Project Profile: Emma-Kate Lidbury on Going Longer

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Tips for racing, and stepping up between race distances, from a newly-relocated pro.

However good they are and whatever the sport, pros are people too. Some come from athletic families, and some from more humble beginnings. British triathlete Emma-Kate Lidbury is one of the latter. From an early age, Lidbury set her initial ambitions in words, rather than sports. Although she swam competitively in school and even earned her degree in sports science, she had her eye on becoming a top-tier Fleet Street journalist, working among the best in Britain’s newspaper industry. Having completed her post-graduate studies in journalism, she worked at The Oxford Times where, one day, she was assigned a story on triathletes.

Lidbury’s athletic background made her the perfect candidate to research the world of endurance sports by racing the inaugural Blenheim Triathlon. She was instantly hooked. Lidbury has since advanced her professional career and moved to the United States. We recently sat down with Emma-Kate, or ‘Eccles’ as her friends call her, to discuss her career and the upcoming season.

Rudy Project: Earlier this year you won the Desert Triathlon in Palm Springs, but you’re most most well known as an IRONMAN 70.3 athlete.

Emma-Kate Lidbury: Olympic distance races are a lot shorter than the races I’m used to. I’ve been focusing on IRONMAN 70.3 racing for the last few seasons, but really, I had a long break from racing over the winter. I hadn’t raced since the end of September, 2013. With the racing season beginning in Oceanside, both my coach and I wanted to get me back into that “racing groove.” Palm Springs turned out to be a good way to blow away the cobwebs from the winter.

Do you use shorter races as fitness markers or to test power or nutrition?

All of the above. I’ve teamed up with a new nutrition company and have been working with their chief scientist and sports nutritionist, Dr. Stacy Simms. It was an overall confidence booster to try some things of various intensity that I had been working on in training. It was good for transition practice, too, all the skills that get rusty. Power on the bike, run pacing, swim and water skills, you name it.

Is it true that you’ll be racing your first IRONMAN event this year?

I’ve only ever raced IRONMAN 70.3 races up until now. Since 2009 I’ve been saying “next year I’ll do an IRONMAN event.” Then it’s next year and next year. At the back end of last year, Matt (Dixon) said to me that 2014 might be the time, and that I’ve got to bite the bullet. I’ve loved focusing on IRONMAN 70.3 races, but in the back of my mind qualifying for, racing in, and competing at Kona, ultimately, is every triathlete’s dream. I plan to race from April through to November and do my first IRONMAN race then: IRONMAN Arizona. I’m excited!

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