Endurance Cartel podcast

#009 - How do we separate athletic myths from reality? Breaking stereotypes about endurance sports. (With Leanda Cave professional triathlete, coach, and Ultraman enthusiast)

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Leanda Cave joins today’s episode of the Endurance Cartel Podcast to talk about the reality of doing high-intensity endurance sports, and how running triathlons with her severe condition taught her a lot about handling the many aspects of human experience.


Leanda is a former British triathlete who was born on March 9, 1978, in Louth, England. She is the 2002 World Triathlon Champion, as well as the 2012 Ironman Triathlon and Ironman 70.3 World Champion, making her the first woman in history to win both championships in the same year. She represented Wales and the United Kingdom at the international level.


Cave won the European Under-23 title in 2001. A year later, she made her international senior debut by winning silver in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. She earned another silver medal at the European Championships before going on to win gold and the World Championship in Cancun, Mexico in November 2002. She was nominated for the Welsh Sports Personality of the Year Award in 2002. She was unfortunately injured in 2003 and was unable to defend her world title, although she did appear in the BBC program Superstars.



In today’s episode:


(1:02) Our guest Leanda Cave Professional triathlete, coach, and Ultraman enthusiast.

(2:28) Brief explanation of what an Ultraman challenge is.

(4:30) The motivation behind Leanda’s ambition to do an Ultraman.

(7:00) Leanda shares that she has an unpublished book waiting to be published.

(8:30) Training, racing, and competing at a high level with injuries.

(10:12) The way Leanda dealt with her injuries to allow herself to compete.

(11:55) Signs of athletes overtraining themselves and exceeding healthy limits.

(13:45) The relationships between knowledge and athletic performance.

(16:40) The role of technological monitors in athletic performance.

(21:45) The body type stereotype in the athletic world.

(27:10) The Norwegian success in endurance sports.

(28:20) The moment endurance sports made Leanda a superhuman.

(30:45) Leanda’s competitive side.

(32:13) The role models behind Leanda’s inspiration.

(34:50) The impact of endurance sports on emotional intelligence.

(36:25) Advice from Leanda to the listeners.

(38:08) Javier extracts some wisdom from his experience in triathlons.

(40:50) Leanda shares her next projects regarding Ultraman and coaching.




“Sometimes we’re not built the same way as other people and we have to accept that things in our bodies break down…There should be a constant revolving door of maintenance where we work on our issues in a way that lets us compete”


“It’s hard often for an individual to recognize that they need to train within their personal parameters because most athletes, especially with the mindset that I have, want to do more than they should”


“Knowing your biological data when racing is probably more of a cue than it is anything else. I don’t think it’s a huge advantage seeing that data, it only gives you a cue to eat or drink water when you need to”


“It’s not all about body type. You can be an athlete and be on the bigger side and not fit into this fitness stereotype. You don’t have to be a certain body type to be a fantastic athlete”


“When we are kids boys and girls are basically the same, and then adolescence happens and boys become stronger. However, the endurance side never shifts, and as I got older…I did fine in long-distance runs and I could easily keep going when everybody was falling behind me. That’s when I knew at a young age that I had more ability in endurance sports than short distance”


“The inspiration is not only in major sports like Baseball and Basketball. In these other small sports, a lot of kids take their role models from them too, and I think that’s why I had this opportunity in Australia to find role models in sports that I wanted to and I enjoyed”


“I never gave up, and there were many times when I could have. I just kept going, and it doesn’t just apply to sports, it applies to everything. Everything is so fast now and they see the here and now and forget about the process. There is a process to everything and good things take time.”


Links selected from this episode


Ultraman: The Ultraman World Championships is an athletic odyssey of endurance challenges. Covering a total distance of 320 miles (515 kilometres), on the Big Island of Hawaii, it requires that each participant complete a 6.2 mile (10 K) open ocean swim, a 261.4 mile (421 K)  bike ride, and a 52.4 mile (84 K) ultra-marathon run, the distances being determined by the size of the Big Island.


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