Helena Kotopulu about Israman, about training and what the slightest inattention will do in an important race.

Helena is, without exaggeration, a Czech triathlon legend. Her countless achievements include e.g. 2* absolute victory of the Czech Cup, 8* 1st place in the World Championship, 4* 2nd place in the World Championship, IM New Zealand 6th place, IM Malaysia 5th place, IM Mexico 11th place in the championship, IM Lanzarote 10th place, ME Madrid 6th place and many others. This time, Helena decided to go to Israel for the Israman race, where she managed to grab the second best time among women in the elite category! That's why we couldn't help but ask her about the preparation and the race itself.

Hey, how did you enjoy the race in the exotic destination of Israel?

I flew to the race on Wednesday at 12 noon, I took my family, husband and sons with me. it was hectic, I tried to divide my time to manage the preparation around the race and at the same time to be with my family and take care of them. Wednesday went by quickly, Thursday flew by even faster. Briefing, setting up the bike, interview in the mountains, tuning all three disciplines, putting the bike in the depot, being with the family, trying to make up for the sleep deficit because we traveled overnight on Wednesday, so I missed one night of sleep. I managed a bit of everything. but there was no more space to explore the destination. Maybe next time.

Such a big race in January is not exactly a traditional approach in the annual training calendar. What made you do it? Or perhaps you are starting to take over the practices of Petr Vabroušek:)?

Actually, I had planned to run LH24 this term, but I let the team talk me out of it and she had less than 2 months to prepare after the 8-week post-season break. It was challenging and I felt like I was constantly sore for the first 6 weeks, then everything settled down and I think I was well prepared.

Petr Vabroušek is a great role model for me and I admire his performances and especially the length of his sports career, constant challenges. Yes, I am tempted to try a lot of these challenges, but it is very challenging to balance it with family, work and also financially. But hopefully I will be able to experience a few of them.

He is also my former coach, and in the two years of training under his leadership, I have gained a lot of valuable advice and experience, and even though I am already running on my own for the third year, I often return to them and follow them.

How was the preparation for the January deadline?

It's a bit of a gamble to put in a volume phase, strength part and intensity in less than two months, but the body managed it. It is necessary to listen to him well, to his own feelings. Therefore, in this hasty preparation, I did not use a chest belt or a wattmeter, so that my head could handle it well, and I rode as much as my body allowed me at the time. I think it was the right decision and I was well prepared.

Of course, we can't help but ask about nutrition. Can you tell us something about what you like to use in training and in the race?

Nutrition is very important, and even more so for a long triathlon, because we have to consume a lot for long energy-intensive training sessions. It's hard to catch up and finish it sometimes.

I use Tested On Humans nutrition

  • during training, I use supplements mainly for long cycles - hydration drink mix 1 bottle - dose and the rest water, after 3 hours of driving I take a portion of loose bcca with a bar every 40 minutes and combine it with my own rice dish.
  • after training I take protein Iso100 and in the evening about 1 hour before bed Victus regeneration.
  • During the race, I will prepare victus - an energy drink in my bottle, and I will take energy chews and bars to the bike. If I have the opportunity, I will prepare rice with a piece of fatty cheese again.
  • Energy chews suit me, they don't burden my stomach as much as gels, but in a marathon I sometimes have to approach them anyway, but this time in Israel their gels didn't fit me at all and it cost me intestinal problems, cramps and 6* milk :/.

Helena was one of the first to test the novelty in our Victus Sport portfolio.
You can find more information about the complete trio of products here.

I know that you are an athlete who likes to see amino acids (BCAAs and others) among food supplements. When and how do you work with them?

I also include Bcca in the training, if it is long, after 3 hours of activity and continue on. Protein after training and before bed. I couldn't do without these food supplements and have been using them forever.

What other plans do you have for this year?

My biggest goal is the WC in the long triathlon in Hawaii, for which I qualified last year in Portugal. I would like to give the best possible result there. Next, go to the Czech Cup in triathlon. I am considering a half-marathon in Mallorca in March, some foreign St.polten half-marathon and then in January to correct the mistake and take part in Israman again.

And how was it with that little inattention?

Israman was a very tough race, cycling with an incredible headwind, the marathon starts with a 10km run and then in great heat along the coast, when you add the intestinal problems it was really exhausting. At the finish I was happy and satisfied with the second place, which was by a large margin compared to 3 women.
Unfortunately, the next day I found out that I made a mistake on the bike, I got my first DFN. It's hard for an athlete to come to terms with that, especially when he knows it was his inattention. If it was due to technical problems or a health condition, it would probably be easier. However, you need to come to terms with it quickly, learn what could have been different, write it down on paper. Also to tell myself that there are worse things and that I have the opportunity to continue and correct the mistake in a year. Probably the biggest remedy is to find another race, return to training after the recovery period and forgive yourself. I gave myself until next wednesday to start preparing and forget about it.

Hey guys, for Tested On Humans, congratulations on a great performance and we wish you many more successes!

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