Samantha Schultz Achterberg, or Sammy Schultz, is a Colorado Springs based Modern Pentathlete getting ready for the Olympics. If you thought training for the three triathlon disciplines was challenging, hear how Sammy balances training for five – swimming, running, shooting, fencing and show jumping.
Sammy has been wearing Blueseventy race and practice swimwear since 2012 and we can’t wait to cheer her on in Tokyo!
How did you get into Pentathlon?
Growing up in Colorado, I always did a lot of different sports including skiing, tennis, swimming, soccer, gymnastics, hunting with my family and I loved horses. When I learned about pentathlon in 2010, I was a senior in high school and running cross-country and track, swimming and riding horses already.
Long story short, I have not stopped doing the sport since and here I am almost 11 years later making my dreams come true by competing at the Olympics!
Which is your strongest discipline?
The running and shooting (combined/ laser run) is my strongest event and my favorite!
And which is do you find the toughest?
Fencing was the last sport for me to pick up out of the five events so I would say it is the most challenging.
What tips do you have for balancing different sports?
My advice would be to plan out your schedule to make sure you have time to fuel and or recover between sessions. It is a challenge to train for a lot of different events, but also good to have the variety. Making sure I do strength sessions 2-3 times a week along with yoga and or pilates is especially important because I think that can help to keep muscles strong all around. It also breaks up the cardio and endurance work while helping with injury prevention.
Staying healthy is probably the biggest challenge with doing so much training. I continuously adjust my schedule or training based on how I am feeling or take an easier day if something is not feeling right. Learning to be flexible and establish a 3-4 week cycle of building intensity and volume then going into a week of “recovery” with lower intensity and volume seems to help my body get the recovery after a hard training cycle. It also helps mentally knowing that I build up and then get to recover instead of always trying to stay at a high intensity for multiple weeks.
Break down a typical training week
Each day is 3-5 sessions depending on what phase I am at in my training cycle. It is a full-time job training for five events as well as making sure I get in strength, rehab, and recovery sessions. I enjoy the diversity of the events though, and that I get to challenge myself in so many ways with training.
- Running 5-6 days a week (about 30-50 miles)
- Swimming 5-6 days a week (45-70 min sessions)
- Fencing 2-3 lessons a week (25-35 min each) and about 2 sessions a week of footwork and bouting (1-2 hours each)
- Shooting 2-3 sessions a week as well as mixing in some running and shooting combined workouts (45-60 min each session)
- Riding once a week (about 30-45 min)
- Strength and conditioning/ lifting 2-3 days a week (60-90 min each)
- Yoga or Pilates 1-3 sessions a week (60-75 min each)
How has Covid-19 impacted your training and preparations for Tokyo?
Last year was crazy and training looked quite different for a while. No pools, no gyms, no training centers for a few months. Thankfully I could run outside, I set up a little home gym in my living room at my apartment and made my garage into a place I could do fencing drills and shooting. I made it work the best I could, but it was not the same. It did force me to change around my training which was a good thing and forced me to go back to the basics.
I tried lots of online workout videos, YouTube workouts, and was able to make some YouTube videos of my own to show some workouts and baking I did during the quarantine time.
I went over a year without competing or traveling which was good for my base training, but mentally a struggle. I did start working with a psychologist in April 2020 which I think has helped my preparations leading up to Tokyo.
What are you looking forward to about making your Olympic debut?
I am looking forward to being able to compete at the Games in general. Last year I thought the Olympics could be cancelled. I am simply happy that the USOPC, IOC, Japan, and so many other people are working so hard to make the Olympic Games happen. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and it will be a different experience not to have spectators or my family. However, I am incredibly grateful and excited to have that opportunity and let my hard work come through to represent Team USA and the US Army in Tokyo.
Who do you see as your main competitors at the Olympics?
Myself actually. I feel that I am my own toughest critic and competitor. I hope to be able to enjoy the Olympics and know that my hard work and training has paid off and I can compete hard with all the other women from all around the world.
How long have you been working with blueseventy?
I began working with blueseventy in 2012 right before the London Olympics. I did some suit testing and after trying out a couple of the race suits, I loved them, so I reached out to the CEO and have been working with the company ever since! I love the race suits and practice suits. It has been great to see the company develop more products and items for their customers and all areas of swimming whether it’s in a pool, open water, triathlon, etc.
What do you like about our brand?
I love the quality of the suits. I never have had a suit rip at a competition. I also still have practice suits back from 6+ years ago that I am still wearing! They have not worn out which I am amazed with especially with how much I swim. I love that I can share good quality race suits, wet suits, practice suits, and now more swimming gear with my followers that they can utilize and take advantage of no matter what their swimming goals are!
Good luck to Sammy in Tokyo. The Pentathlon event starts on 6 August. Follow Sammy via Instagram.