Sarah Crowley Podcast

Sarah Crowley: Focusing On The Long Term Gains

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Photo Credit: Dale Travers


About this episode:

In this week’s episode, coach Adam talks with multiple Ironman Champion Sarah Crowley about her progression as a professional triathlete and how’s she’s managed to perform at such a high level in the sport while working a demanding full-time job.

Guest Bio – Sarah Crowley:

Sarah Crowley is a multiple Ironman Champion professional triathlete, originally from Adelaide, focusing on non-drafting Olympic distance, half ironman distance, and iron distance triathlon. Sarah is also a Chartered Accountant. Having worked until 2016 as a Director in Corporate Finance at Deloitte. Her background in the high-pressure environment of professional services has provided Sarah with an interesting perspective on, and ability to cope with, world level racing.

  • Ironman World Championship Kona Podium 2019 and 2017
  • Ironman Arizona Champion 2019
  • South American Ironman Champion 2018
  • ITU World Long Course Champion 2017
  • Asia Pacific and European Ironman Champion 2017

Episode Highlights:

  • Balancing working full-time with being a professional triathlete
  • Identifying and improving weaknesses
  • The importance of staying relaxed in training
  • Staying motivated for long term fitness gains

Learn More About Sarah Crowley:

Links For DIY Tri:

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform


Thanks To This Week’s Sponsors:

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Episode Transcription:

Adam Pulford:

Hey everyone, Adam here. Before we get into our episode I just want to say a few things. I didn’t know Sarah Crowley before this interview and we hopped on Zencastr and just went over a few bullet points beforehand. We were chatting as well and it was just super fun, just automatically connected with her. She’s really rad.

Adam Pulford:

Not only that, I mean she is top level, world champion, multiple Ironman championships underneath her race belt, and an endurance legend. She’s been doing this for quite some time. We talk about how all that happened. We talk about the history, we talk about her training, her ups and downs. We talked about how she made some really big changes in order to take it to that next level. We talk about flow, and how to win, and it’s a really cool interview. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Adam Pulford:

Meanwhile, we do talk about a cool little challenge that one of her sponsors is putting out here this week, so be sure to listen through the whole episode and into the very end because there’s a little guest appearance by Jeremiah Bishop to talk about the DIY Try that is happening here September and October. If anyone is looking for a new challenge to partake in before the end of the year, definitely do that. For now, ladies and gentleman, Sarah Crowley.

Adam Pulford:

Welcome back or welcome to the TrainRight podcast. I’m your host, Adam Pulford. Today we’ve got an awesome guest that I’m really stoked about, Sarah Crowley. Sarah, can you introduce yourself a bit more to our audience?

Sarah Crowley:

Hi everyone. I guess it’s morning, good morning from here in Australia.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, good morning.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. My name’s Sarah Crowley. I’m a professional long course triathlete. I’ve had multiple wins in Ironman, I guess now, which is pretty amazing. I’ve spent 15 to 20 years in the sport but probably people only know my recent stuff which we’ll cover a little bit more of my history today, hopefully. Yeah. I’m Australian and really love triathlon, although I hate to say that. I [inaudible 00:02:40] don’t tell people that I actually love it, but I do.

Adam Pulford:

Why is that?

Sarah Crowley:

I don’t know. I guess it’s a bit corny. I love my job.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Corny’s cool though, corny’s cool. I’d [inaudible 00:02:58] if I were you.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Well everyone, as you heard in my intro, Sarah is an endurance legend. We’ll get more into her history and how she did it, but before we do Sarah, I was reading your bio online and I loved it because it starts out as sunshine with a little hurricane. What does that mean?

Sarah Crowley:

Well, I always have a bit of trouble describing myself. I mean, there’s a lot of athletes so everyone has to discover your own brand or whatever. I guess for me it’s being a little bit edgy, so yeah, that phrase stuck out to me as just a bit edgy. I think I’m a nice person but when it comes down to the business I’ll give it everything I’ve got. There’s definitely, in Australia we call it mongrel, there’s some mongrel there when I race which I think fits well with that phrase. Yeah, that’s where that comes from I think. It sits well with me. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Yeah, no, I would say so. I mean, it definitely speaks to your racing style for sure. For sure. Well, let’s talk about how that all came to be. Let’s talk about your origin. If you want to, let’s go back to little Sarah growing up. I mean, what was childhood like? Were you always running, and swimming, and biking, or were you doing something else?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. In Australia, I mean we don’t have very many people here.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

This is how I usually talk about this. I mean, there’s only, when I was young maybe less than 20 million people in Australia so it’s a pretty small country even though our continent’s really massive. I guess, if you want it back even further I think we hosted an Olympics in the ’50s. We didn’t do very well. Then from there we developed an Institute of Sport and sport just became everything to everyone. I think globally through the ’90s, basketball was getting huge and everything else so sport was just a big thing.

Sarah Crowley:

But because there wasn’t so many people I guess you played every sport to fill up teams. For me real early days I probably enjoyed, I always did running from the start of high school so that’s like 12 years old. I did early morning running group, and even before that I did swimming. In Australia swimming is a must do. There’s programs everywhere so everyone learns to swim. I didn’t learn very good but I did swim at the time. Anyway, it helped me for later I think.

Sarah Crowley:

Then, I guess through high school it was mostly running as my preferred thing but I did play softball, and basketball, and pretty much everything. I actually played more American sports. In Australia netball’s a big thing but I just wasn’t really that interested so I played basketball. I think I felt more active.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I was just always on the go. Thanks mom and dad.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, exactly. Right? I can [inaudible 00:06:08] both them.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Were you competing, then, in say running? What distances was that? Were you competing in swimming?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I mean, it was interesting you say this. I’ve had this discussion with my brother about why I’ve been able to stay in triathlons so long, or sport in general, and keeping refreshed and everything. I think I was never pressured with my running.

Sarah Crowley:

At school we did early morning running. I’d probably run, from 12 years old, 30 to 40 kilometers a week. For a long time I ran, but we were never under any pressure. It’s so funny now to look back, but there were proper endurance events for kids. We would do 100 kilometer relay.

Adam Pulford:

Wow.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, you train for it. Once a year you’d team up with four other athletes, four other kids, and you’d run in total 100 kilometers for the day. I think it was four lots of five kilometers each. Yeah. It was pretty cool. We did that through the [crosstalk 00:07:17]

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, that’s awesome.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I mean, that’s a half marathon for …

Adam Pulford:

That’s a lot for a 12 year old.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, I know. At the time, well even now, it’s only just occurred to me as we’re speaking about it. I’m like, oh yeah, maybe that’s why.

Adam Pulford:

You developed some endurance back then I guess.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, and I think mentally it helped. What 12 year old runs a half marathon? Yeah. We did that.

Adam Pulford:

Sarah Crowley, ladies and gentleman.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, just realizing.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. [inaudible 00:07:57]

Sarah Crowley:

I think, obviously we also did other events in track and field or whatever, but for me it wasn’t super competitive. It was more just building the engine I guess now, looking back on it.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

I always just enjoyed it. I never missed it. I guess that does build a big base for later on.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. As we know, as a coach I would make the argument that most athletes overlook how long it takes to really build a huge base, a proper engine so to speak. Being exposed at a young age to that endurance mindset and also development, I mean that’s a huge arrow in the quiver.

