Chrissie, 32, was the first British triathlete to win the Ironman World Championship title in Hawaii in 2007, and has continued to win world titles ever since. She says her skill is being able to put together the three athletic disciplines – a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon – so successfully…

talksofsuccess-WF64_1307-1023x774

What do you love about your sport?
I am very driven and determined and I need a way to channel that drive. The Ironman is the biggest physical challenge and I like to push myself to the limit and learn from each race.

What bits of your body do you love most?
My legs, because they carry me forward. Why is your sport so good for getting fit?
Each discipline requires different muscles. A triathlon is good for strength, coordination, agility and power. It works for everyone – I’ve seen five-year-olds and 80-year-olds complete triathlons. I have a friend who is a double leg amputee who does it, too.

How important are diet and supplements to your training?
Food is fuel and an integral part of my training. I eat 4,000 calories a day, about 60 per cent complex carbs (wholegrains, fruit and veg), with red meat once a week to keep my iron levels up. I eat good fats like fish oil, nuts and seeds. I also take an iron supplement and multivitamin, but athletes need to be so careful not to fall foul of strict anti-doping laws.

What is the biggest obstacle or challenge you have faced in your career?
Dealing with nerves and anxiety – and now, pressure to keep doing well!

How have you overcome this?
I have to draw on inner strength to get me through an Ironman. I’ve had punctures in two races, but I have learned to keep calm and not panic. Training is about learning to suffer. You feel pain or discomfort but you just push on through. What has been your greatest achievement in your career so far? I’m most proud of defending my world title. My first victory was sweet but the second one was much sweeter!

Who inspires you?
My mum and dad, who have always been there for me. When I was a child I wanted to be like the runner Zola Budd. Now I admire my amputee friend Scott Rigby and the many amateur athletes who raise thousands for charity.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t an athlete?
I loved the job in International Development that I had before. I’d also like to establish a foundation to encourage disadvantaged children into sport.

What mind techniques do you use to prepare yourself mentally for an event?
I have positive images in my head to help me through. I like to relax with a DVD or music before a race and I also carry poems with me.

What type of music do you most like to work out to?
When I’m running or cycling I like listening to alternative rock like The Killers, Kings of Leon and Smashing Pumpkins.

Who do you think is a good example of a healthy female celebrity?
Tanni Grey-Thompson is phenomenal and so is Ellen MacArthur.

Describe yourself in one sentence.
I’m smiley, driven and energetic!

Why don’t more women participate in your sport, do you think?
It is growing but there are barriers, such as fear of the unknown and financial constraints, but they are being overcome. There aren’t enough visible role models, but that’s what I’m here for! I’m also setting up a website called GoTribalNow (www.gotribalnow.com) to encourage women.

What’s your idea of a great night out?
A good dinner and a bottle of wine with friends. Or maybe sitting round a campfire under the stars after a day’s hiking or biking…

Do you ever veg out on the sofa and eat ‘treat’ foods?
I eat pizza, burgers and chocolate – everything in moderation!

What will you do when you retire from racing, do you think?
As well as setting up the foundation [for disadvantaged children], I would like to do some
adventure racing and cross-continental cycle touring. Plus, networking to get more women and girls involved in triathlons.