TRIATHLETE DIARIES – Lisa Hancox is a Quintessential Female Triathlete. Why?


Read the story of elite female triathlete and swimming coach Lisa Hancox who resides in Dubai and has been racing in triathlons for 4 years. During this tenure she has raced and won in various long distances races.

She set her first long distance goal as the Ironman South Africa 2014, and placed 7th in her age group which is phenomenal for a new triathlete at the time. She then proceeded to step up to various international podium places, mostly recently 2nd in age group in Thailand at the Ironman 70.3, the Bahrain Ironman 70.3 2016 (1st), Dubai Ironman 70.3 2016 (2nd), Putrajaya, Malaysia Ironman 70.3 2015 (2nd), Bahrain Ironman 70.3 2015 (3rd) and in local races she took the Dubai International Triathlon 2017 (1st), Dubai Women’s Triathlon 2017 (2nd) , Roy Nasr Memorial Triathlon 2017 (3rd), Trifest sprint March 2017 (1st), 2xu Olympic Oct 2016  (3rd Overall Ladies), DIT 2015 (1st), and Roy Nasr 2013 sprint (1st female).   Lisa competed alongside pro athlete Svetlana Blasevic in the Dubai Women’s Triathlon with a very close finish.

I have watched Lisa’s races over the years and in Dubai and seen how she has become the quintessential female triathlete.   She has agreed to tell us some of her training secrets and how she has climbed the ranks to success.  Read on about this delightful athlete with an inspiring background and wicked sense of humour.

Lisa Hancox

Tell us one very interesting fact about you.

The most interesting sports event I have participated in was the white collar boxing in 2010. It was after this kick start back into training that I started triathlons.

Tell us about your background including your career journey to becoming a swimming coach.

I grew up in Saudi and Hong Kong hence I spent a lot of time in water and learnt to swim and understand water at a young age.  From there I progressed into a Swim Club and went on to swim at county level in the UK.

At age 16 years my coach was running a teaching course so I began to teach young children and developed my teaching from there by watching the best teachers in our programme and adopting their best teaching practices for my own swimmers.

My university course was Sports Studies with Business so this enabled me to develop the business side of teaching and coaching, and opened me to other sports as well.

In 2007 I established my own business in the UAE and ran it for 6 years, after which I sold it in 2013 and have worked in Fitness First ever since to run the Aquatics division.

When did your triathlon journey start and what/who inspired you to do so?

I participated in an Aquathon in 2010 and won a bronze medal!   So I decided to try triathlons – I had to buy a bike and in my ignorance I bought one second hand but it was too big!  Once I bought a bike that was a better size and got a bike fit then the cycling became much easier and I gained confidence and a little speed.  I took a break when the business required more attention and then came back to triathlons when I sold the business and registered for IMSA 2014!

What is your biggest accomplishment in triathlon so far?

Completing IMSA 2014 and winning my age group in Bahrain 2016.

What is your strongest discipline and why?

Strongest discipline is swimming – as I grew up with the sport and have the technique and water understanding – most people find this the hardest.

What challenges have you faced in training?  How many hours a week do you train? Do you focus only tri discipline training or do you do cross/strength training as well?

Challenges in training are injuries!  Over time the training show up imbalances in the body which have to be managed.

The training varies depending on where in the schedule we are but I guess usually 12-14 hours per week.

Lisa Hancox – smiles all the way

What challenges have you faced in racing?

Racing – my biggest challenge has been to run with shoes on!!  It seemed normal to me to take shoes off but it seems others find it a bit weird!  Finally after some time I was told I have Morton’s Neuroma.  When I googled it the one sentence that sticks with me is “Relief is removal of shoes” BINGO!!!

So I had cryosurgery to desensitise the nerve and then got orthotics to fix my feet – now I can almost always keep shoes on my feet and focus on one foot in front of the other when I run instead of debating in my head whether shoes should be off or on?!

How you keep yourself “lean and mean”?  What is your preferred daily nutrition plan to keep you healthy?

Lean and Mean is a challenge as I like my cookies and choccies.  The more I manage to stay away from ice cream and cookies the less I crave them but for nutrition I have always been a bad child!

I don’t eat fruit or salad so sometimes it can be a challenge to find a healthy snack when out and about but I am learning and now use protein shakes etc when necessary.

The next challenge is to learn to take gels in races …

You are in the top 5 ranking of female triathletes in the UAE.  What do you believe makes you noticeable from the rest as an athlete?

Triathlon is a lifestyle and when you live it and participate in it as a social sport with others it becomes motivating to train.  I also have a coach now who I trust and enjoy working with.

Which triathlete inspires you the most?

The one in front!!

What is your next big challenge?

Challenge Roth 2018 and also I’ve qualified for Kona 2018 as well. So I’ll be training for long distance for each of these.

Any advice that you would give to leave for new triathletes to think about?

Find a group to train with, set a goal (register for a race) and be consistent in your training.  Also make sure your bike fit is good and your trainers are the right ones for you!