Sarah Crowley:

Especially under no pressure. By the way, those 5Ks, we’re looking at 24 or 25 minutes was like, wow you ran really well today at an event.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

Then you wind forward to when I just got out of uni and I decided I wanted to run, where I hadn’t run all through uni. I may have done some weights and stuff but mostly I was full focus on my studies. Within a year I’ve dropped that down to 16 minute 5K.

Adam Pulford:

That’s when you got fast?

Sarah Crowley:

It did something.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Okay. When did you pick up the bike. When’d you start riding?

Sarah Crowley:

Well, I hadn’t ridden at all and I pretty much only started, like I said, once I left university. I kind of watched a race down in Adelaide which I seemed to do every yeah, that’s my hometown. It’s at the bottom of Australia. I live near the top right hand side of the big [crosstalk 00:09:42]

Adam Pulford:

Gotcha, gotcha.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I saw this race and I thought it was pretty cool so I joined a triathlon club. I think I’d bought a bike just before that, though. I was doing a little bit, but I’m talking maybe 19, 20 years old I hadn’t ridden a bike until then. It was all very new to me. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. When did you start to get exposed to triathlon and putting all three together?

Sarah Crowley:

Oh, geez. That year, it must have been the first year at the accounting firm that I worked for. I’d finished university, I’d started working. I think it must be 2003, 2004, something like this. Yeah, I guess I just trained with a group. I didn’t do an actual event until I was a little bit along, maybe six months into it or something.

Adam Pulford:

Gotcha.

Sarah Crowley:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Pulford:

Were you peer pressured, like a lot of us, into doing your first tri? Or was it like, this is what I’m going to do?

Sarah Crowley:

Well, I was having a lot of fun so it was just an event. I just chose to do it, I think. I mean, I had a really good coach. He was probably super good with energy systems. He had coached an Olympian to a gold medal, actually, a weight lifting gold medal back in the ’80s, but he loved tri and was just really theoretically brilliant.

Sarah Crowley:

Training was always a lot of fun because he had obviously put a lot of thought into the program so you actually progressed quite quickly because he had put thought into everything. I think that, yeah I guess that encouraged me. Yeah, when there was an event it was like, yeah. That was fun I think, but so much to learn in triathlon far out. I don’t remember any faux pas or silly things I did in that race but I’m sure I did. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Yes, yes. Those of us who have done triathlon, we probably shouldn’t realize how many things we did improperly the first time, but you excelled quite quickly from there. Tell us, how you do your first triathlon, into getting invited to, what the National Team to compete?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I was working this whole time. I’m a chartered accountant so I worked in corporate finance, at Deloitte. I was pushing my career pretty hard because this was the first few years that you start working. By 2007, so two to three years, I’d gotten the points or whatever to go to the age group World Championships. Apart from having a real big mistake in that race, ridiculously huge, I ran my transition which probably would have meant that I’d won the race quite easily. I actually ended up fourth.

Adam Pulford:

What’d you do?

Sarah Crowley:

I ran the whole way to the end of the transition, because I was so fast that I got before our age group was going to be back so I caught the next age group. They were down at the other end of transition. I don’t know what happened, but I thought I had to multi loop the transition. I don’t understand what I did, but I messed up. It was like four minutes in transition because that long transition down the altar in Hamburg, anyway it was a mess up.

Adam Pulford:

Oh, yeah. That’s rough. Okay.

Sarah Crowley:

When I got back I realized that it didn’t matter, the result was the result. I knew that I was at the level … In that field, by the way, was Anne Haug, Camilla Pedersen I think. If you have a look back it’s quite an interesting race.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, for sure.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I just knew from there that I was ready to step into, try something a bit more professional. One of the other athletes that I’d trained up had moved recently to Queensland, at that time. Mostly everyone trains in Queensland because, I guess it would be like Florida maybe or San Diego, it’s warm all year round. You can train all the time.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I thought, I may as well give it a go. I don’t know. I was really enjoying it and I thought there was a lot more I could achieve, I felt. Yeah. I kind of trained for about a month as a test basis up here in Queensland, with the Queensland Academy of Sport. Then I decided to move up. From 2008 onwards I was full-time professional doing short course triathlon.

Adam Pulford:

How old were you then, Sarah?

Sarah Crowley:

Oh, that’s an interesting point. Basically, I must have been 24.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Sarah Crowley:

That was, I was just out of under 23 so I didn’t have the opportunity, I was a little late coming to it. I missed that chance to get in the system early.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

I had to work pretty hard then to achieve what you needed to, to actually get ranked and everything else. It was always going to be a two to three year process.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Those girls you mentioned, I mean they were racing much earlier, right, than you?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

You came a little bit later.

Sarah Crowley:

Yes. I mean, for me the upskilling time took those years of the junior stuff.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I guess that time spent pretty much just building up ITU points for at least the first year or so.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. You were working a proper job too, I mean corporate with Deloitte. As you had this goal in mind, how did you balance it all and when did you make that decision to be like, I’m going to give this a proper go?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. Well, I’m pretty full gas. I’d try and achieve as much as possible every single day. It’s a problem even now. I have to learn to stop.

Adam Pulford:

Real shocking to me, real shocking.

Sarah Crowley:

Oh, yeah I know. Triathletes, right?

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, exactly.

Sarah Crowley:

I fit the mold. I don’t know. I guess initially I was just balancing it by, for one thing in Adelaide it’s not as congested in the city and stuff. It’s a really well structured city. For me it sort of just worked. I was quite efficient. My boss was super accepting of it. He loved it.

Sarah Crowley:

I think he thought that it showed everyone that you can do a lot of things. I won an award actually for being able to manage all of that, being able to train every day and still come to work and have these two sides to me. I won the National Deloitte Businesswoman of the Year, actually, in 2006 while I was [crosstalk 00:17:24]

Adam Pulford:

Wow. Did not know that, that’s huge.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. It was actually, at the time.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, that was pretty cool. Yeah. They were always supportive. Right up until 2016 I was on little leave of absences and things from Deloitte every time I left to race. I was always employed by them even though I wasn’t in the office.

Adam Pulford:

That support though is super important for that.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I mean, being in corporate finance obviously you see other businesses, and other people, and how they’ve tried to manage it. It’s not easy. Also, some of my time, post-ITU I went back and trained in clubs. You see other people’s struggles with training, and managing training with family, and work, and everything else.

Sarah Crowley:

For me, I was very lucky I think with my workplace and always having people that thought they understood. I think that comes from the culture in Australia. I mean, sport is huge. Everyone loves it so much. Less so now though, which is a shame, but yeah. It’s always very well supported, which was good for me.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, yeah. That support allowed you the time, go back to 2008 through ’10, I mean, you had a lot of success in shorter course ITU draft legal racing.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. Looking back on it now I wish I could have achieved so much more. Obviously now that, we’ll get to it, but I can swim, but then I was constantly progressing until a point where it was just clearly obvious that it was going to take an effort to change the swim. We couldn’t just get fitter anymore and that would make up for it.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

I guess it was a decision point, I had Deloitte going, “Do you want to come back to work soon in Brisbane?” I was like … Yeah, coupled with a small injury at the time you’re like … Yeah. That’s kind of-

Adam Pulford:

It was like you had to push more chips in, you had an injury, and right around 2010 that’s when you went back to more full-time work?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. We got up to the World Series and then I wasn’t getting lapped out, I actually can say I never was lapped out of a race, which I’m proud of.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, for sure. That’s saying something.

