Our last Zinc Out Loud! Interview of 2018 is with one of our favorite triathletes, Linsey Corbin!
Linsey’s just wrapped up her much deserved off-season after winning Ironman Wisconsin and taking a top 10 finish at the World Championships in Kona. Linsey talks about winter training in our shared hometown of Bend, OR and gives her favorite early season strength workouts and tips.
Z: First, congratulations on an amazing top 10 finish in Kona! It turned out to be quite the race this year. Were you happy with your performance and overall race?
LC: I’m super pumped! I haven’t been in the top 10 in Kona for a few years and it was nice to be welcomed back.
More than anything, I had a great experience from the pre-race build up and the race was really enjoyable for me this year. The last couple of years it hasn’t been and I’ve left Kona asking why do I put myself through this? Or, do I want to come back? Then you have a day like that and it makes it all worth it and motivates you for the next year.
This year was different for me because I raced Ironman Wisconsin and 6 weeks later raced Kona.
Photo cred @corbinbrands
Z: You looked like you were having a lot of fun out on the course with lots of smiles on the run, was it a happy smile or….?
Photo cred @ironwomen_podcast
LC: Ha! I was having fun at the lead up to the race, but that race is so hard and it’s not a race you’re having fun during the race. It was one of my better executed races of the year. I was moving well for the last hour of the race which was good, but it didn’t feel good at the same time.
So my smile must have been my poker face!
Z: The conditions for the race were unusually good this year. How did that play into your race?
LC: I’ve raced Kona 12 years now as a professional. On the bike there was cloud cover and it actually was cool for Hawaii, it wasn’t really hot. But at that point you’re not convinced yet that the day is going to be wildcard. Then going up to Hawi, the turnaround point it was the calmest I’ve ever seen it. At that point I knew we were in trouble and in for a fast day. The marathon was a lot harder than I expected considering the conditions on the bike.
Those days don’t come along often and you just have to embrace that next year may be hell on earth.
Photo cred @corbinbrands
Z: Since we didn’t make it out to Kona this year, we gotta know if you defended your title of Queen of the Kona on the after party dance floor?
LC: Haha! Once I crossed the finish line and having the Wisconsin win and 2019 Kona slot in my pocket, I knew my season was over. I went straight to the hotel bar and drank several beers in the hotel pool in my race kit!
Z: Was it weird to be racing one Kona knowing that already qualified for the next one?
LC: If anything it relieved some pressure. The whole approach to Kona this year was different. I had never raced 2 Ironmans so close together so I didn’t know what to expect during the race. I wondered if I was going to feel fatigued from Wisconsin and luckily I didn’t.
Additionally, they changed the whole qualification system for professionals for 2019. It’s now changed from a points system to slots, so we now have a set amount of slots at each race, just like age groupers. Getting a slot was part of the strategy for racing Wisconsin where I thought it would be a bonus if I qualified. Overall, I felt no pressure in Kona and focused on my performance.
Photo cred @talbotcox
Z: How do you feel overall about the change back to the old qualification system? Do you think athletes generally look on it as a good thing?
LC: Yeah, it’s interesting because I’ve experienced both systems. I view it as these are the cards we’re dealt as pros and we don’t have a huge impact on what the WTC (World Triathlon Corporation) decides.
The point system needed some improvements, and now that we’re in the slot system, I think it can use some improvements also.
Obviously, I’m qualified and think the slot system worked great, ha! But I do see some of my competitors struggling and scrambling to qualify.
I always say, ‘You get what you get and don’t throw a fit!’
Z: So let’s talk off-season. How has the off-season been this year? And actually we had a fan write in - @chimeycorbin asked: Are you going to allow yourself a little longer off-season for more runs with your cute dog?
LC: Ha! That’s awesome! My off-season is over now, it was about a 7 week off-season which I usually only take 4 weeks! I took a nice break and did what I wanted. I stayed active, but did some traveling and catching up with friends and family.
I’m now back in the gym lifting weights and doing some base training. So from now through December it’ll be all about balance. We’ll be going to holiday parties, but getting the work done as well.
Z: Do you have to consciously force yourself not train?
LC: My personality is an “all or nothing” personality. Chris says I don’t have a brake pedal in my floor board. So that means off-season is eating dessert for breakfast, sleeping in, playing with the dog, shopping, friends and family. But once I’m back at it, it’s back to going to bed at 8:30.
