Friday, July 31, 2009

Jessi Stensland Interview

Ran across this today and this girl simply is tough. Check out her links below and learn
I copied this from - Interview // By The Triathlon Optimist
Thanks Howie in NJ, The Triathlon Optimist and novice triathlete...welcome to the sport

Interview: Jessi Stensland
Posted on July 29th, 2009 in Interviews
Howie -Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. It looks like you are having a great summer and congratulations on your 2nd place Carlsbad finish in the Elite woman category, simple amazing. Being a newbie and a new student of the sport I went to the internet for information. is a great source of information and how I had the opportunity to get to know a little bit about you. For those that don’t know you would you mind telling a little bit about yourself?
Jessi -Hi Howie, thanks for the opportunity! I am a Jersey girl at heart. I grew up in Franklin Park, NJ, went to college at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, got bit by the triathlon bug myself at the tail end of my swimming career there, and made my way out here to San Diego in 1998. My first ever triathlon was the Blueberry Festival Triathlon in Hammonton, NJ in 1997 and I’ve done the Sunset Sprint Triathlon at least a couple of times. I’m not even sure they are still around?? I had a great amateur racing season in 1999 and turned pro in 2000, specializing in the olympic distance. I made my way to the 2004 Olympic Trials, finishing 4th and 6th. That experience was definitely the highlight of my career. Along the way I had the opportunity to work with coaches who specifically emphasized the importance of functional training, injury resistance and overall performance of the body from the inside out. This made a huge impact on my career and my life and is the basis of my training and my work today. I took a break in 2006-2007 and now have come back, thanks in large part to my understanding of movement efficiency and performance, better than ever. As the name of my blog “Adventures In Endurance Performance” eludes to, I’m now diversifying my focus to include all kinds of endurance events, both on and off-road, cycling, running, mountain biking, triathlon and other adventure multisport events. It’s a blast!! I have great sponsors I work with: Under Armour, and the TRX Suspension Trainer and I also write and speak on the subject of movement efficiency and injury resistance in endurance performance.
Howie-You mentioned functional training and injury resistance. As a person new to the sport I admit these terms are new to me. Can you help define this type of training? I have just started to recognized that training is not all about extending my endurance and speed. I have incorporated strength training and some basic core exercises and stretching into my weekly routine. It is difficult to figure out the right balance of these activities.
Jessi -Great to hear you’re incorporating some strength/core exercises! I consider functional training that training that involves building a strong foundation within your own body so that you may get the most out of your efforts in the sports and activities you choose. There are many elements of performance and building cardio capacity is only one of them. Integrating postural alignment, flexibility, mobility, stability, elasticity, strength and movement efficiency help to create a body that is injury resistant (be offensive in preventing injuries, not defensive) and is key to overall power output and performance. This can be done by committing the early season to a program that is heavily focused on these exercises to minimize imbalances and create strong, powerful, coordinated movements along with work on technique in the swim/bike/run and then maintaining that throughout the season with short daily exercises and a couple of sessions per week that are committed to focus on the body, and not necessarily the sport.
Howie-Can you give us a little insight into what your typical training week looks like?
Jessi -I typically take 2 full days off of training per week. A large part of my week (4 sessions/wk) is always my functional training: strength, stability, elasticity, etc. TRX Suspension Training is a key component in these total body core strength training sessions. I always do 1-10 minutes of movement preparation before every workout. I also spend time within each of my swim/run workouts working on mechanics and technique. I make sure I get in 3-4 short hard interval sessions in the week where I’m pushed to my max and with the purpose of increasing my anaerobic threshold, regardless of sport. Other than that I’m mixing up my workouts between pool swims, ocean swims, road riding, mountain biking, trail running, running intervals on the track or grass, and any local short endurance races that work well as a training session. Here’s a snapshot, in addition to my functional training: SWIM: 3 x 60min in the pool; RIDE: 2-3 x 90-120min mountain bike ride; 1 x hard road ride with a group. RUN: 1 x track workout (3-5km), 1 x short tempo run (4mi), 1 x fartlek run (27-30min of work) or a race.
