Olympic and IRONMAN Champion coach on the importance of staying present in races

Olav Aleksander Bu on the importance of staying present during races in triathlon.

Staff Reporter
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Having established himself as one of the best scientific minds in the sport of triathlon, Olav Aleksander Bu has been applying his principles to great success with his athletes Gustav Iden and Kristian Blummenfelt.

In his new podcast ‘The Norwegian Method Podcast‘ with David Lipman, Bu tackles the topic of racing and gives some sage advice for amateurs and professionals alike when it comes to chasing their peak performance.

The Santara Tech Co-Founder, breaking down the importance of taking a mindful approach to racing, explains how athletes can improve by focusing on the smaller details during races in order to improve.


“There is a sweet spot to it”

When discussing racing and utilising it to improve your fitness, Bu says there is a distinction to be made between racing to win and racing for fitness, with the lessons learnt from one contributing to your future success in the other.

Olav Bu Kristian Blummenfelt wide angle
(Photo credit: Olav Aleksander Bu)

“If racing makes you faster, then obviously it’s smart to do a little bit more racing. But there is a sweet spot to it and it also has to do with your expectation going into the races. Are you planning to bring your A game or are you happy to just use it as a really good training session?

“It’s important to set some expectations and of course it’s easy to go into the race and still want to win it, but I think it’s a little bit of a problem if you go into the race and want to do that.

“You are then not necessarily going into the race with the right mindset, because there is so much learning to be taken away from racing if you are more present or mindful about your racing and not focused on just the win.

Understanding how you can improve

Bu says that in a race where you are aiming to improve your fitness, being mindful is key to learning how best to improve in the races that matter, with knowing how to simplify these lessons in order to apply them to your training another important point.

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

“It’s about looking at where do I gain time and where do I lose time, why do I gain time and why do I lose time and then understanding that from a simple perspective.

“If you overcomplicate things then it’s very hard to bridge it back to your training and find a way to integrate and implement it in your plan. So when you are looking at where you are gaining, where you’re losing, you can begin to understand the cause and how you can improve. 

“When you’re mindful and you understand when this is occurring, then it’s much easier to target this in your training and improve it so that when you go into the next race you will actually find more gains there than you would in other places.”


Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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