Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Training Confidential: Sir Chris Hoy

ChrisHoy-TrainingConfidential-HERO.jpg

Chris Hoy has won almost as many gongs as The Artist, and they’re not all for pedalling fast, with a knighthood in 2009 to go alongside his four Olympic golds (in 2004 and 2008) and one silver (in 2000). We talk to him about the training methods that can propel you to the Palace.

What keeps you motivated?

Motivation comes from knowing that what you do every day is a small piece of the whole thing. You don’t have to worry about the bigger picture, all you do is the session you’re doing that day. If you hit every single session to the best of your ability, then you perform to your best.

What’s the toughest thing about training?

It’s the pain. The pain, the sickness, the nausea you get in certain sessions. It’s putting yourself through that every day.

What sort of session makes you sick?

I find that the worst events are the sprint competitions that last a bit longer, like the Keirin or the kilometre time trial. You have to be good at dealing with the lactic acid that builds up in your legs. The training you do for that is typically interval-based in short intense bursts with restricted recovery. Your body isn’t flushing out any lactic acid between each effort, and each effort brings more and more fatigue — by the last effort it’s just horrendous, your whole body is shutting down. You crash out on the floor and curl up in a little ball and it gets worse for about 15 minutes. Quite often you’re sick, but it makes the biggest difference to your overall performance.

Do you have any cheat days?

Not so much at this time of the year, but I do in the off-season. I love my wife’s banana bread. I’ll buy some bananas, hide them, let them go off for a little bit and then tell her she’ll have to make some banana bread now. In the off-season you can relax and have a few beers, a bottle of wine — you don’t have many opportunities in an Olympic year. It’s almost become routine now. It was eight months before the 2000 Games in Sydney when I decided to not have a single beer until the Games. I’m sure one beer wouldn’t hurt, but I thought, “If I don’t win, I can say I’ve done the best I can,” and wouldn’t look back and think, “I wish I had changed that.”

Do you incorporate other sports into your training?

No, because the training we do is so specific. We don’t do a lot of gym work. The only thing you don’t do on the bike is weight-lifting, and even then it’s purely muscles that you use on the bike. We don’t do any running at all.

What advice would you give to people starting out?

Don’t think too far ahead, because people can psych themselves out. If you’re training for a marathon eight months away, try to run a mile or two miles. If people are barely able to finish the mile, they think, “How the hell am I going to do 26 miles?” Don’t look at the top of the mountain, literally and figuratively, just take one step at a time and you won’t be overwhelmed.

What’s the best way to recover?

Make sure you warm down at the end of the session. Do some of the stuff you do when you warm up. Winding down with very low intensity helps to flush out the toxins in your legs. Often, maybe twice a week, I get a massage, which isn’t a pleasant experience — it’s not all candlelight and scented oil, it’s elbows right in and a lot of pain, a lot of grabbing of the table, but it helps the muscles.

Do you have anything waxed to help the aerodynamics?

I just shave my legs. We have full-length skin suits, so you don’t have to do your arms. I’ll trim my hand hair for the Olympics — you have to keep little things up your sleeve for the big one [laughs]. You can’t underestimate the importance of the kit, skin suits and bike. Everything we do is about reducing aerodynamic drag. Little wrinkles are picked up when you’re testing. The body is the part that’s pushing the air, so the kit has to be efficient.

Do you do any mental preparation?

Yes, a lot: visualising the perfect race in your head, visualising the things that could go wrong, so they don’t throw you. You don’t want to be anxious, but you want to use the adrenaline, so there’s a fine line.

Related

TC-James-Anderson-HERO.jpg

Training Confidential: James Anderson

BenFoden-HERO.jpg

Training Confidential: Ben Foden

MoFarah-HERO.jpg

Training Confidential: Mo Farah

Comments

More

BT Sport is about to start showing live games of FIFA 17

Would you tune in to watch the FIFA pros?

by Alex Finnis
23 Feb 2017

Morrisons want Sutton's Wayne Shaw as an official pie-taster

This was inevitable

by Alex Finnis
21 Feb 2017

Sutton United's Wayne Shaw resigns over pie-eating betrayal of footbal

Is nothing pure?

by Sam Diss
21 Feb 2017

The original green Power Ranger wants to fight CM Punk

Would watch

21 Feb 2017

Arsenal have a tiny dressing room at Sutton away

by Alex Finnis
20 Feb 2017

Liverpool FC ban The Sun journalists from Anfield

A full Sun shun

by Gary Ogden
10 Feb 2017

Five football club badges reimagined for the corporate era

Embrace the prawn sandwiches guys, embrace them

26 Jan 2017

Usain Bolt loses Olympic Gold after teammate's doping conviction

The sprinter's 'triple treble' is no more

25 Jan 2017

How Eric Cantona's kung-fu kick changed my life

22 years to the day, one writer muses over that infamous night at Selhurst Park

by Dave Fawbert
24 Jan 2017

Senegal goalkeeper pulls the most ridiculous time-wasting trick ever

That's one way to kill a few seconds

by Dave Fawbert
24 Jan 2017