Mae: How did you get started? Any sports before competing in Ironmans?
Eric : I played three sports in high school - basketball, track, and cross country. I played one year of basketball in college (a bit too short to be a force!). I started weight lifting in college, and stuck with that through my early 20's. I really didn't have an extensive athletic background, other than always enjoying being active, and competing against myself/seeking self improvement.
Mae: So I reached out to some people online who also have some questions. Below are a few I chose.
Do you get motivation externally or internally? What practices do you use before a big race? Visualization? Meditation?
Eric: I get motivation internally. I am very competitive with myself. I'm always seeking self improvement in all aspects of life. I set seemingly unattainable goals, and then execute on a daily basis to reach them. My theory - if someone else has done it, I can do it with enough time and purposeful practice. I try to go through life with purpose in anything I'm doing.
I do some visualizing + meditation in the weeks leading up to a big race - the 5 hour bike rides provide plenty of alone time! However, in most training sessions, I focus on being in the present - if you think about how much longer the training session is, or how much you have to do, it's easy to defeat yourself.
Mae : Crowd Question : Do you sing to yourself, or what keeps your mind occupied during such long stretches of road on ride/run. I know we can all guilty of getting in our own heads, so what prevents you from doing that?
Eric : Mental fatigue is the hardest part of any sport (in my opinion). Like anyone, I have on days where I'm in a flow state, and off days where 5 minutes into a 2 hour session I want to quit. However, I try to go into every training session with a positive attitude, purpose, and excitement. Luckily, once I start training, I normally get "in the zone" quickly.
Mae : Crowd Question : Do you use any sort of sports psychologist? Dr. Michael Gervais was just a guest on the Rich Roll podcast and it got me thinking about how high level endurance athletes are seemingly all employing some sort of sports related psychologists. How do you deal with self sabotage in tough events where things seem to be going poorly?
Eric: I don't. I am good at tricking my mind - for example, I set mini-goals during races. On the Ironman run (a marathon), I'll typically just focused on getting to the next aid station (one mile away) looking forward to a cup of Coca Cola at the aid station - to spike my blood sugar level, to keep going. I don't think about how far I have to go, just how far I've already gone. A positive mindset is paramount - think about past successes - I've run a marathon before, I can do this. I trained long hours, I can do this. Others have done this, I can do this.
Mae : Crowd Question : Tips for sticking to training schedule while still having a life on the road!
Eric : It's tough to balance. When I was training long hours, I structured my days around my workouts. I traveled less frequently, and avoided places where I couldn't easily get into my training routine. Ex.) I'd visit places that allowed for easy training - Austin, TX where I can easily run, bike at a training facility, and accessibility to a pool.
Mae : Crowd Question : What kind of cross training do you do besides swim, bike, run?
Eric: I do a lot of strength training, and Crossfit (5x per week off-season and 3x per week in-season). I truly feel this has given me an edge - increasing my strength to weight ratio, building durability and muscular endurance, and reduces my risk of getting injured from the high repetition/volume in triathlon training. The metabolic conditioning workouts in Crossfit also give me a mental edge to really dig deep when my body is hurting - I can think back to all my past sessions, and convince myself, I've been through worse!
Mae : Crowd Question : What does your nutrition look like while in training? Are you counting calories or macros?
Eric: I adopted a high fat diet. Here's a typical day:
Mae : Any pre-race rituals?
Eric: I always write a race plan. I read my prior race reports to see what I did well, and what I didn't do well.
Mae : Best advice to someone wanting to do their first ironman?
Eric: Find a coach. Think like a bumble-bee, and train like a race horse. Find a great coach that will help you train with purpose. Hit the workouts, don't overthink it. Put in the time + effort, and you will succeed! Discuss with your significant other - it's a major time commitment.
The training needs to be consistent.
You can find his social media here: