How Kate Strong became a world champion triathlete in 14 months

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(Literal) Text Transcription of the video :

Olivier Roland: Hello! My intelligent rebels. I’m here with Kate Strong. Hello Kate, what’s up?

Kate Strong: Very good, thank you. How are you?

Olivier Roland: I’m fantastic. So, Kate, we did an interview for my French Channel and it was in French because you speak very good French even though you’re British and also Australian, right?

Kate Strong: Merci. British and Australian, yeah.

Olivier Roland: And I wanted to interview you in English because you have such a fantastic story to share. Let’s just break the suspense here. What did you do? What did you achieve?

Kate Strong: I was Age Group World Champion in triathlon. So in 14 months, when I started to train in swimming, cycling, and running. By the end of that, I was number one in the world in long-distance triathlon.

Olivier Roland: Can you believe that? Just so I’m sure that everyone understands. You discovered triathlon at what age?

Kate Strong: 34, 35.

Olivier Roland: And 14 months later, you were worldwide champion. How cool is that? And you didn’t stop there because also, you became the first woman to do 24 hours of cycling, right?

Kate Strong: On a static bicycle.

Olivier Roland: Right.

Kate Strong: So, I didn’t go anywhere.

Olivier Roland: But in your room.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: You had a few breaks to refresh and stuff like that, but you were the first very woman in the world.

Kate Strong: Yes.

Olivier Roland: So, we are with a celebrity right here. Okay so, can you first explain what did you do before going to the triathlon? What was your life?

Kate Strong: Quiet, it was quite a normal life. I went to university, I studied in France so I got a double master’s in Mechanical Engineering and worked in aerospace and realized that a normal life just wasn’t for me.

So that’s why I moved to Australia and I bought a dilapidated building with my then-partner and we converted it into a guesthouse restaurant, wine bar, and events.

And when our relationship sort of broke down, that’s the day I sort of, sat down and had a real recalibration in my life and when… For 9 years, you’ve been working really hard to build this million-dollar business, but you’ve sacrificed so much and it’s just not in balance like you’ve got all of these assets but you are sad.

So what’s the one thing that would make your heart sing, Kate?

And when I looked back, I realized that it was getting back balance of being out in nature, swimming, cycling, and running and just discovering my body again. And that’s what I did.

Before that, I was an engineer, a business owner, and just lived a normal life, going out with friends. And that’s what I did.

Olivier Roland: When you say normal life, you mean like the typical life of a stressed entrepreneur, right? So, you were working like maybe 60 hours a week, something like that.

Kate Strong: Minimum.

Olivier Roland: Minimum.

Kate Strong: Seven days a week, yeah.

Olivier Roland: Wow. So, you didn’t have time to, yeah like do sports and enjoy…

Kate Strong: Well, I did.

Olivier Roland: Ah, you did.

Kate Strong: But I believed I didn’t.

Olivier Roland: Ah, interesting.

Kate Strong: You know “I haven’t got time, I’m too stressed. Don’t ask me to do that”.

But then, when I decided to do a triathlon, nothing changed in my circumstances. I still had my guesthouse, I still had “no money” and “no time”. I just made time. And that’s the difference.

Olivier Roland: That’s interesting. We will go back to that because it’s so interesting.

And usually, it’s often a paradox like people say “I’m too busy, I don’t have time to do sports, to meditate”. And they don’t realize that to have more time in their lives, they need to do sports and to meditate and they will be more focussed, happier and more productive too.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Right? So, how did you discover triathlon and how did you get the idea of becoming a worldwide champion so fast?

Kate Strong: Well, let’s rewind a little bit to 2005. I did a half Ironman. So that’s… I wanted to be an ironman after travelling for a year and I did a half and I decided to…

Olivier Roland: So, what is Ironman for people who don’t know?

ironman kate strong triathlon

Kate Strong: Okay. So, it’s a sort of distance. It’s a 3.8-kilometer swim followed by a 180-kilometer cycle. And then, you finish off with the marathon. So, a 42.2-kilometer run.

Olivier Roland: And it’s the definition of triathlon, right?

Kate Strong: That’s a distance, a set distance. There are five different distances. That’s just the longest run, I would say.

So, I did a half. And then, people in my life were saying “You’ve done really well, you can stop now.”

Olivier Roland: But did you prepare for that?

Kate Strong: Not really.

Olivier Roland: Really?

Kate Strong: A lot of imagination.

Olivier Roland: Okay.

Kate Strong: A visualization but not a lot of acts. I finished dead like, I was…

Olivier Roland: Completely.

Kate Strong: Yeah. I was really hurting.

Olivier Roland: And you were definitely not first, right?

Kate Strong: No. I finished with the T-shirts. So that’s how far back I was.

Olivier Roland: Okay.

Kate Strong: But I completed it. And all my friends and family were like “You’ve done so well, you don’t have to do anymore”. And I believed them, and that’s when I stopped.

So now I go forward 10 years and I’m looking for something to do in my life to really reignite the passion for living. And I remembered I gave up on that dream.

And I said “Well, what if you just try it again Kate?” because today, I’m the youngest I will ever be in my life. So, if I don’t start today…

Olivier Roland: I like that. Yeah.

