American Sarah Haskins is three-for-three since returning to triathlon after giving birth to her daughter, Caroline, in July of 2013 and she has big plans—including her first 70.3—for the rest of 2014.
Throughout her career American Sarah Haskins has been a fixture in both drafting and non-drafting Olympic-distance races. After narrowly missing the Olympic team in 2012, Haskins went on to dominate the Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series and handily win the series championship. Not long after her last race of that season, Haskins found out she was pregnant. Now, a few months from her daughter Caroline’s first birthday, Haskins has quickly returned to top form.
The short-course specialist opened her 2014 season on March 1 at the ITU Pan American Cup in Clermont, Fla.—where she lives and trains—with a win. Since then, Haskins has competed at the PATCO Sprint Championships in Sarasota and the Life Time Tri South Beach triathlon in Miami, claiming victories in both.
Haskins says her fitness returned fairly quickly, with the challenges coming more from the balance that being a new mom requires. “As far as the physical part, it came back a lot faster than I expected,” Haskins says. “The most challenging part was the balance of scheduling. I’d say the mental aspect was more challenging than the physical aspect.”
Next, Haskins will again race in Florida at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon on April 27—a race she won from 2010 to 2012. Six days after that, she will take on a new challenge in the form of her first half-Ironman at Ironman 70.3 U.S. Championships in St. George. She chose the race because it has the potential to give her points toward qualification for the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship, which will take place in late August. Earning those points, and a top finish, won’t come easy as the event will feature a notoriously tough course and championship-caliber field. “I enjoy doing tough races, and why not try a race with tough competition?” Haskins says of the race. “I think it will bring the best out of me. I’ve never done one before so there are some unknowns like nutrition, which I’ll practice in training, but I just want to go out and have fun. I love to race and push myself.”
So with a successful race, we should expect to see Haskins on the start line at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September, right? Not necessarily, says Haskins. She plans to race the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon on Aug. 24 and the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship on Aug. 31, and so competing in the Sept. 7 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada would require some shifting in her schedule. There’s also the matter of earning a spot on the start line. “I don’t know if doing one race would be enough to qualify me,” she says. “I’m going to try it and see how I like it and if I really like the distance I can refocus my race season and change plans accordingly. Right now the season is still more short-course focused.”
Regardless of which direction she decides to take at the end of the season, Haskins’ emphasis for the bulk of 2014 will be competing at her forte: the short-course non-drafting races.
Haskins, who competed in the Olympics as a member of the 2008 U.S. squad, hasn’t completely given up the idea of going after a spot on the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic team.
“Rio is definitely not out of the question,” she says when asked about the possibility. “I’m not sure if that’s the route I want to go. I might want to stick to 70.3 and short-course non-drafting, or I might do what I did in the past, which was short-course non-drafting and a little bit of ITU. I have to choose either of those two. I can’t do 70.3, non-drafting short-course and ITU. That would be overwhelming.”
For now, Haskins plans to race in the United States, with baby Caroline and husband Nate joining her on the road.
Haskins’ Advice for New Moms Looking to Return to Triathlon
“I would say of course there are going to be times, like if you haven’t gotten a lot of sleep or your baby is sick, when it’s OK to change workouts around. It’s important to be flexible and understand that sometimes things have to change based on what’s best for everyone. It’s important not to stress and enjoy the moments because they go so fast. Ease back into training. I think sometimes we’re so excited to get back to where we were before pregnancy, and it’s important to come back slowly and listen to your body. I think you’ll come back even stronger if you’re in-tune with your body.”
Sarah Haskins’ Olympic/70.3 Trainer Workout
Haskins shares a go-to workout that she uses when she’s looking for a quality session on limited time.
15 min spin including 3x (30 sec left leg only/30 sec right leg only/60 seconds together)
1×20 min build from aerobic to 40k effort increasing in effort every five minutes
3 min easy spin
1×25 min at half-iron effort with a 15 sec standing jump every 5 min
3 min easy spin
1×30 min at just easier than half-iron effort
10 min easy spin