Tony Kanaan is one of the most famous race car drivers living in South Florida. He won the IndyCar Series championship in 2004, and has 14 race victories since starting with IndyCars in 2002. He's also one of the most conditioned athletes in the sport.
The IndyCar season ended last month and Kanaan is again training for triathlons. He's competing in the Oct. 30 Rohto Ironman 70.3 Miami, a swim-bike-run triathlon that totals more than 70 miles.
Being a professional athlete, I need to compete at my best. And it's my own investment in my body -- everyone needs to take care of themselves. I also just love working out. Looking good on TV is the least of my concerns.
How do you keep in shape?
I've done a couple of du's (duathlons), but I really like tri's so I train for them.
Since I was 8 years old, I've been racing: first go-karts and then professionally. It's not good for kids to lift weights that young, so my mother and dad, to keep me fit for racing, had me take swimming. I started to run when I was 14, and was 18 when I started cycling.
One day a friend said, "You're doing all that so why don't you do a triathlon?" That was 10 years ago and I've been doing them since then.
What's your favorite leg of triathlons?
Cycling. I'm a big Lance Armstrong fan. The bicycle has a lot of similarities to racing cars, like drafting (to reduce wind resistance) and focus. You can't lose focus for a single second in racing cars or bikes.
Do you compete in triathlons for fun or to win?
I won a couple of sprint triathlons (400-meter swim, 20K bike and 5K run) on Key Biscayne, so I like winning. The 70.3 in Miami is coming up soon and I want to do well. Obviously, I push my body more than other race car drivers, but I don't have to do a triathlon in a certain time or win. Racing cars is my real job.
Why are you doing the Ironman 70.3 Miami?
Obviously this is a local race, and I've already done one half Ironman, a long time ago. I made some personal endorsements for my triathlon hobby and had to commit to some races. And it's preparation for future triathlons I want to do. One of my goals is to do the Ironman Hawaii (140.6 miles) in the future.
What's your training schedule?
If I'm a full week at home, I train seven days a week.
What's your Monday routine?
I'll cycle for two hours on the island -- it's such a beautiful island -- and swim in the ocean for 45 minutes. I'll lift 45 minutes in the gym. I split all three of these workouts up throughout the day.