Kate Strong: When are you going to start?

Olivier Roland: So, it was a way for you to heal a little bit after your separation and to enjoy life again, right?

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Awesome. I like this. You will never be as young as now. That is so true.

Kate Strong: It is.

Olivier Roland: Ok. So, you decided to go back to it so, what’s next? What did you do?

Kate Strong: Well, I put on my trainers and I ran.

Olivier Roland: That’s it.

Kate Strong: I think half a mile into running, I stopped. My lungs were on fire, my legs were red, I couldn’t see, I was losing vision, I could still see the house. So, I just walked back home and went…. Yeah, we need to do this a bit more.

Olivier Roland: Wow. Okay.

Kate Strong: After, you know, three or four times a week, after finishing work at 9 p.m., I put my head torch on and I’d run just a little bit further, and just a little bit further.

And then, I could run to the end of the road without stopping. And I could return without stopping, and it built on from that.

Olivier Roland: So, your goal was to just complete an ironman at this time. You didn’t want to be a worldwide champion.

Kate Strong: Well, I actually said “I want to be a world champion”.

Olivier Roland: Really? From the start?

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: It’s very ambitious when you were like an overworked entrepreneur and just a few weeks ago, you felt you didn’t have time.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: So, what made you set up this ambitious goal?

Kate Strong: I was invited into a TEDx talk in a local school and that’s when I said “Who am I to cap my potential?”

Olivier Roland: Interesting.

Kate Strong: So, I said… Yeah?

Olivier Roland: So, one of the talks  inspired you?

Kate Strong: My own talk inspired me.

Olivier Roland: Ah, your own talk. It’s amazing. Okay.

Kate Strong: I feel like “Yeah, I might”.

Olivier Roland: Actually, I should inspire my own advice. Yeah, good.

Kate Strong: Yeah. So, if I said “I want to just finish it”, do you know what? I will just finish it. If I say “I want to be top one hundred”, do you know what? I will be top one hundred.

And I have no idea if I could have been 99th or 95th. But, if I just say “I want to be number one”, not with ego, not like I deserve it but just “Just go for it Kate and see where you end up.” Because I might end up 50th, but I would never have ended up 50th if I was aiming for a hundred.

Olivier Roland: Right.

Kate Strong: So, I said “Just do it.” Just Aim for the stars and you might reach the moon, but you’ll never get to the stars if you don’t.

Olivier Roland: So, you decided to train a lot but at the time, you still had this break …

Kate Strong: Break up?

Olivier Roland: No, this like hotel, right?

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: So, how did you do to organize? And did you just magically find time?

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Yeah?

Kate Strong: I have some very supportive friends. So, at the beginning, you imagine I can’t run a mile and I say “I want to be number one in the world”, and you’re like “Yeah, Kate.”

Olivier Roland: I imagine that.

Kate Strong: You know, “What are you drinking?  Can I have some too?”

But because every day they saw me in the morning. At 4 in the morning before work, running up and down that road or cycling up and down the street, or you know going to the local swimming pool or…

Every day, day in day out, slowly, the whole village started to believe me or “She might not make number one in the world, but she might, you know, make nationals or something.”

Olivier Roland: They saw you were dedicated.

Kate Strong: Yeah. So, they started to believe my journey and to come along and go “How can we help?”

Olivier Roland: Oh, really?

Kate Strong: Some people would then come and watch the guests. So, I’d make all the rooms.

Olivier Roland: Wow, awesome.

Kate Strong: Because it’s quite physically demanding with the guesthouse. You know, make the rooms and clean the beds and the bathrooms. And they would sit there, just to make sure the guests were welcomed.

So, they all started to support me in my dream which gave me more time. But I still wake up at 4 in the morning and go running for 2, 3 hours before work or cycle.

how to become number one triathlon by kate strong

Olivier Roland: Wow.

Kate Strong: And then 8 – 9 p.m. at night after all the guests were settled. And then, I’d do the same.

Olivier Roland: What? You were training after 9 p.m.?

Kate Strong: Yeah. That’s…

Olivier Roland: But… Okay. So, you went to bed at midnight?

Kate Strong: Sometimes, yeah.

Olivier Roland: And you were waking up at 4 a.m. So, did you sleep for 4 hours?

Kate Strong: Pretty much, yeah.

Olivier Roland: No way, for how long?

Kate Strong: Two years.

Olivier Roland: So, you’re the type of person who can do that.

Kate Strong: Yeah, I always listen to my body. So, I usually had a half hour or maybe one hour siesta in a day and that was enough. But it’s the nutrition as well.

So, I started to play, I ate healthy like everyone. You know, a little a bit about everything’s good for you. But I realized, if I ate some things, my body recovered quicker. So, I could get more from my training. Or, I would fall asleep better if I didn’t eat certain things before dinner or before bed.

So, I really played with my food until I found the perfect support because food is fuel. Basically, it’s to help us or poison us. That’s the short of it.

So, I found things that just fueled me, to give me what I needed in order to be always not just healthy but so far away from being unhealthy. There was never a question of me not getting the most from my body.

Olivier Roland: So, what was your typical dish, your typical meal? All the magical recipe you found that enhanced your sleep and performances.

