you recently stepped up from ITU and short course racing to 70.3 placing 7th at 70.3 Augusta. How was your first go around at this distance?

Augusta was an interesting experience. Having just returned from the World Champs in Gold Coast, Australia I was really having sleeping and training leading up to the race. But it turns out this was just the taper I needed and I had a great race. I learned a lot about what I need nutritionally for the 70.3 distance and also how to pace myself so I hope to have an even better race in Clearwater in 3 weeks.

Any plans on Ironman in the distant future?

I could see myself doing an ironman but not until my short course career is over. I'm really focused on making the 2012 Olympic team for London right now, and I'll be 35 for the 2020 Olympics so that would be the last Olympic team I would probably be capable of making. I would love the challenge of Ironman so maybe you'll see me racing one in 2021. That's a long way off, though!

Could you roughly describe your weekly training?

I live and train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and this really shapes the way I train. I swim with the triathlon group here 5 to 6 days per week at 4000 to 5500 meters per session. Running this year was 50 to 60 miles per week - during the summer I like to go up into the mountains to do long runs at around 9,500 ft (2900m), and I do my faster runs on a local trail at around 5900 ft. Biking in the springs is great - again I do my longer rides in the local mountains - we have lots of challenging climbs in the Springs. I do some harder rides on the Computrainer just because it's a great way to dial in your workout intensity.

Favorite workout?

My favorite workout is a long run up at the Rampart Reservoir. It's a challenging, technical trail at around 9500ft above sea level. It's a beautiful place to run and also running there makes me appreciate running at 6000ft a lot more, and sea level is a breeze.

As an Olympic hopeful, what would going to London mean to you?

Going to London would be amazing. It would be the culmination of a lot of hard work. I don't just want to go, though - I want to be a medal contender! With a few more years of development at my current progression that is certainly a possibility.

How are things in terms of sponsorship?

Things are going great! I'm very lucky to be able to work with some great companies like Shimano, Rudy Project and Kiwami to name a few. My results have improved again this year and I'm talking with a couple of companies now that I will hopefully be working with next year!

Being a pro triathlete sounds very glamorous but the training and travel sound ridiculous. What is one thing you absolutely love about your job and one thing you absolutely could live without?

I love the travel - going to a new race in a new location is always lots of fun. At the same time, though, I need some time at home to unwind. One thing I could live without is traveling with a bike box. Not only is it heavy and cumbersome, but you always have to wonder "is my bike going to arrive when I get there?" or "If it arrives, is it still in one piece?" My favorite part about being a professional triathlete is just getting to swim, ride my bike, and run and call it a job!

Any other things we should know about you? Shout outs, favorite foods, horrible phobias, etc...

My favorite food is Krispy Kreme Donuts and I can eat a dozen in about 2 minutes!