Sarah Crowley:

I don’t think I’d let it happen, I’d just fight on. I was like, no you’re not [crosstalk 00:20:08] But still, just weren’t quite there. If something went wrong it went really wrong for me because I just didn’t have any, just no leniency for me in a race. Everything was tight because of that swim.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. It was real challenging, but I got to the point where I felt like perhaps I couldn’t go any further unless we made a big investment in swimming and I didn’t know how to do that at the time. Oddly enough, Cameron, my coach Cameron Watt, would tell me this because I was friends with him then, he was like, “I know a guy that could fix this.” That was probably Brett Sutton at the time.

Sarah Crowley:

I just always wonder what would have happened had I responded to his Facebook message with, “Oh yeah actually, I’ll do that,” but I think I already had it in my head that I wanted to return to work. In the end I think it’s extended my career. That’s like COVID, right? I think we need to take these opportunities to let the head just go do something else for a bit and not be so focused on triathlon.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Well, let’s talk about that for a quick minute. You took that time. I assume you’re still training and maybe toed the line of something from 2010 to ’12, but what was that time like for you? Was it just a good, hard reset? Or what were you doing then?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I mean, I think I was feeling a little lost. I needed to go back to work. I felt like I wanted to push my career a little bit. I don’t even know why, probably because I’d spent all this time educating myself in it, and I enjoyed my job. I was curious, the mining boom was going big here. There was interesting work on.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, and I enjoyed the people. I really liked the people in my firm. Yeah. I went back to work. I was a bit lost. I tried a bit of just pure running for a little bit. Yeah. I took up cycling because the firm actually had a cycling team.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

We had quite a really good girl in it actually, her name’s Grace [Saulsberry 00:22:45]. Her brother raced Tour de France. In fact, now he runs Zwift in Australia.

Adam Pulford:

Oh, crazy.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. In Australia everybody, by the way, knows everybody, because there’s only 20 million of us.

Adam Pulford:

Only 20 million.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I ended up helping in the team, helping her. That, I guess, ramped my riding up a little bit, from that I would actually become a lot stronger. I didn’t realize with my cycling that, even now I’m grateful for it. I never feel like I’m doing a cycling block. Either it’s because I really enjoy cycling or I think naturally I just pick it up and build muscle really quite quickly. Yeah. Cycling for me has always been, well I’m quite lucky, but it always just comes together.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I can honestly tell you, I don’t think I feel like I’ve had … I mean, there’s been times where we’ve done a lot of cycling and it’s been, wow riding again? But it’s never like, oh I need to address my cycling. Yeah. Are we going to spend-

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. That’s fortunate because I’ve had some athletes that, great swimmers and actually good runners as well, but it’s like pulling teeth to get them to do the long ride or whatever. Yeah, you’re lucky in that regard too.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I think just, and then whatever we do seems to work.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, I’m quite lucky. I guess during that time I was like, well maybe this will be interesting to try long course at some point. I also almost immediately joined a triathlon club because I knew I enjoyed the training. I chose one that had, this is probably a little tidbit for people, but one that had a good track session, a lot of swimming session options, and a good social/still want to perform type culture.

Sarah Crowley:

I took a bit of time picking that, but we’ve got this big club here called Red Dog Triathlon Training. They’re so cool. I pretty much joined that club almost as soon as I went back to work, just because enjoy having that, I guess, routine and structure to my day, and having exercise [crosstalk 00:25:01] You always have exercise as part of your life.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I guess I just did that. It was more social for me. It was a reset.

Adam Pulford:

That’s good, yeah. 2012, what made you decide to come back?

Sarah Crowley:

Pressure. That was peer pressure, actually, from the [crosstalk 00:25:21]

Adam Pulford:

Okay, now the peer pressure come in.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

That means you were with a good group for sure.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. That was from the training squad. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Then I think at the end of ’11 I did a half at Port Macquarie. I did it ITU style in togs, I ran like 37 minutes for the first 10Ks and 55 minutes for the second 10Ks. It was like fourth and no one was the wiser that I even did the race. I realized I just needed to focus a bit more. It’s a different energy system is what I realized.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

I then buckled down. I did a local Goondiwindi Hell of the West up here and I won that race. Then six months later I won Ironman, 70.3 cans as a professional.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s a big result for you, for sure.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. It was at the time. I couldn’t believe it. Then I got a bit of an itch for it but I couldn’t devote the amount of time required. I spent four years, it was so funny, I’m going into my bosses office going, “Can I have an extra day off either side of the weekend?” Which doesn’t flow that well in corporate finance because you’re on projects.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, I can imagine.

Sarah Crowley:

“Anyway, I’m going to South Korea.” I flew into a race, I’d actually fly into a race on a Friday. I’d be on some bus driving through Korea or somewhere like this. I’d get to the race venue on Saturday afternoon, rack my bike, register, and then race the next day, and then fly back. I was there for less than 24 hours. This was happening quite a bit.

Adam Pulford:

Work/life balance Sarah, you probably didn’t have it.

Sarah Crowley:

Just burning the candle at both ends.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, I did that for quite some time because at that time as well you’re picturing big jobs, big mining industry boom, all this stuff going on. It was pretty crazy. Then it got to a point where I was just, this is towards the back end of ’15, I think I won the Australian Duathlon Championship and then I won maybe a half, but also then got really crappy results in full Ironman. I tried my first full in ’15.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

I wouldn’t say crappy, that’s not fair, but for me it wasn’t the level I could have performed at, even with the amount of time I could devote to it. Then I guess I also wasn’t focusing on it. You notice I was talking about halves, and fulls, and duathlon, I wasn’t focusing on anything in particular with my racing. I was just all over the place, and doing marathons, and all sorts of stuff.

Sarah Crowley:

I felt like I just needed some higher level guidance if I was going to try and do it properly. Otherwise it would be a lot of fourths, and wow what an interesting story this chick works full-time, but I’m like, well I can actually give this a lot more. I know that if I could actually improve my swim and give it one last go then I’ve still got this epic run and this epic ride that could lift me to another level.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. Enter Cameron Watt.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. I was going to say, because if you follow your racing it seemed like 2016 a lot of things started to change. Is that when you started working with Cameron?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. At the end of ’15 I had a meeting with him, and I said to him, “I don’t care what it takes for this swim. It’s now or never. I’m happy to just go with whatever you think and I’ll give it everything I’ve got. Just be straightforward with me, and honest, and direct, and we’ll see how far we can go.”

Sarah Crowley:

It was funny, we do often nostalgically talk about some of the things we spoke at that meeting, it’s like, am I too old, all these things. It was funny. Yeah. Well, I was still working for the first part of that year, I think for half of it.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I mean, I guess this talks to your idea of life stress, but trying to balance a sort of a Trisutto training methodology with working full-time, I think Cam did that really well at the time.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. For those listeners, before the interview we were talking about TSS Training Stress Score versus LSS or Life Stress Score. We can’t really measure LSS as much, but we know it’s there, especially when you’re burning not only the candle at both end but the candle factory like Sarah was doing this whole time.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

But Cameron helped to mitigate that, help you get focused, and completely changed your training, right?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I mean, we went through everything from my outside influences, to how does my work day look, and how can we manage it? We just went on a really straightforward training program for a few months there where I was just getting done what I could do.