Kate Strong: It’s actually the order you eat things. So for coffee or stimulants should we say, so caffein and teas, only between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. So never before and never after.

My body always produced its own chemicals to wake me up. Because if you drink it in the morning, your body stops producing that and you become addicted and dependent. And afterwards, that’s when it starts to interrupt your sleep patterns.

And in the morning, I would always have beetroot juice, orange juice, and then I would eat. So, beetroot juice helps your muscle recovery, orange juice helps you absorb iron. And I’d also add chia seeds which is a great source of Omega as well as calcium.

So, I made sure I always started with an overdose of vitamins and minerals and nutrients. Afterwards, my body was like sucking in the goodness.

Olivier Roland: How did you discover that? Did you read a lot of books? Did you do a lot of experiments or was it a combination of both?

Kate Strong: Yeah. So a trial and error. I see what works on me and then after…

Olivier Roland: How did you see that? It was just feelings? Did you write in a journal?

Kate Strong: It was feelings.

Olivier Roland: Okay.

Kate Strong: And then, I back it up with scientifics. You know, I’m an engineer, I need to know if it’s just me or if it’s the truth.

Olivier Roland: Right.

Kate Strong: I’ve read white papers that are not sponsored by companies. So, I knew that they were independent.

Olivier Roland: So, the white papers gave you ideas of food to try, and then, you saw if it would be…

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: …have a good impact or not.

Kate Strong: Yeah, both ways. So sometimes, I do something and “Wow, I feel great” or “Oh, I feel shit”. And then, I see why or I’d read something good “Oh, I’m going to try that.” They both helped each other.

Olivier Roland: So, you created these diets to help you a lot to sleep less and to have time to do all the training.

And it’s so interesting what you shared also about all these people trying to help you. It’s like often something like people… I can see when you set up a very big goal and people see you really search about it, like the universe sometimes conspires to help you.

It’s like some people go as far as things like the law of attraction. But, you don’t even have to say that. It’s just like people want to help when they see someone with their real ambition and struggles to achieve that. So, wow.

Did you hire a trainer or have someone to train you or did you do that all by yourself?

Kate Strong: I did have a trainer who sent me… but I’ve never met her.

Olivier Roland: What?

Kate Strong: So, she sent me every week an Excel spreadsheet of what to do.

Olivier Roland: She was like the voice in the cloud.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Watching you from above.

Kate Strong: Yeah. And so, I’d look at it. I compare what she’s asked me with my work schedule and change it the way… to make sure I could do it.

Olivier Roland: Because you couldn’t find anyone in your village, right?

Kate Strong: No

Olivier Roland: You were living in a small one.

Kate Strong: I lived in the mountains. So, there were 2,000 people. It is a beautiful village but it is more retirement and you go there to relax, lots of artists. But not too many people who want to go running or cycle for 100 kilometers at 4 in the morning.

Olivier Roland: What? Okay.

But, you were mostly by yourself. Did you use like … What did you use to stay motivated because, I’m sure, at some point you were like maybe it’s too hard…

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: What if I just, you know, drop it?

Kate Strong: Well, at the beginning it was just the drive to feel alive. For me, it was almost catching up nine years because I felt that I’ve been so focused on my business that I’d lost life which… It was more anger that kept me going “Yeah, you have to do this, you’ve got to explode back into living.”

But afterwards, it was my “Why,” it was realizing. So, I had five words that I use as a mantra which was focus, love, journey, passion, and inspire.

And so, that’s what I wanted to create in my life and also to use in my life. So, follow my light because you’re inspiring others.

There’s a beautiful story. One of my last training sessions, it was in winter, I just cycled a hundred and eighty kilometers. I was so cold. I couldn’t even undo my shoes.

Olivier Roland: Oh, really?

Kate Strong: So, my friend, Brett is his name, he helped take my shoes off and he said “You know, you’re going to stop” and I… “No, I have to run 30 kilometers.”

Olivier Roland: Wow.

Kate Strong: So, he put my trainers on for me, I got a running jacket and I left. And I used to run along the railway line because it was one of the very few flat places where I lived, albeit covered in gravel.

So, I was running along the railway track in the dark with my head torch. And then, I saw a light behind me and it was Brett on his bicycle because he realized that I was so cold and tired, I wasn’t… there’s a possibility of me falling.

Olivier Roland: Oh, so…

Kate Strong: And as I was running with watching my light, he had shined his light in front of me and I started to cry, because I realized in that moment that I was following my own path and I’d inspired and lit up someone else’s light.

And it was now their light, they were shining on my journey to make sure that I succeeded.

Olivier Roland: Wow.

Kate Strong: So, it was just everyone supporting everyone.

And from there, Brett competed in sports that he never thought he did. Other friends of mine set up businesses and, you know, it inspired everyone to look into their own lives and go “Well, if she can do it, there’s nothing stopping me now there is there.”

Olivier Roland: Awesome.

Kate Strong: It was just amazing.

Olivier Roland: So, it’s amazing because you inspired also people to do something in their life. I mean, do something ambitious.

And it also created a positive social pressure on you, because they were looking at you as a role model and you couldn’t fail them. Right?