One thing I’m working on as an athlete is finding more of that balance. But I don’t kick and scream that I need a break. If anything, I enjoy it and I just need to get pushed out the door to get going again.
Z: As you’re getting back into the swing of things, what does your training look like? And does living in a winter climate like Bend affect your training?
LC: I like the change of seasons. I like that we aren’t 70 degrees and sunny year around because it forces you to take an off-season.
I do a lot of strength work and lifting in the gym and I try to get outside as much as I can. But if it’s below 32 degrees that’s kinda my cutoff! I can run when it’s below 32 but I am for sure not biking.
I usually look for the hilly runs around Bend and focus on strength-based running. A lot of mountain biking, riding gravel and climbing at low cadence.
I am also a big fan of the trainer when I’d rather be warm inside. I use Zwift which makes riding indoors so much better. I also do low cadence and some interval workouts to break the trainer up.
So, all about strength work to build a good foundation for next year.
Oh yea, and swimming! I forgot swimming, the sport I need to work on the most! Ha!
Z: What are your favorite strength training tips and workouts?
LC: I will strength train the entire year, except off-season. It just depends on the time of the year and what phase you’re in.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been doing super light weights and getting my body used to the moving again. Now a few weeks in, I’m doing a lot of heavy weights with low reps.
March through Fall it’s more about maintenance and plyometrics, so lighter weights more reps. You don’t want it to affect your other workouts. Strength training been great for me to stay healthy, injury-free and helping my body hold up form late in the marathon. I also do 1 or 2 days of rehab with core stability and movements with swimming, biking and running motions but using your own body weight. My strength plan is prescribed by Jay DiCharry here in Bend who’s been doing my program since 2013.
Linsey’s Strength Training Tips:
Tip #1 - Be efficient: I try to be really efficient when I’m in the gym. When I go to lift I call it the dirty thirty. I think you only need 30 minutes max to lift.
I rotate a leg and upper body move so while my legs are resting I’m working on upper body movement and when my legs are rested I’m back to the leg movement.
Tip #2 - Focus on big muscles: I focus a lot on movements that use a lot of muscles at once. Lower body work I do a lot of walking lunges, squats and deadlifts and that’s it, instead of calf raises or hamstring specific moves.
My philosophy is to do workouts that give the biggest bang for your buck. Like overhead pull ups and bench press which are moves that use your back and upper body instead of just bicep curls.
Tip #3 - Lastly, get a proper recovery drink to take once you’re done. Getting in protein to take care of the muscles you’ve broken down is really important.
But I’m not that person shaking up my drink right there on the floor... on my car ride home I usually drink 20-30 grams of protein 5-10 minutes after my session.
Z: What is your go-to recovery drink?
I use the Clif Bar Recovery drink. If I’m in a pinch and don’t have my Clif drink I’ll use chocolate milk.
Z: Do you listen to music or podcast when you’re training?
A few podcasts I listen to:
Tim Ferriss usually has some interesting interviews
Bob Babbitt’s Babbittville
Z: What does 2019 look like for you?
LC: So far I’m all over the map, literally, and taking any and all suggestions. I’m super motivated after having a good end of the year and left fired up thinking of what’s possible. Which is my 2019 mantra ‘What’s possible’.
I don’t have a definite schedule yet. I would love to race earlier in the year because generally I put in a lot of work over the winter. Maybe I’ll go back to South Africa or Australia? I would like to do something similar as I did this year and race an Ironman late in the season in August or September and then I have Kona.
I’m in a great place with no pressure and all about building momentum for the end of the year in Hawaii.
Z: And we’d love to know, what is your favorite Zealios product and why?
LC: My favorite product is the OG Sun Barrier because it’s the most important! To be honest when I was in my 20s and first started racing triathlons I didn’t wear sunscreen. Now that I’m a veteran triathlete I care more about what’s going to happen to me in the next 10 years and taking care of my skin.
I wear contacts and I can’t have sunscreen running into and stinging my eyes. It’s easy to put on, feels good and works. And I don’t have my Hawaiian Kona race numbers permanently on my arms for the entire winter anymore!
Linsey with her Sun Barrier 32oz pump at the Kona World Championships in 2017
Z: Thanks for sitting down with us. We’re stoked to see what 2019 brings and your road to another World Championship!