Yvette Grice reveals her secrets for success at Challenge Henley.

Few people know Challenge Henley quite like Yvette Grice. Winner in 2011 and third-place finisher in 2012, Grice is one of the undoubted favourites for the 2013 title. What’s more, with a resume that boasts an Ironman UK win amongst other major victories, she’s got the pedigree to beat the best in the world. We caught up with our former champion to talk about the race, her preparation and tips for anyone taking up the Challenge on September 8th.

First in 2011, third in 2012, do you feel like you can take another Challenge Henley win this year?

I would of course love to win Challenge Henley again and will be trying my best to do so. Winning the inaugural race in 2011 was one of my highlights in triathlon so far and it was a fantastic feeling to win. In 2012 I didn’t have a good race and was disappointed to never actually be in the race for the win. I am hoping that my race this year will go a lot better and give me the result I am after.

What does it take both physically and mentally to win a race like Challenge Henley?

Obviously Iron distance racing is never easy, sometimes all the training comes together on the day and sometimes it doesn’t. Mentally it’s hardest to keep yourself going when the day isn’t going well. Sometimes you can feel pretty awful at the start of the race and things can pick up so you just have to try and remain focused and positive. Lots of training is needed to get your body to start of the race in the best possible shape but it is also important to let your body recover in the weeks leading up to the race, making sure you rest and get the correct nutrition.

With 12 weeks to go until race day, can you give us an idea of the kind of preparation you will be doing in the build-up to the race?

I train for about 30 hours a week, so in the lead up to the race its important to keep the consistency of your training week in week out but reducing the volume in the week leading up to the race to make sure you’re fresh to go. Before Henley, I am training up for Challenge Roth and Challenge Vitoria both in July so after these events I will take a couple of weeks easier and then get a hard couple of weeks training in before Henley.

Can you talk a bit about Challenge Henley as a race?

The swim at Henley is along a section of the Royal Regatta course and it’s a straightforward out and back in the river so easy to navigate and with little current. The cycle is pretty fast with a few climbs to give some variation and challenge along the way. The closed roads give plenty of room on the course. The run is flat and very scenic running along by the river with lots of support. It is a spectator friendly course with the laps giving opportunity to see friends or family a number of times and it is especially good on the run being able to see the athletes both sides of the river allowing for lots of support when it is most needed.

If you could give one piece of advice to athletes preparing to race Challenge Henley, what would it be?

Make sure you are ready for whatever the weather throws up. In 2011 the start of the race was extremely cold so make sure you bring arm warmers, etcetera in case they are needed. But above all else, its a great race so enjoy your day and make the most of it.

If you want to be part of the 2013 Challenge Henley or Henley Half there are still places available on the start line. To enter, visit www.challengehenley.com

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