Kate Strong: Completely.

Olivier Roland: Right, because you know if you would like drop it, a lot of people would drop their dreams too.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: So, it’s a lot of responsibility but it gives you also a lot of energy. Right?

Kate Strong: Definitely.

Olivier Roland: So, It’s also a hack people can use when they have this very ambitious goal and it’s like just shout it to tell everyone you know about it. So, you created this kind of positive social pressure.

Kate Strong: And back it up with action.

Olivier Roland: Yeah, right. Important.

Kate Strong: Because they never believed the words until every day for a week or a month, it depends, each person was different, but yeah… Then, they saw me doing it and went “I believe her now.” So, whatever you say, do action with it.

Olivier Roland: Right, one time I launched my blog in French with this goal of reading 52 amazing books in one year and publishing a summary every week.

I just made it a very public goal and it helped me a lot to be motivated to do it because every day or almost every day, someone will comment or send an email saying “So, where are you with this amazing project? How is it going?”

So, It’s like “Okay, I cannot procrastinate too much because a lot of people are watching me now”. So, that’s cool.

Kate Strong: Yeah. So, this week’s the thin book but you still did it.

Olivier Roland: And so… You also, I think, I remember from the interview we did in French, that you also… you did training with some friends at the beginning. Right?

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Yes. Can you share a little bit what you did do with them? Did it help you to stay motivated at the beginning?

Kate Strong: Yeah, one of the sort of training competitions I set in the middle was to win an ultra-marathon. So, it was just great to go out and run with friends in the forest, in the bush.

to run in forest with friends mental championship

Olivier Roland: What is ultra-marathon? Is it more than 42?

Kate Strong: Yes, I mean I just did more. I did 50 kilometers, not 42 kilometers.

Olivier Roland: Okay, 50.

Kate Strong: Anything over a marathon is called an ultra.

Olivier Roland: Okay. So, that was your first goal as a step.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Towards the ironman. Okay.

Kate Strong: Yeah. I’m sure you know this and you do it in your life. But I always wanted to be just outside my comfort zone.

Olivier Roland: Right. Baby steps.

Kate Strong: So, if I… “A marathon was “I think I can do it, fine. I will add 8 kilometres.” So, it had to scare me.

Olivier Roland: Interesting.

Kate Strong: So, I always wanted to just take…

Olivier Roland: You had to….

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Just when you have a challenge and you’re motivated to put some effort and resources.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: To overcome it.

Kate Strong: Because if I don’t, I didn’t know if I could do it.

That’s when I started to work my mindset, because when you’re doing something you don’t believe you can, that’s when you have to really step up mentally as well, well, for me.

Olivier Roland: So, you involved some friends in this goal?

Kate Strong: Yes, we’d go running in the forest together following single tracks in the blue mountains of Australia. And it was interesting because back then, I had asthma and people could hear me three houses away coming because I sounded like a steam train.

Olivier Roland: Can you do a steam train? Can you do it?

Kate Strong: I can actually!

So, yes, it was just great to have friends and they carried on just running. And I obviously added swimming and cycling to it.

But just getting out and knowing there’s people there and again it’s the accountability, especially the morning or the evening. Whatever’s the weak spots, knowing you’ve got two people waiting for you at half-past five.

Olivier Roland: It helps a lot.

Kate Strong: You go there. Sometimes for them, sometimes for you but always really achieve together.

Olivier Roland: Right, I mean I remember I was not as ambitious as you but I would want to do some sport, and before I was like a real geek. On my computer all the time, no sport at all and I was like “It would be awesome to do some work out”. But you know how it goes.

I go to the gym, I take like a three-month subscription and I go two times. You know typical story.

I was like “How can I motivate myself to go at least once a week?” And I just found the hack which was to tell a friend “Hey, let’s go to the gym every Sunday together!” And it was created by some magic, motivation from thin hair.

Because we were at our homes, separate and we were like “oh, I’m not motivated, I don’t want to go”. But, I cannot call my friend and tell him I’m just dropping him, you know? It’s not cool. So, “Let’s go”.

And what is so ironic is he’s thinking the same thing at the same time. You know?

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: He’s not motivated but the only fact that you have this meeting together, it creates some motivation, external motivation and you’re like “Okay, let’s go”.

And then, you’re very happy to have done it.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: So, it’s something you can also use, and even though you don’t have maybe this ambitious goal just for daily stuff like I did, to go every Sunday, it works too.

But, it’s amazing to see it also work when you want to be a worldwide champion, that’s cool. It was your first step to do an ultra marathon? So, you did it?

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: How many months after you started to train again?

Kate Strong: Well, I started training… It took me about 12 months should we say to get to an ultra-marathon. From nothing to…

Olivier Roland: 50, to 50 kilometres.

Kate Strong: Yeah, to 50. So that was in June, I’m just about my dates. October was my first long triathlon. So, July, August, September… Four months.

Olivier Roland: Four months.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Well. You took one year to do the ultra marathon. And it was very fast between that and the triathlon. Was it because you felt you were ready?

Kate Strong: Yeah. It was my mindset because… we create the life we live in.

You know, the most powerful tool we have is words. And so, when I said, “Oh, I need a year to train.” Do you know what I needed? – A year to train.

