James Lenger begins training for pentathlon after being inspired by it at the 2012 summer London Olympics, as a personal challenge, and to dedicate something significant to his mother who had died from an aggressive brain tumor a couple of years before. The training went well, and few months later, he was invited to a development camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The camp helped and encouraged him to increase his training, and he was eventually sponsored by FFC Gyms and the New York Athletic Club. Last year he became Master’s World Tetrathlon Champion (running, shooting, fencing and swimming), and he is definitely looking forward to defend his title!
My training day is quite hard, since a pentathlon event is a combination of five different sports; it is something quite tough to prepare for, in addition to having a full-time job.
I typically swim 5-7 days/week (12-20 km/week), run 5-6 days/week (30-45 miles/week), shoot 5-6 days/week, fence 2-4 days/week and ride 1 day/week. This typically means starting around 7.30 in the morning and ending around 8.30/9.30 in the evening.
In the summer, when the pentathlon season ends, (around mid-June), I love to add 1-3 bike rides a week. I utilize triathlon as a means to diversify my training, and I also think that it is a marvelous discipline. However, since my personal pentathlon preparation is mainly focused on speed, I usually compete in sprint-distance triathlons. I am a pretty good cyclist, as I used to ride since I was younger. I especially like the Chicago sprint race, and have competed in other events as well as some indoor races, as the weather in Chicago gets very cold in Winter. Last year, I went to Clermont for the Team USA qualifier, and qualified for the sprint ITU Grand Final in Cozumel.
Days before the race, he usually prefers a fish-based diet, no alcohol, and desserts are replaced by fruit. On race day, he makes a breakfast with peanut butter English muffins, apple chicken sausages and fruit. To be more visible by the audience, Modern Pentathlon has become an all-day event, and it is fundamental to keep fueled throughout the day. To do this, he keeps eating mostly Honey Stingers, bananas and energy gels.
His future goals will be: the qualification for the Master’s World Swimming Championships, this coming August in Budapest, to continue competing for the Team USA in pentathlon, and to eventually develop his website http://www.teamjames.org, and turn it into something that will help adults change their lives to be more active, as it did to him.
In my private life, what I do? Good question! I instruct music, because that is another important passion of my life. After College, I toured with a band, playing all over the United States, including the Salt Lake City Olympics a number of years ago. Now, I have started music schools in a number cities, and I currently instruct music via Skype, as well as privately, and I will continue to teach!
His main sponsors which need to be mentioned are: TYR, Odura Endurance, New York Athletic Club and FFC Gyms.
I would like to dedicate this article to James’ mother who, would have been very proud to see what he has managed to do with himself during all these years, and what an incredible person he has become now. James, the body of a Greek statue, with gladiator’s muscles, forged by tough physical fatigue, is a truly fantastic man!
Photo Credit: International Union of Modern Pentathlon and James Lenger