The University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Lisa Colvin swam, cycled and ran her way to a position on Team USA after competing at the USA Triathlon 2007 Age Group National Championship June 30 near Portland, Ore.
Colvin, interim director of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Louisiana at Monroe beginning July 16, will compete in September as part of Team USA in Hamburg, Germany.
At least 1200 athletes competed on the national level, including 90 women in her division. Her age group is one of 26, with the top 16 in each category gaining positions on Team USA.
ULM’s star triathlete has a history of placing well at the competition. Last year, she earned a position as an alternate to the World Championships.
“When my husband and I saw the results at the national awards ceremony, we were elated,” Colvin said. “He’s my biggest fan. Anyone that’s in an exercise program needs a good support mechanism. The hardest part is walking out the door. Once you get out the door, you’ll complete the exercise.”
When Colvin isn’t fulfilling her academic duties, including work as an active researcher in the field of childhood obesity and the director of ULM’s Human Performance Laboratory, she trains six days a week for the competition—and for the sheer joy of challenging her limitations.
"You have to stretch yourself at least a little, both professionally and physically," she said. "You always need to reevaluate what you're doing."
Colvin said that she changed her training strategy after competing the prior year, even hiring a coach to help her focus and simplify. She opted not to put too heavy a training load on back-to-back days. The end result was improvement on a harder course.
“This course set up well for me. I regularly ride with people who race bicycles—they teach me how to prepare for this kind of terrain. It is an art to be able to ride efficiently and economically down hills and up mountains. You have to gauge your effort over the whole course, as you still have to run six miles after. The run course was really challenging. The only thing flat in the whole thing was the finish line. I’m built to climb, though—that’s one of my strengths.”
She received invaluable assistance from a former graduate student, Matt Nipper, and his wife. Knowing she would compete in their geographic area, they videotaped the course to help her prepare.
“I was honored that they thought so much of me to help me succeed in something that’s technically outside of their normal routine,” Colvin said. “You really can’t get a good indication until you have someone go out on the course or see it yourself. I like to be able to ride the course some, to feel it. It’s nice to go in advance for that reason to help prepare.”
Colvin attended college at ULM, where she ran cross-country and track. After graduating and moving from Monroe, she took a 13-year hiatus from triathlons. Since returning, she has been teaching at ULM for the past 4 years. Colvin was named a USA Triathlon All-American in 2005 and 2006.
A typical training week:
Monday: Swim 3500 yards with Indian Aquatic Club at 6 a.m. and run 4-6 miles afterwards; bike 1-1.5 hours easy (25 miles) in the p.m.
Tuesday: Hard group bike ride for 45-50 miles in the p.m.
Wednesday: Bike 30 miles and immediately run 30 minutes, using a “brick” method.
Thursday: Bike time trial intervals of 30-35 miles in the p.m.
Friday: Swim 3500 yards with IAC at 6 a.m.; bike 25 miles easy in the p.m.
Saturday: Bike 60-90 miles in the hills of West Monroe and Ruston; run 6-8 miles if time permits.
USA Triathlon is the national governing body for triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States. USAT sanctions over 2,000 races and connects with more than 90,000 members each year.
For more information, go to: www.usatriathlon.org.