Episode 122

Patrik Nilsson - Finding the killer instinct

Sweden's Patrik Nilsson is a long standing member of the BMC triathlon team, with a top 10 Kona finish to his name, and European and North American Ironman Championship titles too. But what makes this quiet Swede tick? what are his thought processes on the start line and how does he juggle everything as a dad of two young children?

You'll hear

03:30 What it's like being on the BMC triathlon team. "To have that team in the background gives you more friends. I do 99% of training on my own. I don't really mind because with a family, it definitely makes sense to do that and I can train during the day when the kids are at school."

10:00 Does Patrik think he has the respect he deserves? I think within the professional scene I do. I have made huge progress, coming from being a lonely kid at school to being a professional triathlete with a family. I don't think many age groupers know me, but within professional triathlon, most people know who I am.

12:15 Patrik talks about how he has struggled in the past to feel motivated and find his killer instinct to race. You see some guys on the start line who you really don't want to be next to, you think 'oh sh*t, he is going to kill me!' I could be one of those, but I need to be one of those to be competitive. I need that extra motivation to perform at my best and if I don't have it, I won't be competitive enough. I have made huge progress to find the right motivation.

16:15 In a way you are afraid of how much it's going to hurt. As long as the racing and the triathlon is fun, it's not going to be painful. So I've had to really go back to the meaning of triathlon for me. As soon as you are aware of your mentality, it's really easy to change it.

19:30 Patrik's feeling on Ironman World Championships in St George - it will give some new athletes the chance to win. I would love to race Ironman Hawaii instead, but the only thing I want to do is race the best. With the Norwegians, it's going to be a fun race with them.

21:00 Patrick talks about trying to find balance as a professional triathlete and a dad. 'You have to find a way that works for everyone. It's easier without family, but that might not work long term. I do feel guilty when I'm away training but I have to think of the benefits of triathlon and I am able to drop them off or pick them up. So even if I do have some guilt when I am training, I think it will be worth it for some other reasons. And one of the things I have been focussing on is to be present. I can't be out training and feel guilty about the family. Those feelings have also affected my racing too. My head used to start wondering and I would lose the killer mentality.

28:00 Patrik was coached by his wife Teresa. It was meant to be short term, but she coached him for two years. 'It was fun, but it become personal and our whole life would depend on if I had a good race or a bad race.' I am really impressed when people can make it work, but it is a hard combination. I think we both made personal and professional progress, but everything we did was triathlon and now it's good to be able to be a family and have triathlon as my career.

Find out more about this week's guests

Patrik Nilsson Instagram

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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