Sarah Crowley:

Also, my workplace, I’d told them that I was going to leave at some point. I had a bit more, I guess, I had a firm leaving time for the day. I think I had Wednesdays work from home, so we’d managed it pretty well. Yeah. The main thing I guess from him, he’d just returned from being a director of a cycling team.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

He’d spent his time since I’d spoken to him last, which was, “You should go to this guy he’ll fix your swimming …” I mean, he was always there. It’s funny. You look back, he helped me get my pro license with Ironman. Yeah. I think just hovering over there. I saw him coach a couple of people on the side do really well that I wouldn’t have ever expected their results to be so good.

Sarah Crowley:

I was like, well this guy knows what he’s doing. I was tossing out between a few different coaches at the time but it just worked out that he wanted an on deck squad in Brisbane right near me. I’m like, well this works super well.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Then when it got down to more of the history there with Brett and some of the athletes, Chrissie Wellington, Cameron’s trained with Chrissy, he’s seen a lot of both short and long course athletes, and some of the best in the sport. Yeah. It became a pretty easy decision actually after a little bit. Then, I guess we started the swim in about April I think in ’16. Oh man, it was so bad. Because I would just see people-

Adam Pulford:

What was bad?

Sarah Crowley:

Well, I was a big kicker and I was your typical bent arms person with low rating at the front. Then we changed it to an egg beater where it’s like zero kicking and crazy arms at the front, and they were straight arms. The first time I swam I think I went from, I mean I could make a 1:30 cycle then but I went to, I didn’t even make 1:40 with paddles and gear on and everything, just with such a reengineer of my stroke.

Sarah Crowley:

But then in about a month, we raced in New Caledonia that year and I think I got third maybe, but my swim time was about the same. I was like, even though it feels terrible and I don’t feel good at it, I stuck to it. I made a blanket decision that it was a new stroke, it’s not I’m adapting my freestyle, this is a whole new stroke to me, because it was so different and we changed everything.

Adam Pulford:

It’s a new language, yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. We changed everything at once, so it was actually easier to learn it by calling it that, a new stroke, straight arms, I just called it that because in my head it was just learning something new. When the swim result from that race was not dissimilar to what it had been the previous times I raced it I was like, well we’ve not gotten worse.

Adam Pulford:

That’s true, yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Even in a month. Gosh, it took time. I guess we didn’t really see that much gain in it, and then I had a big camp with Brett actually and JJ before Kona, somehow I managed to qualify for Kona in ’16. I think I was third at Cairns, so things were improving. I started winning stuff. Yeah. I guess we did a big camp in Jeju before Kona and I got Brett and Cam on me at the same time looking at it. There I learned some new things that helped with the stroke. Then I kind of broke out I guess at Bahrain at the end of the year because we came back from Kona and did a big swing block.

Adam Pulford:

Got you. While you were learning this new patterning of the swim, how did you change or did you change at all the bike and run components during your training blocks?

Sarah Crowley:

That’s a good question. Gosh, I’m thinking back now. I don’t think-

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, it’s been a minute.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, four years ago.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Well, I feel like initially we didn’t change anything with that. We pretty much, I just did the similar swim. I mean, we didn’t swim the volume that we swim now, but then I wasn’t ready for the volume. Now we do 6, sometimes 7K swim sets. Most days it’s at least 5.5, then it was kind of like 4.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

We did all the things then that I would be doing now, probably not as compressed. I guess it matches where I was at in my development, not just swimming.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

It’s interesting you say that. I look now at other athletes that come into the squad now, I don’t at all resent it, but they learn a lot quickly compared to me because we’ve been through what we went through. People progress to different levels a lot quicker than I feel like I did.

Sarah Crowley:

That’s an interesting thing, hey. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing I don’t know, but I see people go and they’re getting to say the volumes and the technique stuff that we didn’t put into my stroke, they’re getting that real early and they’re actually improving a lot quicker than I did. Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

I don’t know. I mean, I guess at the end of the day I’m the one that’s gone and, I’ve achieved quite a lot from it, but it’s fascinating to see that. I guess that’s a testament to Cam as a coach, being able to pick what was working and then give that to others.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. I’ll say this, I mean just as a coach, I would probably rather take somebody who’s a hard worker and maybe a slow developer rather than a fast developer because oftentimes what I see with the fast developers they put the time in then they start getting results it’s like, see, I got this, I don’t need to do more necessarily.

Adam Pulford:

As opposed to say you, you get challenged and you get the feedback of, man this is really freaking hard, so you’re going to work harder but yet you’ve got a good coach to motivate you, dial you back when you need to, kick you in the butt when you need to. I think it speaks to a little bit of your longevity as well in the sport.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I think so. I mean, I came back into it because I really wanted to see where I could get to. When that itch dries up, that’s when it goes. I think yeah, you’re probably right, keeping that progression, just keep chipping away at it all the time I think will keep me there.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I mean, I’ve even, I’m jumping ahead, but just recently with Sunshine Coast on the weekend I’m in by far, I mean I got 15% gain in just getting a bit fitter and leaner. I’m not fit at all. I’ve kind of enjoyed COVID, but honestly I can see so much gain. I don’t know what we’ve done differently. The whole race went well, everything went to plan. You walk away going, “Wow. We can even make more gains still?”

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

That’s what will keep me racing, so I guess that’s probably a good observation definitely, for me.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, yeah. Well, let’s go back to the swim development. It took some time, clearly, from a strengths and weaknesses you’ve always been a strong runner.

Sarah Crowley:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Pulford:

The swim, historically, was not as strong. You guys identified that clearly in race results. Then you developed the swim and now you’re a hell of a swimmer, which is awesome, but I would say if you can think about how you and Cameron work in I would say bigger picture, what are your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete?

Adam Pulford:

How do you incorporate that into your training program now versus back then? Meaning, are you more gritty, are you more resilient, or do you gain fitness really quickly like you kind of just talked about? What are the strengths and weaknesses just as an athlete in general.

Sarah Crowley:

As an athlete, yeah. I mean, I think I recover really well. I can back to back, you’ll see that in my career with racing like Cairns, Frankfurt, Kona, Argentina, Kona, Arizona. I back up really well. I recover super well from stuff so I guess that can be a weakness as well, because then you can keep going.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, true.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. Then I often also, it’s a weakness almost day to day with training too because I have obviously this engine for running, I can push the run quite a bit in training because I know I’ll back up. Mentally I can do it too, so he has to constantly monitor me being too full gas.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

I mean, it’s not intentional. Sometimes I get in a mood and I just shut everything out and train super hard. I think Cam says I always have this amazing ability to compartmentalize stuff and just turn a bad situation into something that I can overcome. That even happens in racing. For example, crashing in ’17 Kona and then getting up and just still getting third. I do it on a daily basis. I just overcome stuff. I just don’t dwell or get drawn into poor me, that kind of thing.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

So quite I guess hard, in that regard. I guess it comes from just always wanting to work hard, it’s probably come from the swim being bad and having to always overcome stuff for the rest of the race, constantly. To me those things aren’t, they’re not difficult now because nothing’s as hard as overcoming that swim gap. Yeah. I guess that’s probably the main things.

