Alice Hector is one of Sundried's sponsored professional athletes and has been competing professionally in triathlon since 2014. She has won Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote as well as the Israman triathlon among many others. She was crowned Ironman 70.3 champion in Ruegen in a course record time, is two-times Israman champion, and has collected wins and podiums at several 70.3 and full Iron distance races.
She has been both Scottish Triathlon and Duathlon Champion, was the fastest amateur overall at the World Sprint Championships in 2013, and enjoyed an unbroken run of ultra-marathon victories from 2010-2012; a sport which she plans to return to with full force in the future. Aside from triathlon, Alice is a freelance copywriter and fitness model. She talks to us about her long and prosperous career.
How did you get into triathlon?
I swam and ran for the County as a child and wanted to be an elite athlete at both distance running and sprint swimming. My coaches tried to get me into triathlon but I thought it sounded like a silly sport so put it off for ages.
When I got to Loughborough University, I approached the swim coach who promptly told me I would only be good for their 4th team, and to go and do triathlon. I could avoid it no longer. Desperate to be an elite at something, the journey started aged 19.
I fell out of love with triathlon after a few years of taking it too seriously. I stopped, got a job and did the ‘living for the weekend’ thing for 6 years, but there was no real satisfaction in that. To keep ‘my toe in’ whilst working, ultra-marathon was my new sport. I only did a couple of years of it and won the 5 I did: the furthest being 100 miles in one day. I got injured (as you would) and was swimming and cycling a bit which also coincided with a move to Windsor in 2012, where I met lots of ‘triathlonny’ people who were actually pretty fun! Hence my relationship with EVO tri club was born and remains to this day. I decided to go for the World AG champs, won that in 2013, and never looked back. I’m loving this ‘second wind’ – it feels like I’m doing it my way this time, and it’s starting to work!
Having said that I want to know my limits with ultra running, so will definitely look to return to that once I am too old and slow to be a pro.
What are your top tri tips for anyone new to the sport?
- Join a club. Experiences are far better when shared with friends, and you’ll learn a lot too.
- Triathlon has so many facets to it that it can easily become obsessive. It’s important to maintain friendships and relationships outside of the sport and not become one-dimensional and boring.
- There will be good days and bad. Try not to get too high when it goes well and too low when it doesn’t. The nature of sport is that it’s unpredictable, so go with the flow, and try and learn from every experience.
- Stick at it! You’ll be amazed how far you come but it takes a bit of time. A lot of coaches say never to look back, just look forward. For me, remembering from whence I came is a vital part of keeping my motivation intact.
How much time do you spend training?
Totally varies. This week I’ve only done about 6 hours as I’ve had a cold! A typical week tops out at around 20-25 but I don’t really count. I’m not huge into volume and find regular, quality sessions work best for me, then I simply add in a few long rides as an aerobic boosters before any race at or above 70.3 distance.
What are your favourite exercises?
I like the hardest interval wattbike sessions so anything with repeats of 1,2 or 3 minutes when I’m right on the limit. The same with treadmill sessions: I like short interval repeats, repeated over and over! I prefer the treadmill as it sets the pace for you and all you have to do is not fall off.
However, were all my sessions to be indoors I would most definitely get cabin fever, so a breath of fresh air is a wonderful thing too. Windsor has great open water swimming venues in the summer and I like the freedom of being able to do my own swimming training uninterrupted.
Do you have a pre race routine to get yourself motivated?
I certainly don’t need motivating any more at big races – they are nerve-wracking enough.
I find it best not to have a ‘must-do’ routine as this can get you stressed in a new place. I had it in my head a year ago that I needed to swim the day before a race to keep ‘the feel’ alive, so we would end up trekking into various squalid lagoons or driving a long way to go to a pool. Then I didn’t bother one race and the outcome was no different. So it’s a case of ‘whatever’ now, to an extent.
I do lots of mobility exercises that I can do anywhere, and chill out as much as possible. A few minutes at race pace the day before the race sees me good.
Who are your fitness heroes?
Sadly, I have banished heroes from my life as I was a massive Lance Armstrong/100 m sprinting fan as a child and that got spoiled. I do love the stories on social media about older people running long or fast or being gymnastic at 90 – they amaze me and I hope I am fortunate enough to emulate them in some way one day.
What do you like most about Sundried?
The Sundried brand looks great, for starters. I like the vibe of the team: positive, creative types that buy into my skillset as an athlete and brand.
Sundried mirrors to a great extent the qualities that are required to succeed in elite sport: they take no shortcuts, use quality products, and there’s a real attention to detail with the little things, such as packaging, stitching, fabrics, and overall presentation. They’re extremely ethical and are setting the standard for other clothing brands to aspire to.