So, when I said “I’m ready today. I’ll do it,” I only needed to wait till the next triathlon date.

Olivier Roland: So, it was 14 months after.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: All right. So, fast forward to it?

Kate Strong: So, the worldwide champion…. So, like qualified to compete for Australia, as you know, I’m Australian as well and it was in China, I was completely unknown.

I arrived in China, I was so unknown that I didn’t actually have the official t-shirt for Australia, so I was in this wearing a little white top, I was wearing and everyone else was in their kit.

It’s a weird distance. It is four kilometres swimming and I always get out around half. So, I knew that people have left because the bicycles have gone. So, half the bicycles had already left.

And we have a 120 kilometres of cycling and a really intense sun and very humid conditions about 70% humidity, 30°C temperatures. I just loved it. The Chinese drums were out. My parents had flown to China as well.

Olivier Roland: From the UK.

Kate Strong: From the UK, yeah.

When I got off the bike I knew I was getting… There’s about at least six or seven girls ahead of me.

Olivier Roland: Wow.

Kate Strong: And so, I just started to run and I was high-fiving the kids, I was waving at my parents.

I was just loving it because what I said beforehand, before we started, everyone was being asked “How are you?” and everyone’s excuses were coming out “Oh, my ankle hurts. I might not have a good day today” or what do you want to be? And they were like “Oh, top ten. I’d be really happy top ten”.

And I was one of the last they asked and I said “Well, she wants to be top ten, she said podium, she’d be happy with a medal.” I said, “No one said first.” I said, “Well, you know…”

Olivier Roland: It would be me. Thank you.

Kate Strong: I think that’s what I have to take because no one else has said it. And so, I just ran.

Olivier Roland: And you think it was a factor for your winning, right?

Kate Strong: I think again, it released the pressure. I didn’t care where I came but I just wanted to do my best.

Olivier Roland: How did they react when you said that?

Kate Strong: When they said that?

Olivier Roland: No, when you said “I will be the first.”

Kate Strong: It was so strange, it was just awesome. There was no “Hum, I’m going to force this” and there was no “Mmm…”

Olivier Roland: It was natural.

Kate Strong: It was just, you know, I have blue eyes and I’m going to be first.

Olivier Roland: No particular reason, you just want it.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Okay. So, for swimming and cycling, you were a little behind.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: You said 60 people in front of you.

Kate Strong: 6 people.

Olivier Roland: Oh, 6. Okay, so not too bad. So, you start to run and to a high-five children.

Kate Strong: Yeah, just mum and dad were saying“Stop this here, stop being so friendly. You’ve got to be competitive.” I went “why?”

You know, I want to enjoy… Today is the moment now as well as when I cross the finishing line.

Olivier Roland: How did you bypass the 6 people in front of you?

Kate Strong: It was multiple laps and there’s a big hill in the middle. And I love hills and I trained a lot in the mountains.

Olivier Roland: Oh, so, it was your advantage.

Kate Strong: Yeah. So, I used to… wait, it’s a bit of strategy now. So, I used to wait behind some girls. If I saw some girls, I would sprint up to the top of the hill and then wave at the top because again it’s the mindset.

Olivier Roland: You wanted them to exhaust themselves by running… Oh, interesting.

Kate Strong: Yeah. For me, it was a way of saying they were already tired up the hill, if I’m looking like I’m enjoying the uphill so much, their mind might be questioning if they could even catch me.

So, I knew that if I got to the top of that hill first, the probability is they wouldn’t try and catch me. It was just to make sure…

Olivier Roland: Awesome.

Kate Strong: So, it was just to make sure…

Olivier Roland: That’s very smart.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: It reminds me of what Arnold Schwarzenegger did for his competition. Like, he was used to provoking his competitors a little bit before the competition. So, they were a little bit more nervous. And you know this kind of stuff so it’s like…

Kate Strong: Yeah, but I did it nicely.

Olivier Roland: Yeah.

Kate Strong: But it’s the same result.

Olivier Roland: It’s fair, I mean. It’s like a competition, so… Hello girls…

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Will you catch me?

Kate Strong: Yes and “Are you having fun too? Ah Really?

Olivier Roland: Awesome. Ok. So just like that, slowly you…

Kate Strong: Well, like…

Olivier Roland: You were the first.

Kate Strong: I crossed the line and I didn’t know.

Olivier Roland: Ah, you didn’t know that you were the first?

Kate Strong: So, we all go to the compounds for the, you know, after the event no Chinese would let me out. And then, after half an hour, they called me to the podium and I find out that I’m first.

kate strong winner triathlon

Olivier Roland: Woohoo, congrats. How did you feel about that?

Kate Strong: Amazing!

Olivier Roland: How many people did compete?

Kate Strong: I’m not sure actually. I think they were triple digits but I don’t know what.

Olivier Roland: Like one hundred or…

Kate Strong: Yeah, they weren’t massive amounts but it was the best of each country.

Olivier Roland: Wow.

Kate Strong: It was amazing. Well, there were about 1500 in the whole competition but for my Age group, maybe 100, maybe 150.