Sarah Crowley:

I think I do overdo everything in my life, though. I’m just always on the go. I love that about it. It’s enjoyable, I get up every day I’m excited, it’s good. But yeah, I probably could peg that back a bit. That’s a weakness, is just not [crosstalk 00:41:29] relaxing.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. As I sit here and listen to you as well I think the recovery and the resiliency coincides with the running aspect and how you developed real young, right? You put the miles in early for a long time. For somebody who hadn’t don’t that, whether it’s full distance, or a hard training session, or whatever on the track, they’re not going to bounce back as quickly. If you have those miles it allows you to do that say in the training, but you’re still human too. Running, training’s still going to beat you up.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. You can take it for granted.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

It’s like, well I guess if I want to do these five things today I can do it and take it for granted, but it’s not that it’s going to impact my performance on a normal level, I think that’s where the difference is. I’m very grateful for this. It’s like a gift, is that I can do those five things and still race and for example be second at Sunny Coast. But if I want to be world class and extremely good then I can’t do those five things. I just have to focus on this one thing and do it right.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, yeah. There’s a quote out there that says like, “We often overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year.” It’s like that.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, exactly like that. Exactly like that, yeah. You’ve constantly got to be monitoring with, how is this going to impact me later down the track?

Adam Pulford:

Exactly.

Sarah Crowley:

Because I can do it and do it really well right now and everything will be fine, no one will be the wiser, but it chips away at something. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Pulford:

That’s your strength as a global athlete, what’s the weakness then? Is it that go, go, go? Or is there something else?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I think it probably is, it’s just the overthinking stuff a bit too much and getting too detailed on … I think I can get ahead of myself trying to constantly plan everything out. The times I’ve run into drama with injury and stuff it’s usually around that, where I’ve been too intense.

Sarah Crowley:

I can now see it in other athletes. It’s interesting. I’ve picked a few injuries of people when I’m like, I just feel like from the social media and their language that it reminds me of when I get in this too serious, too focused, because there’s focus but it has to be a soft focus rather than an aggressive focus.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

I can get in that mindset. I think that’s fine in the training session, but not in your language and the way you conduct yourself all the time during the time. You can pick that up in social media when people go into this zone of almost aggressive race preparation, that they’re on a little bit of a tightrope with not being relaxed enough, I think, to properly recover and stuff.

Sarah Crowley:

I can kind of get in that mindset myself, I think. Yeah. I can definitely switch on focus at training but it can’t be aggressive focus. It has to be focus on achieving the session, applying myself to the session as opposed to winning the session. Yeah, it’s a difference. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, yeah. No, it makes a lot of sense. I was just about to say, the advice for the listener, the type A young aspiring triathlete or the CEO that wants to crush all of 2021, what would you tell them if they’re just hyper focused right now and champing at the bit for racing? What would you tell them?

Sarah Crowley:

Well, I think it’s important to still just apply yourself to the session. If that means that it’s easy, it’s easy. I mean, I guess we have this conversation with people all the time but easy doesn’t mean, oh well I’m going to go just a little harder than easy so that I dominate everyone in the pool or whatever. It just means just take it easy.

Sarah Crowley:

It’s okay to smile, and be happy, and train. You can still apply yourself to training and enjoy it, and be happy, and nice, and kind. Yeah. I think going in and training like that where you’re happy, and you’re smiling, and you can water off a duck’s back, you don’t dwell on anything. You don’t care about other people’s, whatever they’re doing. You can still train really well.

Sarah Crowley:

Compared to going in and being aggressive, you can be nice around training but then you get in and you’re quite aggressive in the pool, or track, or whatever. That can get you down a bit of a spiral of overtraining and stuff. I think trying to stay relaxed is really important. It’s a hard thing to identify, I think. It’s not easy.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. I was going to say, it takes years to develop that. You’ve done that in your sport so you can speak to it now, you probably didn’t back in 2008 but I think that flow of sense and that balance that you’ve been able to reach, I think it showcased in 2017 where you started just winning. Right? I mean, ITU Long Course World Champion. Ironman European Champion. Third at Kona. I think once an athlete starts to get a taste of winning it’s like a drug. It’s like an addiction. Tell us more about what that experience was like.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I mean, my breakout was probably Cairns Ironman, Asian-Pacific Championship. That was in June.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

I was pretty quiet around the race. I knew I was in super fit form, ridiculously fit. We’d spent six months of just more training, six months out of the office completely, probably eight or nine months, maybe more by then, but a long time preparing.

Sarah Crowley:

I knew I’d dug myself into a pretty deep whole with training and racing the year before to get more experience, traveling, and Cameron was throwing everything at me that year. Traveling in a sense that we’re trying to make it through as many facets into what a professional … He wanted me to be full self-sufficient and be-

Adam Pulford:

That’s a good coach, by the way. That’s a good coach.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. Anytime, anywhere. I think at the start of the year we did Bahrain, then we raced Dubai, and it was back to the Middle East, back to Australia, down [inaudible 00:49:03] over to Goondiwindi Hell of the West. We were going everywhere. Races a week. Four times we raced one week apart that year.

Sarah Crowley:

It was all just, I guess, building my capability of dealing with anything. In my mind at that Cairns race I knew that I could cope with any scenario, but I didn’t know that I could win an Ironman Regional Championship, nor did I know I could go under nine hours.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I guess I was in front most of the day. It wasn’t really like I had to make any strategic racing decisions in that race. I didn’t know I was doing Frankfurt, either. I think we signed up that day to do Frankfurt four weeks later.

Adam Pulford:

Oh, what?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, but that one comes down to me being able to back up, I think, with training. We’d done so much work that it was all in the legs anyway. Yeah. I think then I started to get more strategic and I learned how to … I think I benefited a lot from ITU. I can see stuff happening. I think it’s a strength that I do have in racing, is that I can see the probability of different things playing out and my best chance of getting my best result in that race based off decisions at the time, make those choices real quick.

Sarah Crowley:

For example, on the weekend there was a scenario in Sunshine Coast where I was obviously off the back and there was a pack ahead of me. I’d rode really hard for the first lap. One girl came from behind, she’d ridden up on me, I guess. I just was catching Ashleigh Gentle.

Sarah Crowley:

I saw Ash, I eased up, took a rest, saw this girl coming, passed Ash because we were going through some hilly section and I knew that Els would be coming by. Then through the hills we dropped Ash and I knew that was my only chance to get rid of Ashleigh Gentle, was at that point. I guess that strategy thinking comes from ITU, and work.

Adam Pulford:

100%.

Sarah Crowley:

And everything else, but being quite aware, I think you get that awareness because you just want to win. You believe you can win and so you’re more engaged in the event as opposed to time trialing. For example, had I missed that moment I would have been running with Ashleigh Gentle and at the moment, with my current level of fitness, I don’t know if that’s something that I could have dealt with. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

I think I learned that, and it’s hard to explain what that is.

Adam Pulford:

Well, I say let’s talk about it because I think it’s a huge thing in an athlete’s development and it is a hard thing to define or even talk about because as you were describing it I was just about to say a coach can’t give that to an athlete. A coach can develop an athlete physiologically, even psychologically, to get them in the right situation, but the athlete then hopefully has developed some awareness as well of the race in order to actually then flow in the competition, right?

Sarah Crowley:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Pulford:

That’s where it starts to get super fun because say it was 2008, you don’t have a swim and you’re in a highly competitive field, well you’re probably so worried about bridging the gap the entire time, like you said time trialing, that your strength really couldn’t be a strength at that point. Right?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

You didn’t have the awareness.

Sarah Crowley:

Exactly. You can’t, the whole time is a negative thought process too of, oh gosh I’ve got to catch up, I’ve got to catch up. It’s nothing to do with the race going around you.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, so you shore up the weakness to where it’s at least not a weakness, maybe not a strength, but now you’re in the game to play the game.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Then you make the reads based on pacing, or put the nail in the coffin, or whatever the case is, to actually win. For me, when I see an athlete there with that awareness, playing the game, that’s fun. That’s really fun.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I mean, and that’s what happened in the ITU Worlds. I was actually licking my lips in that because I’d pretty much [inaudible 00:53:42] I’m like, what do you mean I don’t need to ride on the front? We’re at the front of the race and then I just have to run really fast? Is that all I have to do today?

