The Pro’s Kit: Chelsea Sodaro

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In our newest series, The Pro’s Kit, we’ll take you behind the scenes with candid interviews with some of the world’s best. Each interview will cover the nuts and bolts of how they do what they do. We’ll look at their favorite gizmos, gadgets, and gear and explore the hacks and habits behind their mental, physical, and emotional health.

We’re kicking off the series with elite runner turned pro triathlete, Chelsea Sodaro. Chelsea grew up in Davis, California, where she swam, biked, danced, and played competitive soccer before finding a love of running in high school. By her senior year at UC Berkeley, she was a four-time All-American, helping lead the Golden Bears to their first appearance at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 30 years.

Chelsea is a rising star in triathlon. In just her 4th 70.3, Chelsea placed 4th as the top American at the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France.

Reading

My favorite book is Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Right now I’m reading the Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

I read the Skimm and the NY Times The Morning to keep up on the news, although I try not to read those first thing in the morning.

Favorite newsletters are The Morning Shakeout (@mariofraioli) and Fast Women. I used to be a competitive runner so I love to keep up on the elite side of that sport.

Listening to

My all time favorite podcast is How I Built This with Guy Raz. I also listen to The Daily, The Growth Equation, The Daily Stoic, Just Women’s Sports with Kelley O’Hara.

One of the best podcasts of this year was Nice White Parents – it was a transformative listen and eye-opening for me as a white woman who hopes to be a parent one day.

Watching

I watch TV to shut my brain off, so usually something mindless. I recently rediscovered the Great British Baking Show!

Resources: Go-to apps, gizmos and gadgets that help you do what you do?

Gadgets: Normatec Boots; Hypervolt Vyper 2.0 Foam Roller; Elite Drivo II Smart Trainer; Polar Vantage V (always on my wrist, except when I’m riding – a watch isn’t very aero!).

Apps: Athletes For Yoga, Headspace, Today’s Plan, HRV4 Training, Polar Flow.

Nutrition: Your approach or anything unique about your philosophy? What would people find in your refrigerator or pantry?

Eat real food! I stick to the outside of the grocery store and find a lot of joy in cooking beautiful meals for my family. We eat a ton of veggies and focus on getting in quality protein (think cage-free eggs, grass fed beef, and wild salmon). I’m not afraid of carbs. I love fresh sourdough bread from a local bakery, sweet potatoes, quinoa, farro, and other whole grains. I believe in eating full fat dairy. Cheese and chocolate are staples. 🙂

Triathlete Chelsea Sodaro cooking

Mind: Is there anything you do for mindfulness or to maintain your mental health?

I took a Vedic Meditation, a mantra based meditation, course earlier this year and that has been a super interesting experience. My goal is two twenty minutes sessions per day, but that doesn’t always happen. I feel good if I get in at least one. I definitely notice a difference when I’m consistent. I’m way more present and less agitated in my day to day life. I am also better at staying in the moment when I’m training.

I also work with Dr. Kristin Keim (@drkeim). She’s an amazing sports psychologist. Beyond helping me in my sport, she has also empowered me to find my voice and really advocate for myself in some tough situations. I don’t think that I would have had the courage to make some big decisions this year without her support.

Sleep: Any rituals/habits?

I aim for 9-10 hours of sleep each night. My goal is to stop looking at my phone and other devices by 8pm, but I’m still a work in progress.

I’ve started doing a short Athletes For Yoga session before bed, and that’s been helping me chill out. I am not a great napper, but I try to lie down and close my eyes for thirty minutes each day.

Strength and Mobility: How much, how often and what type of work do you do?

I work with Charlie Reid (@charliereid), an incredible strength coach. Since Covid, he’s been coming to our garage gym a couple of times a week so I’m able to stay on top of my strength routine. I lift one other time by myself and incorporate core and mobility throughout the week. We periodize my strength routine to match my triathlon training. Doing heavy deadlifts and prioritizing functional core work has helped me stay super healthy.

Planks with strength coach @charliereid

Recovery: Do you have a specific strategy or ritual, and/or health metrics you watch?

I’ve recently started tracking my HRV first thing in the morning. That’s been super interesting. I use the app HRV4 Training. It tends to correlate pretty closely with how beat up I feel after a gnarly training day.

My coach, Dan Plews, will sometimes adjust my training based on the data to really optimize my performance when it matters.

I also love my Normatec Boots. They flush my legs while also getting me to sit still for an extended period of time! Doing a short meditation of yoga routine after training helps me switch in to the parasympathetic nervous system – the rest and digest system. In reality, sleep and proper fueling and hydration are the most important (albeit not very sexy) aspects of recovery. I tend to perform pretty well when I’m nailing these basic habits.

Chelsea Sodaro in Normatec recovery boots

Gear: Favorite items in your Triathlon Kit?

In the closet. The Orca 3.8 wetsuits.

Bikes, Saddles, Handlebars and Wheels

Tires

I train on the Vittoria Rubino Pro and race on the Vittoria Corsa Speed. I’ve been racing tubeless since last season. I’m actually playing around with tire pressure a bit, but currently loving 80psi on the front and 85psi on the back.

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