Olivier Roland: And so, in retrospect, what is the biggest thing you did that allowed you to have this success?

Kate Strong: Routine.

Olivier Roland: Routine. So, you were training every day?

Kate Strong: It was… Yes, I was.

Olivier Roland: Every day.

Kate Strong: Every day.

Olivier Roland: Okay.

Kate Strong: But it was …You know, I also had the work, I had a social life that I created, I call them “bookend routines”.

Whenever my day started even if it was late or early, I always did the same routine. So, I always ate the same food, as we talked about earlier. I always did Chi Gong which is a sort of my type of meditation, movements to wake me up energetically and give me 20 minutes to process my brain. I always did that at the beginning, and for the night, it was always the same routine.

So, no electricals in my bedroom, I had an old-school alarm clock and the phone was always out half an hour before, no nerve stimulation through screens. I didn’t own a television but a computer etc., and drank more water, so…

Olivier Roland: No alcohol?

Kate Strong: No alcohol

Olivier Roland: Not at all.

Kate Strong: Afterparty, yes.

Olivier Roland: Okay.

Kate Strong: But a week after every event I just let my… I did what I wanted, I didn’t… if I didn’t want to drink, brilliant. If I wanted to go out with girlfriends and celebrate, I did.

So, yeah. That was built in freedom but everything was structured. Once a week, I cook all my meals for the week. Once a month, I cook all my training food and freeze them in portions.

So, my life was super structured and it sounds very controlling but in that, I had so much freedom because when I wasn’t, I just had so much more time.

So, I have never had a story of no time.

Olivier Roland: Awesome.

Kate Strong: It was just the routine that created that life and that could be for anything now. I’m not training now, but I’m using that to build my business, you know to create…

Olivier Roland: Right. Something you have for life now, you know it works.

Kate Strong: Exactly.

Olivier Roland: It doesn’t mean it’s not difficult or you don’t have to put in some work. But, you know you have this structure that works.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: That’s awesome. It’s like… it’s also connected to this method of putting big rocks first, in your schedule. So, you can achieve things.

I’m sure you heard the story of… you know, you take this for example and you put big rocks in it and then you put like small rocks and then you put sands and then you put water and at the end it’s filled with everything.

But if you begin with the sand or the water, you cannot put the big rocks. Right?

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: And it’s a good analogy for what you have to do in your schedule to accomplish things. Because if you start your day by doing Facebook and Instagram and this kind of stuff, you do not have time for anything. Right?

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Yeah. So, that’s a good example of the amazing success you have with this method.

So, you become a worldwide champion, you felt amazing but so, I mean… for example, when I accomplish some of the goals I was dreaming of, it’s amazing for a while.

But after, I mean me for example, I felt sometimes a bit empty because I was like “Ok, that’s what I dream for example for two years or for 14 months. So, now what’s next?” Did you feel that too?

Kate Strong: A little bit, yeah. For me, I love new things. So, to do the same thing every year would have emotionally tired me out.

Olivier Roland: So, you wanted new challenges.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: What was your next challenges?

Kate Strong: Well, I’d still completed the tracks. The following year, I competed in 5 world championships. I didn’t win them, but it was amazing to travel the world through triathlon and I sold my business in Australia. And I started to look at my life and go well…

to travel the world through triathlon

Olivier Roland: So, you were like completely free.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: When you did that. Yeah.

Kate Strong: Yeah. So, I just looked at my life and said “You’ve achieved this, you can prove you can do it. So what?

Imagine how you can inspire other people, but not just doing talks where people clap and go “Oh, wow, you’re amazing” or “That was really interesting” and leave.

How can you give, like plant the seed almost or water the seed that’s in them? So, that’s why I created this 24-hour World Records challenge for me because I knew…

Olivier Roland: How long it was after you won the championship?

Kate Strong: I was world champion in 2014, this was completed in 2016.

Olivier Roland: Ok, so, two years. I mean, you didn’t wait too long.

Kate Strong: Yes. Right.

Olivier Roland: Ok, so, how did you find this goal first?

Kate Strong: I was researching what world records existed.

Olivier Roland: Ah, Okay.

Kate Strong: And there’s a man who won but not a woman won. And I thought “Well, we can’t have that, now can we?”

So, I applied to Guinness and asked if I could do it and they said “Yes.” And the reason I chose that is, I had no question I could do it physically. I doubted if I could survive it for 24 hours because albeit I didn’t sleep a lot I value sleep a lot.

So for 24 hours, I was like “Oh gosh, how will I cope emotionally?” And I also knew I needed a team around me. That is my weakness.

Because to trust other people, I had to entrust my friends to tell me when I needed to break, other people to monitor the machinery, someone else to live stream it, someone else to help me with nutrition because when you do sport you don’t feel hungry but you still have to eat.

So, somebody else… So, I had to trust and entrust a lot of people and that really elevated my life. They were all part of it.

Olivier Roland: Because you, like most entrepreneurs, you like to control things. It’s difficult for you to delegate.

Kate Strong: And let go, yeah.

Olivier Roland: And it helped you to let go of it. Interesting.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Okay. So, how long did you train for this challenge?

Kate Strong: Well, not long enough. I trained for maybe 5 months. Don’t forget I was building on a base of very…I was very… already very fit.

