How insane Lionel Sanders workouts wowed UFC star Felder

‘I couldn’t believe the numbers’ – the awe is clear in the voice of former UFC star Paul Felder.

We told you earlier this week about the triathlon journey ‘The Irish Dragon’ is travelling, and it started because of one Lionel Sanders.

The power of Sanders’ YouTube channel – the power to engage people and promote the sport – is never more emphasised than in the story of Paul Felder.

He had taken up running during the pandemic to stay in shape, but it was finding Sanders on YouTube which really proved the game changer. And one workout in particular.

Sanders and crazy numbers

Speaking in a new documentary series by the PTO (to watch the full doc, hit the embed right below here), he said: “For sure the thing that really got me noticing the sport was stumbling upon my man Lionel Sanders, Mr ‘No Limits’ himself. Because the workouts this guy was doing is what fascinated me.

YouTube video

“I couldn’t believe the numbers – and at the time I didn’t really know much about these numbers. But I’m like ‘you’re running what pace, in what degrees?’

“The Arizona run, where he does like a threshold or a tempo run and it’s like 110 degrees. And I remember the cameraman says ‘what are about to do?’ and he says ‘something stupid’.

“He’s got his shades on, got his headphones – I even went and found those headphones that he’s wearing – and he just absolutely murders this workout out in the desert of Arizona on this black top road on this trail. And I was like ‘that’s cool’.

“Then I started getting into the sport and I learn that there’s sprint distance, Olympic distance, half distance. So Lionel’s how I found it, and YouTube really.”

Felder, who started his 2022 season at IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside after spending the week preparing with Sanders, will now taking on the races on the new PTO Tour in 2022 – starting with that Pro Am in Los Angeles this weekend.

Felder has tri goals

The PTO will continue to tell the evolving story, and Felder has high goals for what he wants to achieve. Even if he knows time may be against him.

“I would like to be placing in the top of these races, other than the professionals. I know that I won’t be able to compete with the best pros in the world, just because time isn’t on my side.

“But I believe that I can place in the top 10 of everyone in the race. I’m still pretty far still – obviously I don’t have a head start on this. That’s what bothers me, that’s what irks me now.

“I’m glad I was a fighter, that’s something I can always tip my cap on. But I wonder if I got into this in my 20s, I wonder how good I could have gotten.”

At its core though, Felder is already a triathlete – it’s clear when he talks with such passion about WHY he loves this sport.

“I enjoy this process, it hurts so good and I like that. I feel that all the people that end up flocking to this sport – we all have that.

“I can look around a room, you could be 65, you could be 50, you could be 22, and you could be the next kid in the room. But we all know that what drives us is feeling that most people would have quit, and you didn’t.”

Jonathan Turner
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Jonathan is Editorial Director for TRI247 and RUN247. He was previously Head of Digital / Comms for pro cycling's Team Sky and now spends as much time as he can running with his local club. Swimming is not yet on the radar.