Helena Erbenova: XTERRA Pro Athlete

Helena Erbenova is one of the best Multisport female athletes in our XTERRA Tribe. She is the daughter of Helena Balatkova, bronz medalist of the 1972 Winter Olympic Games. She started her career as cross country skier and the last 7 years she is racing pro at XTERRA, having some great results and a number of wins under her belt, including the ITU & ETU Championship in Winter and Cross Triathlon, XTERRA European Championship, Adventure Races with the Thule Racing team and other races across the Globe.

So we took the time to talk with her and learn more about her. Let’s meet Helena and find out what it takes to be a pro at the highest level:

XE: What is your Name, Country and residence?

My name is Helena Erbenovα from Czech Republic, Jablonec nad Nisou

XE: Are you a full time pro Athlete, if not what is your occupation? 

Yes and no :-). In the summer I have few people for massages and during winter I work as a skiing teacher

XE: Family Status?

I am in a relationship and i have a 6 years old daughter

XE: What is your daily or weekly training plan?

I try to have fun with training. It is not so easy to combine all the sports that i have to train for. Running, mountain bike, kayak, inline skating, swimming, cross country skiing :-). Depending on my feeling i try to enjoy finding the best combination.

XE: What do you eat for breakfast before a big race?

I eat what I eat usualy.Pastry, honey, cheese, fresh juice and coffee, I realy need coffee in the morning. Nothing new before the race.

XE: What type of diet do you follow?

I don΄t follow any specific diet. I tried many diets in my life, i was vegeterian for 7 years, but at the end i realized that it is better to eat everything in small quantities. But of course try to be as healthy as possible 🙂

XE: How many years you have you been involved with XTERRA? 

The 2017 season will be my 7th year

XE: What is your athletic background-How did you started?

I started as a cross country skier.

XE: Which of the three disciplines is your favorite?

I dont have a favorite discipline. I love the bike and the run. The swim is very difficult but i enjoy training all of them.

XE: How many XTERRA did you raced in 2016?

I am not sure, I planned 9 but at the end i raced 8.

XE: Last year the points system was not good for you, if it was like this year, you should have won the series, is that a motivation for you?

Yes, this is true. The previous system was not good for me. I believe that with the new rules more competitors will plan to do more races in the season. When I started racing the XTERRA European Tour there were 5 races and today we have 15. I don’t want to miss any race but that’s a lot. The last years I also added the Adventure races in China. Facing all this problems with long flights, time differences, training etc, it’s getting really challenging. This is the reason I prefer racing in Europe where I can easily travel by car from one place to the other.

Are all these changes a motivation for me? Well, I planned the 2017 season under the old rules and now I have to plan again. We will see how it goes as the new system with points from every race will be a challenge for everybody.

XE: The last few years you participate in many races, XTERRA and adventure races, and you needed to travel a lot. That puts a lot of stress to your body and mind and sometimes you were very tired to perform 100% at the races. Do you plan to continue doing both in 2017?

Yes I am planning to do both but it’s very complicated. I need to have a very good plan for the season. In some periods I have to choose between XTERRA and Adventure Races. For example I remember a race in China were I was racing for 4 days and 40 hours. That ruined me totally and at the middle of the season I was very tired and could not perform well in the upcoming races. It is 100% clear that I cannot be everywhere. I will need to focus on my training and racing in order to keep my form at the best possible level.

XE: We saw you winning the European winter triathlon, is that a good winter sport to get ready for XTERRA?

Winter Triathlon is a wonderful sport. After the World Championship in Maui I did not compete in other races. I spent the winter in New Zealand skiing. This was the only plan I had for the winter. I was only running, cycling and skiing. It’s something I’ve done all my life and I really love the feeling of skiing in the beautiful nature. I really enjoy it and I believe that it helps a lot. It is strengthening your entire body.

XE: Which XTERRA race is your favorite?

It is really difficult to choose one. There are many really nice events, each one with its own beauty . Last year I enjoyed a lot the XTERRA Belgium…

XE: How do you keep the balance between regular (work), family, friends and training? How do you keep motivated?

I have the total support of my great family. They help me with everything. Without them, doing what i am doing would have been impossible.

XE: What is your suggestion to someone that wants to change his life and start racing pro in XTERRA ?

Just make the step and try it! Then you will see if you have what it takes to be a pro athlete.

XE: What are your plans for 2017?

I am planning to be in 10 or 11 races in Europe next season. Hope i will have the strength and power to be there and perform my best 🙂

XE: Thank you very much Helena, all the best for the new season!