My favourite table: Martin van Barneveld - triathlete

AS TOLD TO SARAH CATHERALL
Last updated 13:30 13/02/2013

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I train for about 30 hours a week, plus stretching, gym work and yoga on top of that. Food is hugely important to me. My partner, Ali, jokes that all I do is eat, train and sleep.

Being a triathlete these days is about being as lean as possible. I know it's hard to believe looking at me but I'm currently trying to lose two kilograms. For every kilogram you carry over 10kg, that's equivalent to losing 10 seconds in a race.

I've done three Round the Bays. Last year, I won the 7-kilometre run in 19 minutes and 36 seconds. It was the new record. You get to the finish line and you're in front. I would love to run the half marathon on Sunday but I do Olympic-distance tris so any run under 10km suits me. One of the things I'm really passionate about is seeing 13,000 people showing up to a race - it's the biggest event like this in Wellington, apparently.

Ali and I don't go out a lot because of our budget, but I do like it here. I like the vibe and you'll come here and listen to music and enjoy company. I'm having this salmon risotto because the combination is delicious. I'll finish this now and I'll eat again (two hours later) at 3pm. I'll go for a training run after I've finished here with you.

I don't drink alcohol and I've never been a fan of coffee. It's so addictive. When we go "out for coffee" it's for hot chocolate. But I use No-Doz tablets when I'm racing. On Saturday, the day before the race, I'll be carbo-loading. I'll be here at the Southern Cross eating pizza. The night before a race, that's my key meal, and I always eat pizza because it's safe and reliable. I ran a race in the United States once and I had some bad chicken the night before; I ended up with a bad gut before and during the race which wasn't pleasant.

When you're a professional athlete, it's about eating so you put the right fuel into your body at the right time. If I'm not eating a meal, I'm grazing. I always start the day with toasted oats with honey, raisins and pine nuts, a slow-burning carbohydrate breakfast. For lunch, I'm a toasted sandwich boy. I love avocado, ham, mustard and cheese. I would have already done a couple of training sessions so I need some protein and carbs.

For dinner, I'll eat pasta and rice, and a protein. It's funny because as a kid, you couldn't get a salad in me but now I love making them - I throw everything in. It has to have baby spinach, and I'll put in cranberries, the more ingredients the better.

I love catching my own fish. Surprisingly, I don't eat a lot of red meat, but I do eat a lot of spinach, and mussels too.

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I've been a sportsperson all my life. I got into running through the Scottish Harriers, and now I'm part of a team called Team Sharp.

Ali works for Sports Wellington, so she'll be walking Round the Bays with about 100 people she helps through the Green Prescription programme and Active Families. Her tasty meals are budget-friendly too. She bakes amazing scones.

I like to cook but I haven't learnt to make a good risotto. My favourite dish to eat is chicken breast stuffed with creamed cheese, cranberries and bacon. I also love potato salad with egg and spring onion, and mayo or natural yoghurt.

On Sunday, I'll set my alarm for 6.30am, I'll get up and have oats for breakfast and begin preparing myself mentally. You know you're going to hurt for 7km but it's going to be a good hurt. I'll go for a small jog, like for 20 minutes - in Kenya, they call it a "slow slow" - to get the body going.

I know I'll be up there on the podium but I'm not sure in which spot. It's going to be fierce competition. Tim Hodge is my biggest challenge. I've got a dream to go to the Olympics one day.

Ali will be there at the end of the race with a chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is my go-to thing. It's perfect recovery food.

THE DETAILS

Southern Cross, 39 Abel Smith St, Te Aro, Wellington

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to late; weekends, 9am to late.

Phone: 04 384 9085 

AMI Round the Bays was on Sunday, February 17, 2013. Van Barneveld was first to cross the line, 

in 20min 6sec, one second ahead of Hodge.

 

- © Fairfax NZ News

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