Sarah Crowley:

That’s where you ultimately need to get to. Some people never get that. They can be trained, and they’re smart people, but they don’t think, and you have to think. Some races if you’re capable will fall into your hands, like Cairns I would say. I was just fitter and stronger, but there’s definitely been some races and some scenarios, lots of them, where it’s been if I hadn’t of made certain choices then there’s no way I would have won that race. Those smarts are developed off of years and years of experience.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, that’s it.

Sarah Crowley:

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this with anyone, it’s a good topic. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Well, I’m glad we’re talking about it here.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Well, that mentality, I think it’s been said that winning is a habit. Like I said, you taste it, you want more of it and you want to do it differently. I think that’s what we saw kind of 2019 out of you was you started to race in different ways and success continued even into the tail end of ’19. If we can talk about 2020, it’s kind of been a hot mess for the world.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

How have you adapted? You’ve got this huge streak going, COVID-19 happens. Tell us about Sarah.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. Well, it’s funny because after Hawaii Cam and I sat and chatted about how with the PTO and everything happening we need to be flexible for ’20. I was like, “Oh, okay. Cool.” I remember down in the pool in the condos that I stayed in Hawaii, the next day after the race I’m swimming like a 4K set.

Sarah Crowley:

I’m like, “Cam we’re racing again in three weeks. I have to say yes to Noosa today, we’re doing it.” He’s like, “Okay.” I did the Noosa tri. Then after that I had to make the choice on Arizona. I’m like, “We’re doing it, we’re going to Arizona.” I’m fine, everything’s fine. I knew I’d be pushing adrenal fatigue by then, but we’re fine.

Adam Pulford:

You back up well though, so we’re good.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. Except after that race I was like the Michelin Man, I’m like okay the year is definitely over. I’m going to get sick if I do one more training session.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

I did Arizona with the intention of opening up 2020 to doing whatever I needed to do. For me it actually panned out in a really good way. I’ve qualified for Hawaii. When all this COVID drops, for me I’m like, well I’m pretty flexible right now. I’ve qualified for everything already.

Adam Pulford:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sarah Crowley:

I’ve had four full gas years of training. I just needed that time, like I’ve said in the past, where I’ve gone back to work for a bit or I’ve done something different. Yeah. I guess this year I’ve built a little business of my own with a friend of mine. We’re doing sort of media and marketing stuff. We’ve built that up. I’ve just tried to [crosstalk 00:57:11]

Adam Pulford:

Is that the YouTube channel?

Sarah Crowley:

Oh, I don’t have a YouTube. Well, I don’t use it that much. It’s mostly on my Instagram and TV. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Okay, okay.

Sarah Crowley:

We’re going to try and support other athletes with brand marketing and stuff.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, yeah. Okay.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, it’s been fun. Yeah. Dale and I have been doing that. I guess I just stepped away my mindset from that, every day being about getting better or whatever to just chilling and enjoying training. One thing I did notice for me though, I’m completely just almost humoring the training squad with my training and being at a level and just training at that level all year.

Sarah Crowley:

Then something clicked, these races were committed and then it’s like, boom, I’m back into this more focused training mindset. I’m very pleased with myself that I was actually able to do that. It probably looked like I was just swanning around for four or five months, but I actually kind of was. It was an intention. I think Cam got annoyed, but for me I can’t be the focused person when there was no need for it, in my mind.

Sarah Crowley:

I know I probably gave up some gains or something during that time, but for me psychologically I’ve had a rest. Then we go to Sunny Coast on the weekend and I had an absolute ball and I realized why I love triathlon. For everyone out there that hasn’t had the chance to race, if you’ve been able to just chill back on training and then once a race is committed focus on it, and then you get to race, it’s the most unbelievable feeling.

Sarah Crowley:

You realize you’re racing for you, and that you love it because in Queensland with COVID safe rules on the weekend there was no finish line celebration or anything. It was kind of strange, but the self-gratification and achievement of actually just completing a race, and the mindset of all the other athletes as well. I mean, this will obviously change as things turn to normal but everyone was just more focused on themselves.

Sarah Crowley:

I just got beaten by Amelia, she had a great race. I didn’t get angry at myself, or her, or any other athlete for the performance. Because sometimes you can get caught up in, oh that athlete did this and that, and it wasn’t like that at all. I was like, everyone’s been through a really rough year, and everyone was just having a great time racing, and the result was the result.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I think for me that time spent just not really caring too much about it, but still training for the first half of the year, is going to pay dividends by the end of perhaps next year, or even the year after, or even another year after that, that maybe I wouldn’t have raced. I don’t know how long, it’s a pretty intense sport, right? Your body only has a certain amount of [crosstalk 01:00:19]

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, for sure.

Sarah Crowley:

I feel like it’s extended my career. I kind of went into it with that mindset, but then I was in a unique position of four years of epic training and having that, oh we do actually need to step back a bit or you won’t last much longer. I think for me I just really embraced that chance to just … Also I went places. I guess we went up to Noosa so I could swim still, because the pool [inaudible 01:00:54]. I got to enjoy training up at Noosa for a couple of months, and things like that. I think for me it was-

Adam Pulford:

That’s not bad.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, it was good. Then just that intensity started to build as I came back to Brisbane, we squad started, and then I layered in the focus. I’m excited by the amount of gains that I can make now, in the next six months or so, I think.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. I think you’re yet to see what the past four or five months of just really unplugging is going to do for your career, for sure. I mean, just from the sounds of it because when you’re at the level that you are or you’ve pushed your body to Michelin Man status, that’s a really big overreach, overtrain, whatever you want to call it.

Adam Pulford:

I’m not advocating that listeners do this, but when you see athletes that can push to that level as a coach you want to dial that back, seize the opportunity of rest and recovery or whatever because that super compensation time period that can last a long time, or even the psychological adaptation that can occur with a nice big break is huge. It’s huge, so I’m excited to see what’s going to happen with you and your racing.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I was shocked. Honestly, I don’t think I’d done a run over 20 something kilometers. Then on the weekend I was just in so much control. You could feel all the Ks. I’m like, this is four or five years of kilometers in these legs right now. I’m not taking it for granted because we’re training. We’re not not training, but it was like, wow all that hard work, and it’s in such a relaxed way. I was so relaxed. Yeah. It’s good. Yeah. I’m looking forward to things. I mean, hopefully everything keeps going back to normal slowly.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Fingers crossed, knock on wood. Excuse me. I think they will, but in the meantime if we can’t go to Queensland and do some socially distance races and whatnot, I know that there is the DIY Tri going on. One of your sponsors is putting that on. Can you tell us more about what that may be?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. Canyon’s pulling together a little training block that you can get engaged with. They’ll be some online tutorial type stuff as well, and some training and things leading into what I believe to be a little event on the same day that Kona will have been on.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, that’s right.

Sarah Crowley:

I think it’s kind of cool. I mean, if you don’t have an event it gets you back on a normal schedule with racing. Maybe it’s time to start dusting things off. I know a lot of people have still been training, but it’s hard to say, I think people probably went pretty hard early on the indoor trainer stuff. Maybe they’re losing a bit of mojo now. It’s probably a good idea, it’s another opportunity to start building into something that may tie, then, into the recommencement of a normal training schedule and season.

