Episode 4

Overcoming mental barriers: Laura Philipp

This week 's guest is Germany’s Laura Philipp who finished 4th at the Ironman World Championships in Kona this year and has shot up the ranks since doing her first triathlon just a few years ago. I really loved interviewing Laura, she is very funny indeed, has a great sense of humour and get this, she EATS CAKE EVERY DAY!

You'll hear briefly from Kristian Blummenfelt too who has a message for young Harry Smallbone, the winner of his signed Super League Triathlon trophy, which helped to raise nearly £850 for MOVE Charity. 


If you enjoyed the interview with Laura, then please let us know on social media. Find out more about Laura over on her website, her Instagram or her You Tube channel.


It's a good question! Head over to her website and you'll find all you need to know.


Thank you to everyone who donated to the raffle for a chance to win Kristian Blummenfelt's signed Super League Triathlon Malta trophy. You helped to raise nearly £850 for MOVE Charity, which supports young people affected by cancer by helping them to keep moving. The draw is now over, but you can still make a donation. MOVE are hosting a fundraising evening with Steve Cram on March 20th 2020 in Leicester.


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*Interview times, not the whole episode

01:00 I’ve surprised myself that I’ve reached World Class level in such a short space of time

01:45 Explains how she got into biking by jumping on her mountain bike to get to school and built her endurance base by first walking her dog and then running with her parents dog and eventually going out for a run without the dog

03:45 Had her first taste of triathlon when watching a relay in 2011 and tried to swim a length in her pool. Talks about taking 6 months to be able to swim 500m and then one day she decided to try to go further

05:00 Talks about mental barriers  “you think you can’t do it, or you have to stop and you have to learn to push through the mental barriers and not be afraid of failing. If you have someone on your side who tells you and believes in you, that also pushes your forward.

06:30  On her background in rockclimbing. “You need to focus on every step you take and every move you make because every failure, you fall” and even now when I am doing a triathlon, it’s easy for me to focus, focus on the power, on the technique.

08:10 When she met her now husband Philipp Seipp. He wanted to stop triathlon, he had had enough and he was looking for someone who was into other things and as soon as he felt my passion for swim, bike, run, it helped him to discover it again. We started to date each other and he always tried to get me to do some harder, faster stuff. On our first date, he made me run up some stairs. We did go for dinner afterwards too.   He told me I was always pushing on the bike and going too hard on the bike and he made me do some tests to prove it and then he started to write me a training plane.  I did less than when I was coached by myself.

12:00 On sticking to Philipp’s training plan, I became faster and faster and I have never questioned his training again and we have both grown too.  I was his first little coaching project and now he coaches a lot of other professionals athletes [including Sebi Kienle.] 

13:30 It is quite an intense relationship, and you do have to stop talking about triathlon at some point during the day! But he just has to look at me and he can tell how I feel and I can discuss the plan with him and bring in my plan too.

15:00 Sometimes I get really angry with him when he gives me a really hard session and I say to him, ‘you have to do that session too”

16:00 When it gets closer to races, that’s when it gets harder, but we are both so passionate about it, that sometimes we don’t feel about it in a bad way. You can get lost in a triathlon bubble so easily, but we have our own house now, we have friends and family close by so we don’t drown in the triathlon bubble.

18.00 Talks about “Team Kick Ass” around her, including Wolfgang for her running and Mo for her strength and conditioning. Philipp is the head coach and the others work under him. They all believe that technique is really important, especially because she got into the sport relatively late.

19:00 “I remember the first day Wolfgang told me about my technique and I thought I was a good runner, because I could do 1.18 off the bike. But Wolfgang said I did really horrible things with my arms and my posture was not right and it was not efficient. I had to take a lot of carbs on and if I didn’t I felt really weak on the run.

21:30 explains how she went from around 40min for a 10km to a 36 minute 10km by working on her technique and developing a mid-heel strike.

23:00 I really learnt about having an efficient running style and on my Ironman debut I could really focus on my technique.

24:00 For Kona this year, I didn’t have the running fitness behind me because I’d had such a long break through injury. I did it purely on mental strength. I was running only with my brain. I had pictures in my head that I used to just keep going and that really helped me to get the job done and that is amazing, to know you have another strength in your head.

25:00 On her work in the gym with her S+C coach Mo. “Its really good to have someone looking at you and telling you about your strengths, because that’s when you learn so much.

26:00 Talks about specific work that she is doing to develop her ability to focus. “One of my eyes couldn’t focus for longer than 3 seconds, but I started to train it and then my squat technique was so much better.”

28:00 I feel so lucky that I have a team of people around me who want to work on me, and the “Laura Philipp project.”  Talks about her swimming coach.

30:00 She eats a piece of cake every day!! “I got this from my mum, when we were younger she would always bake for us. I love cheesecake and carrot cake.

31:00 Talks about being a vegetarian since the age of 3 years old. “its not hard for me to be vegetarian, I tried to be vegan, but I found it too difficult as a triathlete because when you want to get as much as you can out of your body, it’s difficult to get in as much protein” but it is something I might go back to after my triathlon career.

33:00 Challenge Roth is in my heart, I would love to do it, but because I have to qualify for Kona and I want to stay healthy, I don’t think I should do two long distance races before Kona. But I am still discussing it. Having raced kona for the first time in 2019, I know it is a race for me and I have to make it there fit and healthy to have a good race and that is my number one goal for next year.

35:00 What is your guilty pleasure on the turbo?  She reveals a thing for Electronic music.

36:30 Three things from the fridge she would go for! 

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About the Podcast

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Inside Tri Show
Helen Murray brings you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond

About your host

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Helen Murray

Helen has been working in triathlon for a decade as an athlete, coach and broadcaster.

Helen hosts the Inside Tri Show podcast bringing you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond