Sport as a platform to the world
Sport as a platform to the world
Sport has always been a part of her life, but in 2015, she fell in love with Spartan. Since 2017, she has run around 100 races, including trails, ultra-trails, Swimrun, Spartan and OCR. European and World Championships, many adventures around the world, many mountains, extreme temperatures, many loads, many challenges, longer and longer distances.
Interview with Filipa Castela
You are associated with Spartan, but you also do other things like trail running and swimming. How do you combine all this?
In fact, all three disciplines have a common denominator: running. So, I always focus on long distance running. Fortunately, with my swimming experience, I can perform at a high level even without training. However, I always try to do one swimming training session per week, which I call "active recovery". The biggest challenge is the technical obstacles as well as the loads, as there is no way to replicate the experience of running in training. I aim to do two fitness sessions a week, which I don't always do because it's really the least enjoyable.
How was your first Spartan?
It's a bittersweet story: I'd never done anything like it, and I'd only run a trail a month before to understand what I was getting into. I barely knew what obstacles were at the time. Long story short, I did it all, won the race (yes, I won my first Spartan!), then had to have shoulder surgery. Would I change anything? Of course, I would! I got injured because of a lack of technique, so I should have been more vigilant and focused on executing the obstacles.
What is a typical day like and how do you fit in your training sessions?
It's crazy, and it's an amazing workout! Here's an excerpt from a message that appeared a few days ago on one of my old Facebook posts, which illustrates what my day-to-day life was like prior to the pandemic:
I don't know where I am anymore .... One day I'm in Valongo with a virus and I miss the 45 km, the next day I'm in Madrid presenting a meeting to 50 people. I get home and in the blink of an eye, I'm in Faro giving a training course, then I'm off to Maggiora to run the Spartan Race. At 2 a.m., I go to bed and in the morning, I'm in Porto to open a franchise. When I get home today, I leave my bag and go to Vienna to run a marathon.
The pandemic has brought more routine to my life, because as well as working from home, I can't travel for work and all the races have been cancelled.
I wake up at 5 a.m. to go training, it's not possible otherwise. I run in the morning, and at the end of the day, I do functional training, strength training, or cycling. At 10 p.m., I'm in bed.
I take advantage of the weekend to do my long training sessions, because it's impossible during the week.
Do you think it is important that food products associated with sport are healthier, without chemicals?
I agree 100%. Eating a healthy diet, with natural ingredients and as few chemicals as possible, helps us to be at one with nature and to find our balance. It prevents inflammation, aids digestion, and stimulates recovery. Our body recognises what we ingest and can use this fuel much better.
What is your favourite product at Super Vegan Fitness (SVF) and why?
Super Vegan Boost. There are not many similar products on the market, they are made from natural ingredients, taste amazing and are proven to work. I take the Boost 40 minutes before a race or intense workout, and I feel much fitter and quicker to respond to stimuli during exercise, but without that anxious feeling that high caffeine products cause.
What do you usually do before a race?
Two to three hours before the race, I eat breakfast, regardless of the time. I make a smoothie usually consisting of Buddha's Awakening, a banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter, berries, a plant-based drink, and with a mix of seeds like buckwheat, hemp seeds, raw cacao nibs and pecans.
Forty minutes before the race, I take a dose of Super Vegan Boost.
Are you on a diet?
I don't follow a diet. I have a vegan diet, but it's not the healthiest one possible, because I eat a bit of junk food. I usually introduce as much variety as possible in my diet and I always cook them in different ways. I love to cook, and I never lack inspiration. The only food routines I have are breakfasts and what I eat during training.
You are a vegan. Does that make you more concerned about making sure you get the optimal dose of protein, vitamins, and minerals?
I'm not too worried about it. I know that if I eat a balanced and varied diet, with a preference for unprocessed foods, and in reasonable quantities, I am getting excellent nutrition for my needs. I take spirulina, D3 and B12 daily, so I can compensate for any deficiencies.
Why did you accept the challenge to be part of Super Vegan Fitness?
How could you refuse? I believe in Super Vegan Fitness because it is a local brand based on the needs of athletes. Boosting performance, energy and recovery with vegan and organic products allows us to be more in tune with nature, to feel more alive, more human.
Is there an SVF product that you always carry with you?
What SVF products do you usually use before, during or after a race or training session and what tips can you share?
Before: Super Vegan Boost, 40 minutes before. Often during races, it is not possible to store things so close to the start of the race, so I always take Super Vegan Boost in a reusable soft cup, which I then use during the race at the feed stations.
During: Super Vegan Hydrate. I always prepare it the day before and put it in the fridge so it's fresh when I go to consume it.
Does a short or long workout have an impact on what you eat?
For short training sessions (1.5 hours maximum), I usually just drink water or water with Super Vegan Hydrate. If the terrain is very uneven, I add vegan energy biscuits.
For longer training sessions, I always take a waistcoat with a good dose of hydration, energy chews, and sometimes food (this can vary from bananas, apricots, energy bars, rice rolls, boiled potatoes).
Three words that describe you:
Active, organised, versatile.
The race you have enjoyed the most so far:
Globalimits UltraTrail Albânia 220k
What races are you planning to do in 2021?
I have about 20 races planned for 2021, but the big challenge of the year is just one: the UltraTrail Globalimits São Tomé 200k stage race in July.
As far as the Spartan Race is concerned, the big bets are Andorra UltraBeast (50k) in June and Morzine France UltraBeast (50k) in August. It will be a great honor to also compete in the European Spartan Race Championship in Verbier, Switzerland, in September, and the Spartan Race Trifecta World Championship in Sparta, Greece, in November. But in both competitions, I am not aiming for a first place this year.
I also hope to complete the national circuit of Swimrun, a sport that is practiced in pairs, and where I team up with my husband, Samuel Castela.
A hero in the world of sport?
Michael Phelps, Scott Jurek, and Jonathan Albon.
What is the best part of the competition for you?
Travelling, meeting athletes from other countries, doing what I love most with a result, and always being motivated to train and grow.
What products would you like to develop that do not yet exist?
Performance gels and gums made from natural products; individual doses of nut butter.
A recipe we need to try:
I really like the baked pumpkin curry, a recipe from the "Buddhist Chef". The other day, I tried replacing the pumpkin with potato, and now I have two versions to eat and cry for more!
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