Q&A: Gordon Benson

How have you been preparing for Rio?

I’ve been out at an altitude camp in St Moritz, Switzerland for a month before the Games. There’s been a massive focus on my swim and bike disciplines, just because of the nature of my role at the Olympics. I’m there to do everything I can to put the Brownlees in the best position to get medals – to chase down attacks and spread the field out.

What does your training routine look like?

I train around 30 hours a week, mainly swimming and cycling. I ride six or seven days a week and swim every day – Tuesday and Thursday are my longer, more intense aerobic days, then I have recovery days as well. I haven’t stopped running altogether as I’d like to finish as high as possible at the Olympics. I do two days on, one day off with my running.

For cross-training, I do two hours of strength and conditioning in the gym a week. It’s mainly aimed at injury prevention – we do a pre-season screening which finds out our weaknesses, then do work to strengthen them up. I have slightly weaker calves than I need, so I do weighted calf raises with straight and bent legs. I also do some yoga on the side, as it helps with my flexibility and bike position.

How did you get started in triathlon?

I’ve always been into running and cycling. I’ve been running competitively since I was 7 or 8, then when I was 12 I got picked to run London Mini Marathon. I joined my local athletics club, then at 15 I had a go at aquathlon – from that, I gave triathlon a go. 

I recently graduated from the University of Leeds, which is based near Leeds Triathlon Centre. It’s where the likes of Non Stanford and Ali and Jonny Brownlee train, as well as the squads from the two unis in Leeds. It’s a great centre.

You finished university recently. How did you fit training in around your studies?

I had to manage it as I went – I’m far more suited to training than being sat at a desk! I studied Nutrition and I split my final year over two years, meaning I did a three-year course in four years in total. The course was very accommodating.

Was studying nutrition useful for your athletics career?

Yes, it touched on sports but also covered everything including biology, chemistry and so no. I was always interested in the things more relevant to me – I did some research at the end on caffeine, which was great for me. It’s nice to do something different to training – it’s good to have a little forced rest to keep you off your feet.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

Last year I won the triathlon at the European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, making me the first person on Team GB to win there. I came home with a gold medal and my spot for Rio.

How do you recover after a hard training session?

I always just look to recover with proper rest. I get some protein and calcium in to support my muscle and bone recovery, often from protein shakes. I have a little stretch and then like to just lounge around. I enjoy spending time with friends - if I’m not doing sport, I’m watching sports and supporting my local team Leeds United!

What does a typical day of food look like for you in training?

Breakfast: A bowl of cereal pre-swim

Snacks: A Müller Rice in the car on the way home, cereal bars, easy things like that

Lunch: Something like poached egg on toast

Dinner: Stir fry or pasta with prawns, pesto and veg. I enjoy spending time in the kitchen so if I’m organised I make two portions of a meal and eat the other the next day too.


Müller Rice is the official British Triathlon partner, helping Team GB go the distance in the lead-up to Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. Look out for Gordon fronting the campaign on TV and in magazines until October.