Olivier Roland: Right.

Kate Strong: So, maybe 5 months.

Olivier Roland: But you didn’t do it full time because you were also building your business in the UK. Right?

Kate Strong: Well, I actually chose to take a job during that period. So, I was working for a bank one of the big 4 UK banks as a business coaching advisor to help start-up scale up.

But it was quite a high-demanding time job, emotionally stressful. I didn’t cater that into my training. So, to train was becoming a challenge because I was also travelling a lot in the whole of the UK.

So, not very great planning on my part but yes, I trained for about four or five months, and again just overnights, in the morning, before work…

Olivier Roland: Did you do a full 24-hour session before? Oh, it was your first time when you did for the Guinness Book.

Kate Strong: I only trained for 8 hours.

Olivier Roland: Oh, okay, which is still a lot. I mean.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: I’m sure your ass is like hurting after eight hours on the static bicycle. Right?

Kate Strong: Yes, I can tell you a lot about lubrication as well. I think you have to learn!

Olivier Roland: Technically, this 24-hour challenge, you don’t spend 24 hours on the bike. So, you are allowed to have some breaks. Right?

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: So, it’s like every 6 hours?

Kate Strong: You can have as many as you want but the time doesn’t stop. But obviously, your distance will reduce.

Olivier Roland: Ah, okay because you were the first woman to try that, but you wanted to beat the record of the man?

Kate Strong: No. I just wanted to…

Olivier Roland: To set up the highest distance.

Kate Strong: I just wanted to do it, yeah.

Olivier Roland: Yes, okay. But you said “not enough”? It means you’re not happy with the result you got?

Kate Strong: Well, no. I just know that I could… What was missing was exactly that planning it. So, with all this travelling with work and I actually didn’t have an apartment either. So, I was living in 3 or 4 different locations.

My routine was missing. I was too much in my head planning things, so, I actually proved I should have been listening to myself again. So, that was what was missing but I’m very…I loved it, I really enjoyed it.

Olivier Roland: How was the 24 hours? I remember you broadcast it live on Facebook. It was amazing to see people commenting and… Okay, tell us about this day.

Kate Strong: I chose to do it at a festival. I was put in a hallway next to the toilets like really shoved in the corner.

Olivier Roland: Where was it? In London?

Kate Strong: It was in London, yeah.

Olivier Roland: Ok.

Kate Strong: In Olympia. And nobody… There were some people coming along and they were saying “How long?”, “When are you going to stop?” I said “This time tomorrow.”

And so, there was a lot of disbelief. But, what was amazing was by the end of it. There were over 300 people to watch the end.

Olivier Roland: Watching you, surround you.

Kate Strong: Yeah, all down the hallway, all in the corridors.

Olivier Roland: Awesome.

Kate Strong: And people were sending in photographs of their children from Australia, from America, from Sweden. People were calling in day and night to say “You’ve inspired me”, “I’m now on my bike” or even, you know “My son was afraid to try on his bicycle, he’s six, he’s picked his bike up and he’s cycling in the garden.”

And to see the whole world just sort of awaken, and take their dream and bring it to life, it was really amazing.

dreams became reality championship winner triathlon

Because that year, I chose not to do any speaking because I would just stand up and go “Watch me and then do it yourself”.

I’m not going to talk anymore. You’ve got enough knowledge. Just spend this hour not listening to me but doing what you want to do.”

Olivier Roland: Awesome and it’s like… I see, it’s like a big inspiration for you and I mean for a lot of people when you see you inspire others and you help them to overcome their own fears and become a better version of themselves.

Kate Strong: Yeah, it was amazing.

Olivier Roland: Yeah. We see the light in your eyes right now. It’s amazing.

Okay. So, how many people followed you on Facebook? Do you know?

Kate Strong: Oh gosh, I can’t remember. For that moment, I think 10,000 people were watching it live.

Olivier Roland: The video is still online. Right?

Kate Strong: Yes.

Olivier Roland: Did you put an extract on your YouTube channel?

Kate Strong: I will.

Olivier Roland: You will, okay. So, we’ll talk about your YouTube Channel next. Okay. So, you were happy with this? How far did you go? How many kilometres?

Kate Strong: Guess.

Olivier Roland: I don’t know, I have no idea. Okay, wait. If you are on average 20 kilometres per hour but maybe it was a bit more. Okay, let’s say 20.

For 24 hours, it means…You’re not supposed to do math on camera. It can be embarrassing.

Kate Strong: I will tell you. It’s very close, 454 kilometres.

Olivier Roland: So, it’s close to 20 kilometres per hour on average. Ok. Did someone try to beat that since then or not?

Kate Strong: I don’t think so. No.

Olivier Roland: So, you are still the…

Kate Strong: I will always be the woman’s first.

Olivier Roland: Record holder.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Yeah, right. So, you are in the Guinness Book right now.

Kate Strong: No.

Olivier Roland: Oh, why?

Kate Strong: Guinness actually said that I needed to cycle 800 kilometers.

Olivier Roland: 800?

Kate Strong: It’s very technical. So, I could have chosen a bicycle with a really big wheel so if I do it one wheel, it would cover a big distance. I chose a bike that was calibrated to me.

