BT Members Interview Tim DeBoom, Pro Triathlete

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Tim DeBoom is a 2 time World Ironman Champion. In the following interview he answers several of our members questions.


[WaterDog66] With four podium finishes in Hawaii, three podium finishes in Arizona, and your first place finish at Wildflower, you seem to thrive in hot climate races. What do you do (if anything) to prepare and/or acclimate to warm weather racing conditions for long course events?


[ Tim DeBoom ]  Part of racing well in the heat must be a genetic thing - I don't sweat tons of salt!  I'm pretty efficient in the heat.  For that fact, I only feel the heat when I'm not training well.  The fitter I am, the less it's a factor.  I don't specifically prepare for the heat, but I'm lucky Hawaii is at the end of the year and I have a hot summer under my belt. 


[max] Can you feel any positive effects of training at altitude—say, like, in Colorado Springs—and then racing at sea level?

[ Tim DeBoom ] I can definitely feel the effects of altitude when I race at sea level.  Everyone is very different, though, on its benefits, and you have to really learn when is the optimal time to come down.


[max]  My wife has dreams about you. Should I be worried?


[ Tim DeBoom ] My wife has dreams about me too!


[Max]  When will the skirts come in men's sizes?


[ Tim DeBoom ] You don't want to go there.  Be a man, for God's sake, before they start calling you Sally.


[aarondavidson] How much do you weigh, and how does your weight fluctuate during the year?


[ Tim DeBoom ] My weight has been pretty steady forever.  I weigh around 155 lbs.  I think it got a little low between 2004 and 2006, which I think caused me some problems.


[aarondavidson] What is a typical fueling strategy for you during Hawaii?


[ Tim DeBoom ] It's actually not as hard as everyone thinks it is.  You have to develop a bit of a steel gut and be able to adjust to race day.  I try to get the majority of my calories on the bike, and I use what's on the course, which is usually PowerBars and Gatorade.  I always have RedBull in the special needs bags for my little treat.


[aarondavidson] What is your average HR during a training run versus a race?


[ Tim DeBoom ]  I don't use a Heart Monitor.  I know my body. 


[aarondavidson] How many hours do you train during a normal week, and how many during a peak week?


[ Tim DeBoom ] Normal weeks are pushing 30 hours and peak weeks inch up from there.


[aarondavidson] How long is your official training plan for a race, typically?


[ Tim DeBoom ] I can focus for about eight weeks.  That's what I need mentally and physically to build and taper.


[peto_primo] At your level, will recovery from Leadville impact your Kona preparations and race plan?


[ Tim DeBoom ] I have no idea how Leadville will affect me. It's all new to me, which is why I entered in the first place.  It will definitely affect my year, though.  I'm expecting some mental and physical breakthroughs that I haven't had since I first started in Kona.  I'm noticing some already, which will definitely come in handy in Kona.


[peto_primo] Any spare bikes you could ship down to Lakewood?


[ Tim DeBoom ] I have a whole garage full of stuff that needs to be sold!


[LJR] You had to drop out of Kona due to kidney stones a couple of years ago. Have you had any issues with them since? If so, other than making sure to hydrate properly, what types of prevention do you incorporate while training?


[ Tim DeBoom ] At this point I'm past that.  I don't ever want it to happen again, but I'm not sure I could help it.  I really think it was chronic dehydration and bad timing.  I don't seem to be having any lingering effects now.  I was definitely off my game for a couple years though, and I wonder if that had something to do with it.


[BAMBAM66 ] I've had the pleasure of meeting your wife in Naperville.  How do you balance life and your workouts?  That is the one area that always trips me up.


[ Tim DeBoom ] When we were both athletes, it was easy.  We could do a lot together and our schedules were similar.  Now, it's very different.  It takes work to make sure we stay as connected as we're used to being.  Her schedule is crazy, and mine is as well, so we cherish every moment we get together.  I have not always been the most balanced guy, but that has definitely changed.  I know what's most important to me, and it's my relationships with Nicole, family, and friends.  They will always come first. 


[RunningJayhawk] What is the first thing you think about when you wake up the morning of your big race?


[ Tim DeBoom ] I think TCB.  Let's Take Care of Business, and enjoy it in the process.


[RunningJayhawk] Do you ever get nervous? Do have any advice for triathletes battling nerves the day of their A-race? (I ask this because I routinely throw up the morning of big races...very counterproductive).


[ Tim DeBoom ] I always have nerves.  If I wasn't nervous, it would mean that I didn't care anymore, and it would be time to find another job.  Nerves are just excitement for what your about to do.


[jdwright56]  I listened to an interview in which you said that you liked the training more than the racing.  On that note, what is the most intense training session you have ever done - the one that after you did it, you said to yourself  "I have definitely lost my mind" but after you recovered you thought about doing it again?


[ Tim DeBoom ] I do like the training.  I think you have to in order to excel at this sport.  I have done some crazy workouts.  I think the one that always stands out to me is a 165 mile ride that I do to prepare for Kona, followed by an hour run.  It's one road, out and back, and always hot.  When I do this one by myself, I always finish with pride.  That's a long day.  That being said, I won't do that one when I'm not doing Kona anymore!


[jdwright56]  Can you give us an example of a high intensity bike workout that you do often?  (By the way, I graduated from C.R. Washington, too).


