The Wassners’ training regimen is not for the faint of heart – think 50-mile bike rides, exhausting open-water swims, and long runs on challenging terrain. During the winter months, the twins head south to Tucson, Arizona, where they train with their coach Cliff English, one of the world’s top triathlon trainers.
Mental toughness is just as important as the physical training.
“I work with a sports psychologist named Mitchell Green,” Rebeccah said. “He helps me mentally prepare for my upcoming races by going through the challenges of them, whether it be the terrain of the course, the competition, or the weather conditions.”
Winning and self discipline go hand in hand.
“There are days when the only person getting you out the door to train is yourself,” Rebeccah said. “Even though being a pro triathlete is a full-time job, days aren't structured like a normal nine-to-five work day. It takes a lot of focus to go out and hit all of the hard workouts – even if you are tired or there is something else you might feel like doing. You have to want to work hard.”
Natural talent also plays a big factor. Nike, a sponsor, recently arranged testing for the Wassners at the Nike Performance Lab. “We had the highest VO2 max scores [a measure of aerobic fitness] they'd ever seen,” Rebeccah said, “and our results were exactly the same!”
While there is a healthy amount of competition between the sisters, in the end they are each other’s biggest supporters.
“When I'm racing Laurel, I want nothing more than for her to do well. When we are out on the course together, we look out for each other and help each other as much as we can.”
It’s this level of commitment and mutual inspiration that could very well lead the Wassner twins to the 2012 Olympics.
Read more about Laurel and Rebeccah Wassner at www.wassnertwins.com.