Because then, if someone else does it who is lighter than me or larger than me or have… It was all calibrated to the person. So, I chose to not have the record and to actually do it so other people can compare rather than just get the record.

Olivier Roland: Ok. But were you happy with the results?

Kate Strong: Amazed.

Olivier Roland: Amazed.

Kate Strong: I finished it. 24 hours.

Olivier Roland: Wow. That’s something,

Kate Strong: It was absolutely… yeah.

Olivier Roland: For how many hours did you sleep after that?

Kate Strong: Oh not a lot.

Olivier Roland: Oh, really?

Kate Strong: Maybe 7 hours.

Olivier Roland: Okay.

Kate Strong: I was back at work the next day.

Olivier Roland: For you, it’s like…

Kate Strong: A lie-in.

Olivier Roland: Like two nights in a row almost.

Kate Strong: Well, with the energy for the whole week, I was just alive.

Olivier Roland: But usually, do you sleep 4 hours a night?

Kate Strong: No, I sleep more now.

Olivier Roland: Ok, like 6?

Kate Strong: Yes, 6 to 8.

Olivier Roland: But you’re not like a big sleeper.

Kate Strong: No.

Olivier Roland: Yeah, okay all right. Did you do another challenge since then or…?

Kate Strong: Since then no, no.

Olivier Roland: What’s your next challenge? Everyone is like wondering what she will do next?

Kate Strong: Well, it’s about balance now. So back then, I was single and now I have a partner, I have a stepson as well. And it’s about sort of creating roots, like the strongest tree has the biggest roots. And it’s amazing to float around like a cloud but now, it’s about foundational growth.

foundational growth to build rooth

So, I’m really building a lot of roots. I want to create, similar to you, a business that works for everyone. To inspire them and to actually unpack my life, so other people can use it for their lives too and achieve what they want in their lives.

And from that, I’m talking with charities. So, I do charity work for one company. We support refugee women in Jordan. So, we supply the machines and they make sanitary pads and nappies for the females. And it actually is now reducing sexual attacks in this camp.

So, to be a part of that is amazing. We’re talking about bringing it to the UK for homeless people. Again it’s about giving back to, maybe communities that are overlooked or they have a mindset that says they can’t or they haven’t the resources. It’s to help them that way.

Olivier Roland: So, it’s amazing. It’s still about giving value to people but without the support. Now, it’s more tailored for people in need.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Interesting.

Kate Strong: There is another charity that I’m just starting talking with that is very sporty. So, they climb Everest or they cycle the east coast or west coast of America.

Olivier Roland: To raise awareness for causes?

Kate Strong: To bring teamship into companies. So, you have to work together and you know, work as a unit and respect every position.

So, there’s a lot of leadership, experience in that, and also, yeah, it is to raise money for charity.

But we’re talking about bringing me in to help create the systems for the courses so people can get professional certification from what they will achieve as a leader in that course but through cycling or hiking Everest.

That would bring my sport in as well as my brain. So, I’m quite excited.

Olivier Roland: Will you climb Everest soon or…?

Kate Strong: It’s not on my list. I don’t like the cold.

Olivier Roland: But you are a mountain girl.

Kate Strong: I like the warm.

Olivier Roland: Okay, you like warm mountains.

Kate Strong: Yes, exactly.

Olivier Roland: So, only those four you. Right?

Kate Strong: Exactly.

Olivier Roland: Or, maybe in South America, if it’s not too high.

Kate Strong: Yeah.

Olivier Roland: Okay, awesome. Thank you, Kate. I think we have a very interesting view of what you did and also what you used, like, what strategies and method you used to achieve success.

To finish this interview, do you have a tip you can share with people, like people who watch this entire video which is pretty long?

So, I think people who are still watching that are super motivated like “Yeah, okay, I want to do something amazing too.” What would be your advice for them to start?

Kate Strong: Just start. It sounds that simple. Believe you can. Anything that doesn’t…and be very mindful of the words you use. Only give yourself empowering words.

There’s nothing that can stop you like the bicycle that I won my world championship on cost me 500 US dollars on eBay.

Olivier Roland: Wow, it’s not a big investment.

Kate Strong: It’s nothing to do…your life can be a shambles or super-rich but it’s all in you. So, just start and use words that empower you.

Olivier Roland: Amazing. Okay and for people who want to know more about you. Do you have a YouTube channel?

Kate Strong: I do. All the links are on my website which is

Olivier Roland: Okay.

Kate Strong: And yeah, my intention is, as you were saying earlier to me, is to share daily, to get more active in sharing all of this. My YouTube channel is going live tomorrow.

Olivier Roland: Tomorrow? And you will put an extract of your bicycle challenge.

Kate Strong: Yes, I will.

Olivier Roland: Okay. So, we’ll put the link in the description and the comment, so just check that. Amazing.

Thank you Kate for sharing everything.

Kate Strong: Merci.

Olivier Roland: Awesome. Merci.

So, my intelligent rebels, I hope this interview inspired you. See you next time and in the meantime, don’t forget, be intelligent, be a rebel and be part of the people who do crazy amazing challenges.


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