[ Tim DeBoom ] Go Warriors!  My favorite hard bike workout is a simulated time trial effort.  I have a couple of different climbs of varying distances around Boulder that I test myself on several times a year.  You just go all out and suffer.


[crea0029] How to you prevent boredom with the high level of training you do in preparation for Ironman?


[ Tim DeBoom ] Boredom is really the name of the game sometimes.  On the other hand, I have my best thoughts when I'm out training.  You can also find some really good partners to share the time with, and anyone can benefit from that.  There's always the iPod, too!


[crea0029]  Are there any secrets about nutrition for longer events that don’t appear in any literature?


[ Tim DeBoom ] The big secret is that there is no secret.  People really make it too hard.  You have to train your system to handle it.  If one thing doesn't agree with you, try something else.  Nothing will ever be perfect on race day, so you better be ready to improvise.


[crea0029] What is the best part of crossing a finish line first?


[ Tim DeBoom ] Every single thing about it was great.  It was a dream come true for me that I really didn't know that I could do.  I crossed the line and said to myself, "I did it!"  I wasn't able to appreciate it until much later, but honestly, nothing compares.  Why do you think I'm really still racing?  I want to feel it again!


[fgray] What would be the three tips you would give an average age grouper that they would never think of themselves that would help them improve their performance?


[ Tim DeBoom ] I coach a few guys now, and I'm always surprised with some of the stuff they are doing.  Most of the top pros train very similarly.  It's about consistency.  That means more work does pay off. It's also about resting.  I didn't race well until I learned to rest. It's also about going both hard and easy.  Don't go out and grind, grind, grind.  Go really slow some days, and go hard as hell on others.


[kuotaguy] Thanks for being cool enough to do this for BT! Who are the top three triathletes that you've enjoyed racing against to bring out the best in yourself?


[ Tim DeBoom ]  I will start with saying how cool it was to be on the stage in Kona with Mark Allen his last year.  It was my first top 10, and his last victory.  That was a long time ago, but it still stands out as a highlight.


Next is Peter Reid.  He is an incredible athlete and friend.  We can go months without touching base, and always pick up where we left off.   Some of my best memories are racing with Pete in Kona.  People would doubt Pete, but I never did.  If he was on the line, he was there to win.  I also have to thank him for the training he put in with me.  I learned a lot from him.  I think we were always truly happy for each other with our victories. Lastly, I have to say my brother, Tony.  He was my partner in crime for many years, and we started our careers together by driving around the country on this crazy dream of ours.  He taught me how hard we could train and race.  We have been through so much, and have been able to share more than most brothers get to in a lifetime. 


[Doughboy]  Since you've been at the top of the sport for so long now, do you still see performance gains in any of the three disciplines?


[ Tim DeBoom ] I actually do still see gains in each discipline.  I am a true student of sport and my body, so I'm continually learning as much as I can about myself.  My experience has also given me advantages that I never could have expected. 


[Doughboy] How long did it take for you to know how much you need to hurt to be performing at your best?


[ Tim DeBoom ] Actually, when I'm performing at my best, it doesn't hurt at all.  The training is always hard, but when things click, it's effortless. 


[D M S] Lately you hear more and more about how much resting and recovery elite athletes do. For example, Deena Kastor claims to nap for two hours each day and does very little throughout the rest of the day when she's in hardcore training. Do you believe in this, and what is your rest/recovery routine during your training periods?


[ Tim DeBoom ] I do believe in rest, but I have never been a good napper or sleeper.  I have to force it.  The only time I try to get a full eight hours of sleeping is in my Kona prep.  Rest is vital, though.  I take easy days and the off season very seriously, and you can't improve until you learn to rest.  Unless you're a full-time pro getting paid really well, it's tough to just train, eat, rest and repeat.  I can only do it for about eight weeks a year.


[Triboy77] When did you realize that you wanted to be a great triathlete?


[ Tim DeBoom ] I never thought about being a "great triathlete."  I just always thought how great it would be to get paid to train all day and be outdoors.  I love it.  I didn't know that I could really have a chance to be the best in the world until I won my first Ironman in New Zealand.  Then I got 3rd in Kona, and I started making the real commitments that it takes to be the best.


[Triboy77]  How long has it taken you to get where you are today?


[ Tim DeBoom ] It's taken my whole life, if you understand.  I started competitive swimming at the age of five, and never stopped.  I really believe all those years of endurance training added to the athlete I am today.  On top of that, all the experiences in and out of the sporting world have made me the man I am today.  That all adds up to what I'm truly capable of come race day.


[marmadaddy] Why this particular ultra marathon (Leadville)?


[ Tim DeBoom ]  I have always had an interest in doing a 100 mile race, and Leadville is basically my back yard.  I really didn't expect to do one this year, but this winter, I fell and broke my hand.  I could really only run for a bit, and I had some breakthroughs that told me I should give it a try this year.  I'll still be back in Kona to win in ‘08 or ‘09, but I know Leadville will make me a stronger person mentally and physically.


[marmadaddy] Do you see yourself attempting a double or triple Ironman?


[ Tim DeBoom ] I really have not thought about that kind of event.  I'll never say never to anything, so who knows?  I love testing my limits and attempting things that I don't know if I'm capable of doing.


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date: May 5, 2008