Gwen Jorgensen had only been competing in triathlons for 17 months when she qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team that will compete Aug. 4 in London.
The Waukesha, Wis., native was a standout runner and swimmer at the University of Wisconsin before transitioning to triathlon in 2010. Now the 26-year-old trains across the border in St. Paul, Minn., and is one of three U.S. women triathletes who will compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Olympic triathlon involves a 1,500-meter swim followed by a 43-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run.
Jorgensen qualified for the Games by finishing second in a 2011 race on the London Olympic course. She took some time out of her busy pre-Olympic schedule to answer questions from the U.S. Olympic Team’s Facebook fans.
Follow her on Twitter during the Olympic Games: @gwenjorgensen
Mario Asks: What do you think about when you run? And do you wish you had a music player when competing?
I don’t even train with music... don’t even own an iPod! I love running with training partners; it makes it fun and enjoyable. When I am running my best, I usually am not thinking about anything.
Beth Asks: My 9-year-old son, David (who is running his first mini-tri in August), wants to know how do you train? Do you do all three events in one day, or one event per day? How do you practice transitions?
Everyone is different, and I have changed over my years in triathlon. It is best to get a coach and to work around your schedule (work, family, etc.). Right now, because I don’t work, I can concentrate 100 percent on training. I usually do two of the three [disciplines] every day.
Coast Asks: Because the weather in London is so unpredictable and has been receiving so much rain, do you train differently?
I train in whatever the weather is outside. So if it’s raining I don’t delay a workout because I know that it may rain in London.
Sabrina Asks: If you could add or switch one of the legs of the race to something else, what would you want to do and why?
Eating, because I love food! I think it’d be fun to do all three, and end with an eating competition.
Anna Asks: How do you stay hydrated, specifically? Do you take some sort of “endurolyte” tab while you are training or do you just try to drink a ton?
I drink water, and like to eat homemade snacks (rice cakes, banana and peanut butter, etc.). I do not take a tablet while training.
Juan Asks: What keeps you motivated and inspired to not give up and keep you moving forward?
I have been given a God-given talent and want to do my best in honor of God. My fans and supports also keep me motivated. Everyone has days when they don’t want to do their job, and on those rough days I just remember everyone who is supporting me, and that helps keep me motivated.
Mary Asks: Can you sleep the night before a race? If yes, what’s your secret?
I usually can ... and have no idea what my secret is ... maybe a cold and dark room? Usually I eat with family and friends the night before a race, and it helps to just remain calm.
Nicole Asks: What is your favorite before race or workout meal?
I usually eat oats with peanut butter and berries. During a workout I like homemade rice cakes.
Evan Asks: What is your weekly running volume, and how many of those miles are “easy” miles? Also, what is your favorite type of cross training to do when you are not focusing on intense training (like in the offseason)?
Triathlon is neat because you have so many disciplines that it’s almost like you are cross training every day! In the winter, if I’m in Minnesota I enjoy skate (cross country) skiing as well.
Gannon Asks: Best advice a first-time triathlete?
Have fun, get a coach and find good training partners! Training partners make every workout easier and more enjoyable!
NOTE: Questions and answers have been edited for content and clarity.