Howie-One of the hardest thing I find to do is keep up my intensity in training. How do you make sure that you intensity is there in your workouts?
Jessi –I find a few things help. First, have purpose to your intensityI like to remember the phrase, motivation through education (or, knowledge.) Second, eiminate the ‘gray’ area from your training. Make specific intensity workouts shorter and harder with the purpose of making a physiological change to your cardio system (increasing your anaerobic threshold for example) and incorporate recovery between intervals. It makes it easier for me to handle the intensity, both mentally and physically. The flip side is to ‘zone out’ in workouts or go through the motions just to cover a distance. I’ve eliminated that from my training. The rest of my training, aside from pure intensity, has different purposes and in itself has an ‘intensity’ of focus per say, whether for pure fun or to work on another element, like technique, strength, etc.
Howie-What is your next big event and are you doing any event specific training?Jessi –My race schedule is morphing with me this year. I’m mixing up my racing with on and off-road endurance events of shorter than longer distances. The bulk of my training is geared towards my body being prepared for any activity, sport or event that I want to tackle. That type of training is the reason why I’m able to diversify my experiences and perform well at various events! So fun. The one thing I have been working on specifically however are my mountain biking skills…both because I can’t get enough of it (it’s new this year for me) and because I need it!
Howie-Do you still get nervous gitters at the start?Jessi –A very smart person once told me this: “The difference in being nervous and being excited is that when you’re excited, you breathe.” Ever since then I’ve done a pretty good job of using my energy to be excited instead of nervous. Good stuff!
Howie-If there is one important tip you could give to a novice athlete what would it be?
Jessi –I think something that is greatly underemphasized, regardless of sport, is a focus on body’s ability to move efficiently. My advice is to get to know your body and make functional training (flexibility, stability, elasticity, strength, power, cardio endurance and recovery/regeneration) a priority. The same principles and exercises that’ll help you stay injury resistant will also help you move more efficiently and transfer your maximum power into any sport or activity, or just life in general! Diversifying your training time between all the elements that make an impact on your body’s performance is key to getting the most out of your efforts no matter which sport you choose for a particular day, event or season. And…of course…make it fun!!
You appear to be spending a lot of time to promote the sport and help educate athletes online. Can you tell me a bit about some of the things you are doing?Jessi –I love keeping up with my blog on my website and fielding questions that come through there as well as writing for the outlets my sponsors have created to reach other athletes, whether online or print media. I love passing on the incredible information I’ve learned throughout my career to others. Most recently I am working to bring my movement efficiency workshops around the US and internationally. The information will focus on how the body is meant to move, how to create change in your body to achieve efficient movement within each sport, how to be offensive in keeping the body injury resistant and ultimately performing to its potential. Info will be available at soon!
Can you tell me a little bit about your contributions to
Jessi –The team at has been like family to me since its inception back in 1999. Currently I am an Active Expert on I write articles 1-2x/month for their website and newsletters, and contribute both to my Active Expert blog, called Adventures in Endurance Performance, as well as in the Community Message Boards.
Check out for more info and to follow my adventures in endurance performance!! Certainly couldn’t do it without my support crew which includes: Under Armour, and TRX Suspension Trainer!!
Thanks Howie!Howie -Thanks so much I really appreciate it. Next time you are home Monmouth County has some much awesome single track. Would love to go out and hit the trails with your crew. Anytime!
Jessi –I do get back to NJ from time to time since my family still lives there, in Somerset County. Sounds like I’ll have to bring my MTB next time! Happy trails… Sphere: Related Content


  1. Hi Robert...thanks for that! Thought I'd pop in and say hi in 'person'. Way to adventure...3 kids and all...inspiring. Keep it up!! Jessi @

  2. Robert - Keep up the great work!