PM360 recently spoke to Robert Burke, Product Director, XARELTO, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, about preparing for each leg of an Olympic-style triathlon.

Robert Burke participating in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco in which the competitors swim in from Alcatraz Island.

PM360: How did you get started participating in Olympic-style triathlons?

Robert Burke: I started back in my late 20s, because I was a competitive swimmer for a while and I wanted to stay with it. I thought triathlons would be a great sport because it balanced three different activities. You have swimming, biking, and running. And you don’t push too hard on any one activity, but you get a nice whole-body workout.

How many do you participate in per year?

It’s usually one to two per year. Typically, two if timing allows.

What’s the training like for you? How do you prepare for each of the three events?

A lot depends on scheduling. Fortunately, swimming is a strong event for me, and it’s easy to work on running because you can always bring a pair of running shoes wherever you go. The same is even true for biking as most hotels have a cycle in their gym. The swimming I get in over the weekends in the summer. And then I try to stay with the biking and running all year round.

What is the hardest part of the triathlon for you?

It’s always the biking because I travel a lot and don’t spend a lot of time out on a bike. And you need to be out on the road biking. The model of triathlons is you can lose on the swim, but you win on the bike. So, the biking has always been my Achilles heel.

What are your goals when you compete in these triathlons?

I would say I was competing to place or win, but I don’t have that kind of speed. I try and beat my own best time, which is 2:48. However, I haven’t beat that in a long time. So, I just set goals for myself for each of the events in terms of where I want to come in and overall time. Mostly I am just trying to beat last year’s time or get a personal best.

What was the goal for the last one you did?

My goal was to come in under three hours and I came in at 3:01. So, I missed my goal by about 60 seconds.

That’s unfortunate. When is your next one so you have another chance?

It’s usually end of the summer, because I need the warm weather to get into significant training. So typically, the earliest I’ll do one is mid-July. The one I do most frequently is the Chicago Triathlon. It’s usually listed as largest in the world and has about 7,000 participants. That one normally takes place around the end of August. And this past year I did the New Jersey State Triathlon, which was also in August.


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