February 1, 2002
Runner's Web Athlete Profile
This is a monthly feature in which we profile athletes from the sports of track and field, road running, triathlon and duathlon.
This month we profile triathlete Natasha Filioll.
Runner's Web: When and where did you start competing in the triathlon?
Natasha: I started competing in triathlon in 1995 in the 'Kids of Steel" series in Ontario.
Runner's Web. At what age do you consider you became a "serious" triathlete?
Natasha: I became a serious triathlete when I was 20. I really started to focus more on my training and racing in my last year of junior.
Runner's Web: Are you currently a full-time triathlete?
Natasha:I am a full time triathlete and I also have an online multi-sport coaching business with my husband called competitionzone.com
Runner's Web Who has had the greatest influence on your triathlon career to date?
Natasha: My husband Joel has had the greatest influence on me. When we first met did a lot of training together which was great because I had a training partner who was faster than I was. As my level improved and it took much more work to organize my training and racing schedules he took more of a coach / manager role, and has now extended that into coaching other athletes online and at the National Training Centre in Victoria.
Runner's Web Could you discuss your training in terms of an average week's workouts prior to racing season in the 3 disciplines? Also could you review, at a high level, your macro program for a year?
Natasha: Of course this is different depending on the time the year and the phase of training I'm in. Right now I'm doing a big swim focus that includes up to 8 swims and 45km per week. But generally my training is balanced with 5-6 swims, 8-10hrs of biking and 5-6 runs per week. Basically my season is planned around the Commonwealth qualifier, the Games and Nationals, and then worlds in Cancun.
Runner's Web What are your short-term (2002) and long-term goals in the triathlon?
Natasha: My short-term goals for 2002 are to qualify and compete at the Commonwealth Games, to win Nationals and to get a top 15 at short course World Championships. My long-term goals are to be the #1 ranked woman in Canada, to qualify and compete at the Olympics.
Runner's Web What do you consider your best triathlon race to-date and why?
Natasha: My best triathlon to date was the 2001 ITU World Cup in Cancun, Mexico because I had the 3rd fastest run (35:39) in a very competitive field. I finished in 8th overall.
Runner's Web What do you consider your strongest event, swimming, biking, or running?
Natasha: My strongest leg right now is running off the bike. I think I run better off the bike relative to my fresh running than many other girls do. I do work on this ability in my training though.
Runner's Web Can you see yourself becoming a coach after you stop competing?
Natasha: I'd like to take a more active role in helping other athletes. Currently I advise a few through my website, but in the future I'm like to use my experiences to help others.
Runner's Web Drafting in ITU races is seen by non-pro triathletes as changing the sport. What are your feelings regarding drafting?
Natasha: The way that drafting has changed the sport is that now the swim and run legs are much more important. If you don't get out of the water with the leaders or the chase pack you can get left behind and then even if you are a great runner it can be difficult to make up ground. It is so important to be up there on the swim because it can be a deciding factor, especially now that many of the great swimmers can run very well.
Runner's Web What do you consider your favourite race and why?
Natasha: I don't know if I have a favorite race, but I do enjoy racing in Mexico for the heat (Also, I always seem to race well there).
Runner's Web What do you consider your greatest achievement in the sport of triathlon?
Natasha: Although I am pretty proud of being 6 time Canadian Junior Champion (KOS, triathlon and duathlon), I think that way that I've been able to make the transition to Elite is my best triathlon achievement. In my final year as I junior I had a top ten World Cup finish (Toronto), a win and a podium in ITU International events, and also a win in a Dannon Duathlon. I was named to the National Elite team in my first Elite year, which felt great.
Runner's Web The Ironman Triathlon gets more profile than the ITU circuit. What do you think of the Ironman event as compared to the Olympic distance and would you ever consider doing one?
Natasha: When I'm talking with people who don't know a lot about triathlon I tell them that Ironman is almost like a different sport because it's so long and grueling and a lot of it is survival. I think Ironman racing is amazing and anyone who has finished one is awesome. One day I'd like to give it a try, as I think that long distance racing would suit some of my strengths.
Runner's Web If you could design your own Olympic distance triathlon course what features would it have?
Natasha: I think that swim would be a one-loop course, in fresh water. Wetsuits would be allowed. There would be a short run to the transition. The bike course would have rolling hills, but nothing too crazy. I think 4 laps courses are the best for racing and for the spectators. The run would be a flat four-loop course. Hot weather and not much wind suit me too.
Runner's Web Do you feel that Canada provides sufficient support for triathletes and for potential Olympic team members in general?
Natasha: I think Canada is quite a ways behind many countries in terms of sports funding. Many amateur athletes have to go into debt and take on a lot of financial risk in order to compete at the highest levels. That said, I think we can be proud of the many top Canadian athletes and their international performances. We do a lot with very little compared to other countries, and we have some of the world's best athletes. I hope that in the future Canada will be up to the challenge of building a strong amateur sport support network that can help our athletes achieve their goals, and make Canadians proud.
Runner's Web What activities do you do away from the triathlon to relax?
Natasha: When I am relaxing you can find me either in the kitchen cooking something, curled up by the fire with my cats reading a book or watching a movie with my hubby.
Runner's Web What are your racing plans for 2002?
Natasha: For the 2002 season my big races are the ITU Points Race in Victoria BC (which is the Canadian Commonwealth qualifier), the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, the National Championships ships in Toronto and World Champs in Cancun, Mexico. I will also race a few World Cups, including St. Anthony's, possibly Ishigaki Japan, and Edmonton. I'm considering racing at the Duathlon Worlds as well, but it wouldn't be a big goal. It would be nice to get back on the podium in the new U23 category. My final schedule will be posted on my website in the next 3-4 weeks.
Runner's Web Is there a triathlete that you would pick as being the "best in the world" right now?
Natasha: That's a tough question! Siri Lindley sure had a stellar season last year that's for sure. I have also always admired Michellie Jones for her consistently over her career. And I have a lot of respect for the handful of triathletes that are competitive at both short and long course racing.
Runner's Web How long do you intend to compete at the top level?
Natasha: I'll keep racing as long as I still enjoy it, and am able to compete to the best of my ability.
Runner's Web Any other comments you would like to make....
Natasha: Thanks! RunnersWeb is great!
Visit Natasha's web site at : www.competitionzone.com