Sarah Crowley:

Hopefully we can look at Hawaii for next year at the same time so it could go off with have a little race, then have a little rest, then start training back in for next year. It’s just another opportunity to get involved. I think Canyon’s got some giveaways maybe, I’m not sure Adam, maybe what you’ve heard in that regard. That’s something people should [crosstalk 01:04:35] maybe-

Adam Pulford:

Well, yeah. We might have a special guest appearing at the tail end of this episode, i.e. JB, to tell us more. I wanted to at least mention in, and we’ll get perhaps more details later.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

We’re coming up to the top of the hour. Sarah, first of all just thank you for spending so much time chatting with us and helping us learn more about you and how to train better. I have a few questions for you.

Sarah Crowley:

Okay.

Adam Pulford:

Little takeaways for our listeners that they could just apply right away to their training.

Sarah Crowley:

Okay.

Adam Pulford:

Then we’ll wrap up and carry on with our day. First question is, and we touched on this a little bit already, but for our listeners missing competition right now but it’s just not there, what can you tell them to stay focused even though they can’t scratch that itch?

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. I think my main philosophy this year has been, I guess it may not keep you focused, but it is to actually just enjoy the training for what it is. Don’t stress. Do little things that you wouldn’t normally have the chance to do, and allow yourself to do them. I’ve been on little trips in Queensland, little drives, and we’ve done training in a different place, Stradbroke Island, Hervey Bay, whatnot, Noosa.

Sarah Crowley:

Normally that stuff is off the cards because you just don’t even have time for the travel, the whatever, life. I think, give yourself the chance to enjoy what you love because so many times in my life I’ve thought, triathlon’s an amazing thing to do, but you’re actually not enjoying it in the moment a lot of the time.

Sarah Crowley:

You think, oh I did this race, I could have done this touristy thing, or I could have done this, but I didn’t because I did a triathlon. Theoretically it looks glamorous that you could do all these cool things to do with the sport, and I think it’s the time now to actually enjoy that.

Sarah Crowley:

A race will come up, and just make sure your training’s kind of at the level where press the button, 12 weeks and you can compete. Don’t get to hooked up on needing to be world class, your best lifetime fitness for that first race because there’s still a long road between what’s coming up in the next few months and where we need to be in the later part of next year when the World Championship events start kicking off. Yeah. I think that’s my advice. That’s how I’ve approached it anyway.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. That’s a really good answer. All right. Question two, if someone wants to improve their swim leg like you have but they have no clue where to start, what would you tell them?

Sarah Crowley:

Well, I think I was lucky that I sought a coach out. Okay, so sorry to their current coaches out there, but if it’s something that means a lot to you or you’ve first of all exhausted getting fitter at swimming, so a lot of the time people don’t swim enough in tri. Exhaust that option first, just get in the pool more and make it easier for yourself, and enjoy swimming, so pool boy paddles or whatever. I’m not a coach, but the more freestyle you can do, the more swimming you do, so the better you get, and the fitter at swimming you’ll get.

Sarah Crowley:

If you’ve exhausted that and then you don’t know what to do next you need to make a conscious decision to seek out someone that has a history of improving swimming. That’s often the hardest thing, is that you actually probably do need to have it looked at. Then be very open minded with the changes if you trust that person.

Sarah Crowley:

You will probably go backwards, and I definitely did, but in the long run it’s paid off. It’s not an easy thing to fix swimming. It’s easy for me to sit here having done it to say, “Just do this,” but it’s not an actual easy thing. For me, one of Cameron’s strengths as a coach is to not apply a cookie cutter swimming approach. We’re not all Michael Phelps. Everyone’s got a different body shape, different flexibility, different range of motion, and so different technique things have to be applied to the individual.

Sarah Crowley:

If you can at least find someone that perhaps thinks like that, where they’re going to give you something that’s specific to you and how you move in the water, and that will make you better, then maybe look for someone like this. Yeah, it’s a big call. Like I said, it’s easy for me to sit here having improved my swim and made probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life, but I didn’t have hindsight at that point, so yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Well, two steps back for six steps forward basically, for you.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, yeah.

Adam Pulford:

All right. Third question, what is the number one thing you love about your sport?

Sarah Crowley:

Oh, the people I think. I love it how-

Adam Pulford:

That’s a good answer.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. It’s cool. People are more than helpful and there’s a tight core community of people that’ll do anything for you. I really noticed that this year with no racing and stuff. I’ve spent this year kind of reconnecting as much as possible with as many people as possible. People don’t hold grudges in the sport at all.

Sarah Crowley:

Everyone’s just always happy. I think it’s just a mindset because you do so much training and it’s so hard that I think people can’t afford to spend the time hating on people for life. It’s amazing because there’s some pretty funny stories in triathlon, right?

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, for sure.

Sarah Crowley:

I guess it’s the same in any sport but no one’s held grudges over people. I think the people in the sport make it. From people like your Bob Babbitts and Mike Reillys and that, that have all the history and the nostalgia of tri to some of your high level coaches, just the people like Belinda Granger and all that, that plug it all together. That’s what makes the sport really cool for me as a professional, because I have just a great time around every event. The people make that, I think. I just love that about it, yeah.

Adam Pulford:

That is cool. Well, I’d be compelled if I didn’t ask a curiosity question, so call it question four, where do we see Sarah Crowley in five years?

Sarah Crowley:

I don’t know. I’m focused at the moment on getting back to my level of fitness so that I can race Ironman Cairns in less than two weeks.

Adam Pulford:

That’s probably the best answer during a pandemic and everything else that we have going on.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah, because on the [crosstalk 01:12:20]

Adam Pulford:

But I figured I’d throw it out there with this newfound vision after the COVID break and all this kind of stuff [crosstalk 01:12:26]

Sarah Crowley:

Well, tomorrow they’ll confirm if it’s still going ahead so, we’re talking weeks here.

Adam Pulford:

That’s true.

Sarah Crowley:

But I’ll be heading over to America actually after it. I’ve got a travel exemption to be able to compete at the Challenge Daytona, which I’m very excited about. Evidently that-

Adam Pulford:

That’s cool.

Sarah Crowley:

That’s super cool. I think the main thing for the meantime in the short term is it’s great to see the [inaudible 01:12:53] supporting a lot of little races around the world to keep us in a job. Yeah, like I said, I’ve pivoted a little bit to do some marketing around brands. How I see it is, as long as there’s people in the world that want to exercise, there’s going to be products that people need to use, like bikes for example. Then from that I can, with this little business I’m going to get going, we can market that stuff. There’s always a need for that, so in the long run, that’s the long play, but that [inaudible 01:13:29] definitely second fiddle to the racing in the foreseeable future, anyway.

Adam Pulford:

Cool. Very cool. Well, for our listeners who think that you’re very cool and they want to follow you on social media, where can they find you?

Sarah Crowley:

Oh, on the grammy gram mostly.

Adam Pulford:

The grammy gram.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah. It’s pretty flash. I’ve got a pretty flash Instagram these days. [crosstalk 01:13:58]

Adam Pulford:

Cool. Well, we’ll put that in our show notes for sure, as well as your website, and the YouTube links, and all that fun stuff. Meanwhile, Google Sarah, you can probably find her if you’re looking for her. Gosh. This was a really good conversation, Sarah. Thank you again for joining us on the TrainRight podcast.

