Interview with… Sebastian Kienle

stephan-sebastian kienle

Sebastian, welcome to Playitas! Where do you find your inspiration and motivation for this sport?

There are many different reasons. For me as a professional one of the biggest motivations is always the result in a race. To win the biggest race in a competition is definitely the main goal but on the other hand it is the level of freedom I enjoy in the sport. It is all based on my decision where to race, where to train, the people I want to work with, my coach and my training group. I can go out and do what I love every day and that’s a great motivation long-term wise.

When did you realize that you want to become a pro?

This was actually very early. I have a document from primary school where everybody was asked what they want to be when they grow up. Most of the answers where somewhat like becoming a pirate, an astronaut or a private agent. I told everyone that I want to be a pro triathlete. I think I never became too obsessed with it. That is the reason why my wish or dream became true in the end.

Why is triathlon so special for you?

I think that the main answer lies within when seeing age-group people finish a long course race. You always ask why they are doing this. When looking at the 100 meter sprint, it´s only about time or winning or losing the race. But you never have the feeling of accomplishing something when you have just finished it. Even for me as a professional being used to usually winning the races, when I am not having my best day and I just finish a long course race, it is such a great feeling. I think that everybody is experiencing that. It is more than just a sport you do on your weekend and then go back to your normal day routine. It’s a lifestyle. Your whole life is influenced by the sport. I think that’s the reason why so many people are falling in love with this sport.

What are you expecting for the new season?

My expectations are always very high. I guess that comes with the success of the past but I want to get back my KONA title from 2014 of course. Next to this goal are the European Championships in Frankfurt and the 70.3 World Championships in Mooloolaba, Australia. Those are my three big goals. But to win KONA again is my main goal J

Do you practice any other sport?

Yes, during the off-season I try to do as many other sports as possible. I like climbing, different variations of gym sessions like Crossfit. I do cross-country skiing and I do a little bit of motorsport, too.

Tell us a bit about what the training involves.

The training of course requires a lot of motivation and focus. My average weekly hours when I am here at Playitas is between 32 and 40 hours per week. At this point of the season I do a lot of base mileage on the bike, which is basically around 800/900 K a week. That adds up to about 45 run sessions a week. Now in mid-February we are going to ramp up the intensity quite a bit and get ready for the first races of the year.

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Can you give us a typical schedule of your weekly training?

Like I already mentioned I usually train between 2 and 4 sessions per day. Most of the time I do one session in the morning before breakfast, which is either swimming or running. Normally it’s an easy session and we go on the bikes a bit later. This time of the year we already started to do some intervals so the rides are not getting too long. About 4 to 5 hours with some intervals and some strength training. The good thing here is that you have some decent hills where you can do a lot of strength work and as another session either going to the gym, swim or run. Sometimes as a quick session directly after the bike run for example.

Tell us about your feelings when you won KONA.

You experience so many feelings at the same time. The feeling of just finishing the race is the greatest feeling. That is the reason why the age-group athletes are doing it, too. Next you have the feeling of actually winning the race, which is of course a dream come true and it´s like an explosion in your mind. You try to hold back your feelings for such a long time, trying not to get too excited about the win. If you believe that you have won the race too early, then you probably are going to lose it. Mostly it´s all about holding back and not let any emotion get to you. Then at the finish line you can let it all go so it´s pretty amazing and the reason why I want to do it again.

What would you like to do when you finish your triathlon career?

That’s a good question. I think I still have quite some good years ahead of me in sports. At the age of 32 it is time to ask the question to myself. The first thing is that I want to finish are my studies. I study physics and international management. That’s very important to me and I think I have a very broad spectrum from which I could go from. That could be in sports but I think that I want to build a base from which I could do pretty much everything besides sports.

What kind of remarks do you have about Playitas?

Among all the options I could choose, especially after KONA, Playitas is the best place for me for preparation. I have been to a lot of different places all over the world for training and there are some things that add up to the reasons why I come here. The first thing is that you need to have pretty stable weather. This winter we had the best weather ever. There were no clouds and no wind for 3 weeks, which was absolutely amazing. But even if the weather is bad, it is only bad for about 1 or 2. The next reason is that it is not too far from home. I can fly here directly without stops, so it is only 4.5 hours of flight which is pretty comfortable for me. And then the facilities of course. If you train 6 to 7 hours per day, you need to have everything pretty tied together. You don’t have to drive half an hour to a different place to swim and another half hour to the gym or something like that. Everything is close together which very important. The pool is absolutely amazing. For me as a weak swimmer it is very important to have a good pool. The water temperature is just great so that you could also swim after a long bike ride. The water is not too cold and in the morning it is just great when you have the sunrise over the pool. I bet you can find a lot of pictures in the internet about that. And then of course there is the food. The food needs to be good, especially when you stay here for a longer period of time like I always do. It is good to have variation and quality. Of course the other facilities are also great. You have the gym which is really nice. Especially during winter time I need to do a lot of strength work and core work. At the end it is the staff which is great. They know what sportspeople want and know that they are sometimes a little bit crazy J especially when they are in groups together. I can definitely find some reasons why I come here and why I did my preparations pretty much here.

Let´s move over to the short questions.

  • What is your favorite meal?

Pizza

  • Who is your favorite triathlete?

Besides me? I would say Jan Frodeno because he is a friend of mine, but also a very strong motivation for me.

  • And your favorite female triathlete?

There are a lot of nice people in sports. If I have to pick one I would say Åsa Lindström which is together with me in team Orca. She is a pretty intelligent girl and it is always nice to chat with her even if you do not want to talk about triathlon.

  • What´s your favorite place to live?

To live forever I would pick Maui.

  • How many hours do you train in a week?

Between 30 and 40 hours.

  • Swimming, biking or running?

We call it triathlon so it is all of them J

  • How many hours do you sleep?

I try to sleep as many hours as possible as I like sleeping. I sleep about 8.5 hours per night and then I try to squeeze in another 1.5 hours.

  • Our national sport is siesta. Do you nap?

Yes, definitely. Napping is my favorite hobby.

  • How many bikes do you have?

A lot. I would say at least 12.

  • What is your favorite distance and / or race?

My favorite race is XTerra Maui.

  • Any superstitions?

Not really. I believe in preparation and in what I can do so none of that.

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