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Tue 20th Aug 2019
Joe Skipper targets British IM record
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Thursday 27th March 2014

Tags  Cyprus  |  Joe Skipper  |  Mark Livesey

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Elite long distance triathlete Joe Skipper (currently the seventh fastest British iron-distance athlete, all-time), has just returned from two weeks of warm weather training in Cyprus. He tells about his preparation for the fast approaching 2014 race season, and his training camp with former Elite triathlete Mark Livesey (Functional Fitness Coaching and Events and

Joe will be racing for the GB Elite team at the ETU Powerman European Long Distance Duathlon Championships next month, and also aims to "...break the current British Ironman/long course record."

Joe you had some great results last year including a podium finish at Ironman UK and a fast 8hr 17min at Ironman Florida - what are your target races for 2014?

My hard work last year secured me a place in the GB Elite team for the European Duathlon Long Course Championships in Horst on 13th April). Although my main focus is Ironman, it was great to be selected to race for Great Britain for this event. I'm looking forward to getting my first indication of how my form is after a solid winters training.

My first Ironman of the year will be Lanzarote in May. It's a good time of year for me and I think the tough course will suit my style of racing. I was lucky enough to spend two weeks earlier this year with Tri Sports Lanzarote so I already know the course well and feel prepared. I have also just returned from a tough two week training block in Cyprus with Mark Livesey who is a great training partner and mentor. I have yet to confirm my other big races for the year but one of my aims is break the current British Ironman/long course record.

You say Mark Livesey is a mentor, how did you meet Mark start?

Joe SkipperI first met Mark at the European Ironman 70.3 Championships a few years ago and we have also raced against each other a number of times in the UK. Mark invited me to race at some of his events, and to see if I was interested in using and promoting Xhale ( Xhale is an online triathlon specific training diary and coaching programme that Mark has developed. He showed me the software and I was hooked straight away. I log all my training on Xhale now, and Mark can monitor my training and offer advice and guidance where needed. The training diary is free, although if you are coaching other athletes with the software there is a small fee. I prefer it to other online training diaries such as Strava and Training Peaks as it has been developed specifically for triathlon and it is very easy to use.

I will be racing at the Rubicon Middle Distance Triathlon on the 31 August 2014 at Newby Hall. Mark understands the level of commitment and sacrifice I dedicate to my training and he knows how tough it is for professional athletes.

Although I love my lifestyle, as a professional triathlete it is tough and frustrating at times. Without my generous sponsors I wouldn't be able to train full time and this is something I appreciate. Hopefully this year I will get the results to demonstrate to them that their investment is worth it.

So tell us about Cyprus, and why you chose to go there to train?

I had not previously been to Cyprus, but Mark and his wife Caroline go there each year to train and they invited me and some other athletes along. A good group of high calibre dedicated triathletes came along and we completed a solid block of training over the two weeks. Cyprus has it all; weather, terrain, great food, quiet roads and long tough climbs for serious bike rides. It became a joke amongst us when we hadn't seen a car for nearly two hours on one of our rides. It really is cycling's best kept secret. If triathletes are looking for somewhere different to go I would recommend it, and it is easy to access from the UK.

It was also beneficial training with Mark, I saw some new ways to make my long training days count. We ate very well and rested and recovered between sessions. Mark is also a qualified massage therapist and showed us some of the keys elements of sports massage which I know will help in the future.

Joe Skipper

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