Sarah Crowley:

Pleasure. Always happy to have a chat with peeps and to get the message out to everyone to just chill. Going long by the way, this is my legacy, is not always better. That’s totally my thing, is if you just want to do tri and enjoy it because you work and a little tri is fun for you, don’t let people make you think that you have to basically divorce your family and not see them for months to train for an Ironman that you don’t know that you even want to do and you spent all this money.

Sarah Crowley:

I do like Ironman, don’t get me wrong, but then I enjoy it, and not everybody does. I just think that, make sure that you’re true to what you actually want to do in the sport. That’s my legacy.

Adam Pulford:

That’s super good advice. Yeah. Just start. Just start going, just try it.

Sarah Crowley:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Sarah Crowley:

Exactly.

Adam Pulford:

Cool. Well, thank you Sarah.

Sarah Crowley:

Pleasure.

Adam Pulford:

All right. I just got done talking with Sarah Crowley, and she said to talk to you, Jeremiah, about this DIY Tri going on. Can you tell our listeners more about the details of that?

Jeremiah Bishop:

Well, the DIY Tri is a super exciting end of year promotion from Canyon to encourage people to get out there, get back in shape, race, and they have chances to win prizes. It’s really just born out of the need for getting people active, getting people to dust their bikes off, get in shape, and go do a tri of any distance on their own October 24th.

Jeremiah Bishop:

There are a bunch of great partners onboard. You’ll see a big push pretty much here in the third week of September to get people to sign up. The real kickoff of the campaign is on September 24th, but it’ll be ongoing throughout the end of September and deep into October.

Jeremiah Bishop:

We’re pretty excited because we’re going to revive the Canyon 360 Labs on YouTube along with Dan Empfield and have a bunch of distinguished guests including Sarah Crowley. Yeah. It’s just a really neat opportunity to get people motivated to get back out there and stay in shape.

Adam Pulford:

Very cool. This is a virtual challenge or challenge in place sort of thing. People train for it and then they do a what on the 24th?

Jeremiah Bishop:

Whatever they want. That’s the thing, is this is just about committing to do triathlon, or in my case try triathlon. That’s kind of the fun thing about this, I’ve never done one before. I mean, it’s almost unbelievable I’ve spent an entire career doing endurance athletics, and I’ve gotten the invite, but this is a good reason to do it, and jump in, and be involved.

Jeremiah Bishop:

The idea is any distance triathlon, use the hashtag DIYTri on social media for chances to win awesome prizes. Yeah. It’s just about stoking your friends up to get out there, and do something, and stay in shape. A lot of us have good summer fitness from all the training we’ve been doing but few chances to really test ourselves. I think the idea here is most people will do Olympic distance or 70.3 distance. I doubt there’ll be a whole lot of people that are doing Ironman distance but there might be a few.

Adam Pulford:

There might be a few, there might be.

Jeremiah Bishop:

I think there’ll definitely be a few and I can’t wait to see it, but the idea is a tri from home. I kind of don’t like, not don’t like the term virtual, but I think the term virtual is misleading. It’s definitely not a Zwift in your basement type thing. When I think of virtual that’s a little more of that framework, but yeah. I’m going to do [crosstalk 01:18:31]

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, well DIY Tri meaning do it yourself tri anywhere.

Jeremiah Bishop:

Do it yourself, at home. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, that’s perfect. Yeah. Cool.

Jeremiah Bishop:

Yeah, totally. I think in my case I’m looking to do a point to point. I haven’t picked the course yet but it’s going to be really fun. I mean, that’s going to be half the fun of this thing.

Adam Pulford:

Well knowing you, Jeremiah, it’s probably going to be a touch on the epic side, I’m guessing. At least the bike leg.

Jeremiah Bishop:

That’s my style. I have to do something interesting, and just challenge myself, and have fun with it. I think the neat thing is if it’s a do it yourself tri you might as well open your mind a little bit to some things you might do differently.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. No, absolutely. Probably a lot of our listeners listening to this are like, oh I never thought about that, do your own triathlon. If they are curious and they want to prepare for this, whether it’s their first triathlon or if they just have some general fitness I know you reached out to me and said, “Hey, let’s build some training programs.” I built those, where can they find those training programs?

Jeremiah Bishop:

Well, those training programs can be found if you search DIYTri on TrainingPeaks. Also you can search under author, Adam Pulford, and those’ll pull right up. Yeah. It’s a pretty neat opportunity for folks to get a really nice tune up block, I think just a few good weeks of training will feel good.

Jeremiah Bishop:

Sometimes it’s about having a carrot to chase, and anytime when I have a event on the horizon, or something to train for, or something I told my friends to do especially, it’s like putting a heat underneath the burner so I think it’s going to be really fun. I’ve already done a couple swims so I’m just giddy, just trying to find out what’s going to happen. It’s going to be worth tuning into, I guarantee that.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Well, okay. Tuning into, if our listeners want to tune in to what is going on with you and Canyon on the socials, where can they find you guys?

Jeremiah Bishop:

Well, you can definitely check us out on Canyon NA’s Instagram account and they’ll be some information as well on Facebook. Then the sign up you’ll see as links off of the social links, but it’s the kind of thing that we will have multiple different prongs to it for some really good content on the video side, I’m going to be hosting the 360 Lab, sort of tri Ted Talks, with Dan Empfield who is the architect behind Slowtwitch, the online magazine so to speak.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Jeremiah Bishop:

Yeah. The guy’s quite a triathlon legend.

Adam Pulford:

I was going to say, tr legend. Yeah, for sure.

Jeremiah Bishop:

Yeah. It’s going to be super cool. We’ll have a bunch of guests on there. That’s going to be on YouTube Live every Friday starting on September 25th. Yeah, actually October 2nd.

Adam Pulford:

October 2nd, yeah.

Jeremiah Bishop:

Our first episode is on October 2nd and we’ve got a great lineup, cast of characters so to speak, so it’s going to be really neat and honestly a great chance for me to learn and ask a bunch of dumb questions. Of course we’ll have Dan on there asking a bunch of expert questions. I’m really glad that he’ll be backing me up with some great history. Lab one will be intro to DIY Tri, a cautionary tale from vegan cyclists. We’ll also have Tri Taren who is a really famous YouTuber. Tri Taren has got a ton of followers and does some great content. Also we’ll have yourself on there if we’re lucky enough.

Adam Pulford:

Thank you.

Jeremiah Bishop:

Scott deFilippis and Carrie Lester will be on for lab number two on October 9th. October 16th we’ve confirmed Lionel Sanders, so really cool. We’re going to talk about Lionel’s hobbies like model trains, or whether he does parkour in his off season. I don’t know, but should be cool. Sarah Crowley we’re going to have on October 23rd. Then we’re going to have an awards and recap on October 30th with some video highlights, and social media highlights, and things like that. It should be really fun. Looking forward to it.

Adam Pulford:

Awesome man. Well, we’ll be sure to put those links and resources in our show notes as well. For listeners who want to win some stuff, get challenged, and do your own tri, go to those show notes. Check out what Jeremiah is cooking over there. That’s, yet again, another cool thing that we’re cueing up for everybody on the TrainRight podcast as we head into the wintertime of this pandemic. Got to keep you guys going. Jeremiah, thank you so much for cueing us in on what you guys are doing over there. Super appreciate you guys. We’ll be in touch.

Jeremiah Bishop:

Right on. Thanks, Adam.


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