Training Notes: Professional Triathlete Mika Noodt
Will Ross, December 18, 2023
German triathlete Mika Noodt has landed on the professional scene at a sprint, using a strong run to push the best competitors in the sport. A 2022 victory at Grand Race at Gran Canaria and thrilling near win at Vieux Boucau in October 2023 marks the span of Noodt’s career as he enters his twenties.
This interview includes Noodt’s approach to training and nutrition, with some extra detail on managing sweet foods (which may explain a 70.3 victory at IM Augusta in September).
Where do you usually train?
I usually train at home in Darmstadt, south of Frankfurt. In the summertime it’s perfect for training because there’s a 50m pool. For cycling, there is enough variety: using some super flat roads, I can ride 100km with less than 100m elevation but I can also ride 100km with more than 2000m of elevation. During winters, I’m often training somewhere warmer to avoid the coldest parts of the off-season.
How important is location for your training – access to terrain or facilities?
It’s my job to train. The more stress I have outside of training, the less I get out of sessions. It helps a lot to have a short journey to the pool, and in general I train better when I enjoy it. For example, I don’t enjoy riding in minus five degrees Celsius in the rain and snow here in Germany.
What does a typical week look like when you’re at your home base?
Usually I train 30 hours a week, spread across five to six swims spread across 35km. On rest days, I ride for about an hour, then a longer ride once a week. I run four times a week, with two of these workouts being intervals. Two rest days a week, usually on Monday and Friday.
What kind of training do you do when you’re short of time?
I make sure I have enough time for my training so it doesn’t suffer, but back when I was at school I tried to stick to routines. The less time, the more specific you need to be – no messing around and focus on the things that are important for the race itself.
Do you mainly train alone or with other people or groups?
At home, I’d say I do all my swims in a group. 30% of my rides are with one mate. I don’t like to ride in huge groups so that I stick to my own power. Also I roughly complete 30% of runs with a group – so plenty of solo training. Switching off mentally is also easier when I’m alone. When I’m on training camp, I’m usually in a group or a couple of mates. Living alone sucks otherwise.
How does your winter training differ from your summer training?
In winter, I don’t do things that are more specifically about racing. I don’t do brick work, for instance. I just go mountain biking or go on some hikes and runs. I wouldn’t do these things in summertimes when there is one race after another.
How has your training evolved in the course of your career?
It has evolved massively. During my youth years, I was living with my parents and had to go to school. I did 10-15 hours per week max. But when I was 19-years-old, I went to Darmstadt (four hours from where I was born and raised). Since I’ve been here, I’ve gradually increase my volume from 20 to 30 hours per week. Everything is way more data driven now.
How important is nutrition for you?
Very very important. I feel like the more I eat, the more I can train. I’m not afraid of carbs. Everyone can experience this – go out with food, then try without.
What are your nutrition secrets, recipes or snacks that everyone should think about using?
Muesli or cereals are a great way to get calories in. Every time I’m in the U.S., it’s way easier – it’s not the most healthy stuff but I’m convinced that I would rather eat 10% unhealthy stuff than eat really healthy but not get enough calories. Don’t be afraid of some sweet stuff!
What other parts of your work are important for your career, but aren’t specifically to do with training? What is important “behind-the-scenes” work?
This is increasing for me, with frequent Osteopathy. Even though I’m early in my career, I’ve suffered from two pretty big injuries already. Looking after my body with daily stretching is important. Everything that reduces stress for me also has a role in my performance. When I’m stressed outside of training, it makes it hard to adapt. Luckily, I’ve got a good team that helps me there.
If you weren’t a professional athlete, what would you be doing?
I started to study electro-sciences and informatics stuff. Maybe some science so probably working with robots or AI right now. Though I’m getting more interested in Physiotherapy because I’ve become more aware of this.
Follow Noodt’s updates on Instagram via @mika.noodt