Tahlia is a Strength & Performance Coach in Sydney. Not only is she a kick arse trainer but she certainly knows how to put herself out of her comfort zone. A self-proclaimed “non-endurance athlete” she is doing one of the biggest endurance events ever. Why you ask? it is all for a worthy cause to raise awareness for mental health. You can read my chat with her here:
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a 27 year old Strength & Conditioning Coach who has always been active. For 19 years of my life I was a dancer (classical, contemporary, jazz) and when injury ruined my career I decided I wanted to be in a profession where I could help others mend their bodies and hopefully prevent injuries happening.
I absolutely thrive on helping others and am secretly a hippy in the fact that I truly believe that love does make the world go around.
When Im not working I am out on some kind of an adventure or chilling at home with my stafy maximus
Tell us a bit about the alps suicide ride and what is your main motivation to start this event?:
My objective is to reach out to the Australian & International public, with the aim to raise awareness of the severity and prevalence of Depression and Suicide and to motivate them into trying to make a change any way they can.
My mission is to solo cycle 500km of the Italian Alps to raise money and awareness of Mental Health issues by using my body as my voice. I want to present myself in the public eye as a strong, independent woman doing something completely out of my comfort zone to help others. I have suffered depression for many years of my life and tried to take my life in my early teenage years. I have climbed out of that hole with the help of so many around me and now I want to be presented as someone who can now help another.
By no means am I a cyclist, so for this reason I am documenting my journey, through the training and struggles of getting ready for this massive ride, down to the final day of my challenge with a documentary of the four day ride. The focus will be not only to raise awareness but to raise enough money to inject into some of the expenses of me travelling whilst giving all remaining proceeds to the Organisation known as LIVIN.
What does your training schedule look like?
6 days per week I am in the gym working on compound movements and accessories that are going to complement my cycling- everyday is leg day. *hot tip squat as much as you can!!
I started at building up my cycling as I’m not previously a cyclist, so my coach and I started a plan a few weeks ago – 10 hrs per week and increase 2 hrs every week. I’m up to 16 hrs a week in the saddle (equates to 400kms per week or if I’m hitting my absolute numbers 432kms a week)
2 hours of riding is just about to be done in an altitude chamber at 3500km above sea level at Peak Altitude training in the city. Scott Reynolds has been awesome in opening up his facility to me and I’m pumped to get in there and try to get acclimatized.
Once I reach 500kms in the week we will then start working on kms per day to replicate the actual ride and also look at the gradient needed (which means the hills I need to tackle). The Garmin 520 edge has an awesome feature on it where you can punch in where you will be cycling, for me its the Dolomites in Italy, and it configures routes I can do in Sydney that are almost direct correlations of the climbs etc.
How are you mentally preparing/ what have you been doing to help you get through the training?
The hardest days are the ones where you are sore, tired and a little lonely. It gets like that being out on the road when you are by yourself with no one there to push you along.
I make sure I have a good playlist on hand that I know will keep me motivated, I focus on why I am actually doing the ride and I just push myself to be better than the day before because that’s all I can ask for. I am my biggest competition and I focus on being a better me, not better than someone else.
I constantly visualise how I am going to feel on my last 50m leg and try and feel that through my whole ride.
I will also be attending Camp Cadre in Perth just before the ride to really work on my mental game. This is a 3 day SAS challenge that will push me to my absolute breaking point and make me very aware of how it feels to break through those barriers.
What is/will be your biggest challenge on this ride?
The biggest challenge for me will be the mental aspect. Your body is capable of absolutely anything and everything, it’s your mind that places boundaries on it.
You can do all the training in the world but if your head isnt in the game you have failed already!
What would you advise would you give someone that may be struggling to get out of their comfort zone/ What would you tell someone when they are facing a new challenge?
Just go into it with everything youve got and give it 110%. You are never going to be perfect at a new venture but the more you practice, the better you will get. Ask lots of questions and find people that can mentor you through the process that have done it a thousand times. All of the greatest people in gistory have had mentors so dont ever be afraid to ask for help!
How do you recover after a session?
Recovery is massive when you are training like an athlete so my weekly routine is : 2-3 massages, foam rolling before and after any session that takes place, yoga 1-2 a week (sometimes there just isnt enough time), electrolytes and carbs after any session, 2 infared saunas, Ocean pool swim most days, sleeping AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, and supplements such as Mega Vit B blend, high quality magnesium, Glutamine, and BCAA’s.
How do you stay nourished on your long rides (snacks you eat on your rides)?
On my ride Ill take my torq gels – my absolute favourite is apple crumble flavor, and I will always have hydralite/staminade in my water bottles (yes I need to take multiple) & if it’s a long ride flat coca cola is a must as it is instant sugars for your craving body. Keeping in mind this is all catered to me by my coach. Some cyclists have salt sachets that they just pour into their mouths along he ride, some have a tub of Nutella. It’s just whatever works for you.
How do you like to stay fit when not training for this event?
Generally, im not one to shy away from a nice heavy weights session but I really love getting outdoors. Whether its walking, doing a beach run, hiking through a national park or swimming in the ocean pools Im always happy when im in nature.
How do we donate to support you?
Head to my website and make a donation, whether it’s $1 or $1000 everything counts in getting the message out to everyone. 1 in 7 Australian’s take their life every single day and most of the time it’s the youth of our country. Let’s really make a stand and educate the people that it is ok not to be ok.
Anything else that you would like the readers to know?
This event has been created by me and I would love to make it a yearly event where hopefully more people can come and join me on my ride. Sponsorship is the hardest thing to come by so please feel free to email me if you are in a position to help out on an annual level in absolutely anyway. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to say a massive thankyou to my major sponsors Cycling Australia and The Australian Institute of Sport who have done amazing things for me. Also, big props to the boys down at MC Cyclery in Maroubra who have helped me with all of my needs in terms of shoes, helmet, and all things to do with my bike. They are soo helpful and I highly recommend popping in to see them if you are ever thinking of starting to ride or just need to top up on your current gear.
To my coach, Clint Hill who has really kicked me up the arse and made sure I have looked after my body, and of course the LIVIN boys, especially Sam Webb. He is an absolutely amazing human and has been there for me every step of the way.
If you want to check out everything this amazing organisation does please go to www.livin.org.au