DOMINIQUE MEIER AND NEIL MCLOUGHLIN
The last athlete that qualified for Kona by following Spindler’s approach is Dominique Meier, a Swiss athlete in the 25–29 age group, who qualified in South Africa averaging 12 hours of training per week.
“When I looked at his file on Xhale that gives the averages, I was pretty surprised,” says Spindler. “But then I looked back at other athletes and found another example.” British athletes Neil McLoughlin tried to qualify for Kona for more than 20 years, but never succeeded. After he started with Spindler in 2013, he qualified twice.
An example of how Spindler’s method worked and didn’t work at the same time for the same person is age-grouper Oliver Klaus. A busy professional from Switzerland, Klaus started to work with Spindler in 2013, when he was on the board of Swisscom, the telecommunications provider.
“He had an incredibly busy schedule,” says Spindler. “And he performed very well when he had a
busy work schedule because that kept him from training too much. But later, during a sabbatical year, he spent three months in Mallorca training full time and living like a pro. What happened is that he trained himself into a hole. When he trained double the previous amount, he didn’t perform well in race nor qualify for Kona.”
When Klaus had limited amount of time to invest into his training, he knew he had to nail every single session at his best. When, on the other hand, he had the flexibility to put in much more volume, he simply wasn’t performing at the same level.
“When you observe that the athlete is too tired it is already too late,” adds Spindler. “And that was a big lesson for me. You need to have the right mix; more is not always better, although there are athletes who respond very well to the volumes.”
Same for pros: some are just training an average of 16 hours leading into Kona, while others need 34 hours per week before the biggest event of the year.
“It doesn’t matter how much athletes train,” says Spindler. “What it really matters is how good they do in the race.”