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ETPA All Schools Q&A

Benjamin McShanag

Note: Ben had some pretty intense medical issues leading over the last 6 months and has been in and out of hospital over this period. He is on the mend now, but that is some context surrounding the following. Great work Ben!

1. How many times a week were you riding/running and swimming leading into the nationals?

At my best point before my hospital visit I was doing 5 swims, 4 rides and 4 run a week. More recently it’s been 3 swims, 3 rides and 2-3 runs a week.

2. What type of ride sets were you doing? Can you give us an example of one?

With rides, anywhere between 40-100 km down the back of the airport, beach road or the loop near Yarra bend. Rarely got on the mag as it’s pretty tortuous by yourself. 

3. What type of run sets were you doing? Can you give us an example?  

For my run leg I like to do the ‘Mona Fartlek’, which is a 20min run set as follows:

2x(90secs on/off)

4x(60secs on /off)

4x(30secs on/off)

4x(15secs on/off)

Sometimes I would also go to an oval or track and simply do 6×400m efforts 

4.  Tell us about your hardest training day?

My hardest training day was just after coming out of hospital and trying to run again. It was absolutely hopeless and put me off running for a few weeks, but as I slowly got off the steroids and got some aerobic training back in swimming, eventually I became strong enough to run again.

5.  What does winning mean for you?    

Unfortunately I have never won a tri, my best ever being second. It’s a real shame because I had a good chance this year but when that race was happening I was sick in hospital. Oh well. For me I suppose winning would mean all the hard work has paid off, and I think success motivates you to work even harder because you become addicted to that feeling of doing well. 

6. What is your biggest tip for other juniors leading into their first triathlon?

Relax. It’s your first race, you’re not expected to know how to approach or do anything. That only comes with experience. Find your bearings in the first race and figure out what pace you will be able to approach the next race with.


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