Checking in with Laura Siddall in the UK

With racing on hold around the world, and no clear timeline on when triathlons will return, we checked in with some of our deboer Team athletes to see how they are staying occupied through this uncertainty.

Laura Siddall

  • Ironman Champion

Where are you located right now?

I’m in the UK at the moment. I left New Zealand in February for a 5 week training camp in the USA and ended up back in the UK, I've been here for four months and counting. I'm living with my sister and her family, who kindly said I could stay with them, when the UK was the only option I had really. Also I think at this time with everything going on, being close to family (albeit we are still socially distanced etc.) was a good idea.

What are the current training rules in your area?

We are now able to train, pretty much as much as we like (e.g. no time or distance restrictions), as long as we obey the governments social distancing rules. So that's still maintaining 2m and only really groups of up to 6 people.  Pools and gyms opened July 24, but I'm not sure on the restrictions in place to use them yet.
How is your training different right now?

Training is in some ways is very different but in others it is very similar. It’s the same type of bike and run sessions, but yes in a very different location to one I'm used to. I haven't lived in the UK since 2007, and definitely not as a Triathlete or Pro Triathlete. I've been trying to find the best places to ride around here for training. It's been great to connect with some of the local triathletes in my village and the surroundings area, and using their knowledge of good place to bike and run. Also just adjusting to a different life and lifestyle back in the UK rather than in my usual locations that I know of Girona or Christchurch, as well as my friends and support network in those places.

I'm still rehabbing from injury and that's been quite difficult to manage at times, as of course we've not had access to physios or massage treatment to help with healing and recovery. Also, again it's finding a new support network here in the UK, and now that we can see physios in person, finding a good physio to help. I've been lucky to have found a couple of awesome physios - albeit still 1-3 hours drive (one way). In terms of contact with my coach, it's not been hugely different as my coach Julie Dibens is based in Boulder, and so normally it's WhatsApp, emails and calls, and of course through Training Peaks. I do think it's made us communicate more, checking how everyone is doing during this time. That's never a bad thing, and I'm incredibly grateful for the support Dibs has shown and provided to me, and with my injury.

How is the local triathlon community dealing with this?

Never having lived here, or in the UK as a triathlete, I'm not really familiar with the local triathlon scene. But it has been great to connect with local athletes in the villages around where I live, and to see that actually there are far more triathletes and cyclist about - which is great. The UK has just given permission for events to go ahead again, as long as they still obey the social distancing government regulations. There are now some local triathlon races on the schedule for the end of August and September, which would be great to see, fingers crossed. There are a few Time Trial events happening too.

I think a lot of us though did rely on the virtual world, be it Zwift for training or racing to keep us going and connected with friends and peers around the world. (There are also platforms like Rouvy, which Ironman has partnered with for their racing.)


How are you managing your fitness and training load with so much uncertainty?

ha ha I leave this up to Julie my coach to manage. I just do what she says! She's been great at managing the training and athletes. At first it was really about rehabbing and building fitness again, having had shoulder surgery right at the start of lockdown. Then it's been getting to a good level of fitness, and jumping into a few virtual races, or some different 12-hour challenges etc, but not ramping up too much either, with that uncertainty. It's also about allowing yourself some slack. It's not like we get these situations very often (and yes I hope it doesn't become a regular occurrence) but also, being able to give yourself some slack and have a glass of wine, or do different things as well.

Any skills/challenges, triathlon or not, that you've taken on over the past few months?

I think I made it to 8 keep ups in my soccer skills! Definitely didn't take up making bread. Left that to my brother in law. I've actually been super busy - just interacting and engaging with athletes and partners in other ways. Giving webinars, podcast, writing articles, and also setting up a few other projects as well along the way.

 Laura Siddall was a guest on Episode #10 of 'The life of Tri' podcast where she talked about going from an age group athlete to Ironman Champion, and what she has been up to since March.

To follow Laura you can find her on Instagram.