"I’m Richie Cunningham. I’ve been a professional tri athlete for nearly 20 years. I come from Australia. Now living in Boulder, CO. Some of my highlights, I’ve been top 3 at world championships twice and top 5 three times. I was 2nd at Boulder IM last year and I’ve probably have the most amount of seconds in any 70.3 out of any 70.3 athlete luckily thanks to Craig Alexander who beat me a lot when I was staring out."
When did you realize you wanted to be a professional athlete?
"I was at school with my brother. So he came to me one day and said, there is this new sport lets go and try it out. I would always run and had ridden a little bit. Never really swam and this was back in the 80’s and the sport was really new then. Yeah, we sort of jumped in and you know, I really enjoyed it. We did 3 or 4 races I think with our age group that year. Then I joined the military and sort of didn’t race for another 4 or 5 years. I always wanted to be a runner and when I moved back to where my running coach was at school, which is in a little town called Ballarat in Victoria. They just had fun local tri athletes meet on Tuesday night so I thought I would start doing them again. Doing some cross training for running and I guess I enjoyed that a little bit more and had a little bit more success with that then I did running then did I ever think I was going to be anything fantastic as a runner, so yeah I guess I just pursued the triathlon. So I sort of jumped right back into it. You know I packed up pretty much and moved to Queensland where there’s a professional coach and just rung him up and said, you know I’m coming to join you and didn’t take no for an answer. I just packed up the car with my brother and drove up there. You know 2 days of driving and yeah, got up there and the rest was history."
What is a typical day like for Richie Cunningham?
"You know, I like to race so like that’s one advantage of you know, enjoying the sport and having longevity. It’s hard to describe an average day, I guess its swim, bike, run and a little gym somewhere. I just switched to a new gym, Rally Sport, and they have a really good swim program there so I’ve sort of enjoyed that. Its most mornings not super early unless I decide to do the 5:30 one which is not very often. But yeah, basically get up, leave and go for a little run or head down to the pool, go swim and then during winter it’s a lot different than summer. You know here you don’t have that much daylight to get everything done so you have to swim early mainly in the dark or run in the dark and once it warms up enough you can ride outside. Then your sort of you know fit what you can outside. Leading into summer, like it is now with the better weather if the clocks have changed I manage to get longer riding done now which is a lot more enjoyable. You can get up into the mountains do some enjoyable training for a change."
What are your thoughts on the topic of Recovery?
"Early on in my career I was young and I guess I was very fortunate I never got injured and I was always a strong athlete. I think that was one of my strengths. As I got older in life, I actually started to pay attention to that massage and thankfully something like the product RecoveryPump came along which I definitely think has helped prolong my career. You know you sit in the boots for an hour every night and it sort of gives you a kick start for the next day. I have been using that religiously now for nearly 6 years now. I don’t want to change that program I have now with RecoveryPump."
How did you approach recovery prior to discovering RecoveryPump?
"I mean it could go a lot of different ways even with just the older age and you’ve got a lot of younger kids who sort of neglect that side of it like I did but now there are so many new tools like the RecoveryPump that you can use that would give some of these younger kids a big advantage. It would put them on at least the same playing field that I have now. It is certainly a big factor. I mean it really does come down to recovery and nutrition as well as just being smart about things. When we are all younger we all went out a lot more and partied a little bit more and I think now its becoming way more professional of a sport. You know, even like I said with the tools we have now like RecoveryPump where we didn’t have earlier on in my career."
What is your protocol for using RecoveryPump?
"Well luckily with the new one it has an even higher pressure which I really enjoy so I’ve pretty much have it set up on high all the time. Generally, I just use it after the most intense sessions of the day. I mean if I do a long run in the morning which I do Sunday so I do a long run, come home normally and me and my wife have a fight of who gets in it first. Then you know I might sit in them for an hour or 45 minutes on whatever setting I have for it and then normally on a Sunday I like to go for a 2nd run in the afternoon. It’s not a bad tool to use right before a pre training session so I like to get in it just short like 10-15 minutes to get the blood flowing again and then go out and do a 2nd session. But generally I just use it in the evenings when we’re sitting down eating dinner. It’s a lot more relaxing and recovery is more beneficial when you can actually relax and not stressed about the next session. So definitely for the recovery side of things I definitely think the longer period is beneficial. If you sort of want to wake the legs up or before you actually get into a hard session especially if it’s early in the morning and you don’t get a chance to do the proper warm up or it’s cold, I think that’s where it’s really beneficial. You know I really don’t think a lot of people use it that way just yet so I want to kind of keep that a secret. "
Tell us about your experiences using the latest RecoveryPump products.
"I mean its head and shoulders even above what I liked before about the old product. I mean the biggest advantage I think is 1. The pressure so it’s a lot higher, Even the boots, the tubes are all integrated. They don’t get all tangled and everything. But I think the biggest advantage is 2. The battery life. As I wrote in one of my blogs. I can take it with me to a race overseas and I just came back from Brazil and you know you use it a couple times in the airport makes people look at you a little funny but you know it certainly gives you that option and the fact that it’s a lot more compact and fits in your carry-on bag and you don’t have to recharge it. About 3-4 years ago I actually took the old system to Germany, when I was racing there and I plugged it in and blew the unit up because it wasn’t compatible yet to the European voltages. So now it gives you that 6-7 pump sessions on the battery and actually I never have run the battery dry which is more than enough to go to a race and recover after a race then fly home. Also, if I did run the battery dry the system is now universal so I could plug it in and recharge no matter what country I am in which is great."
What kind of results are you getting with RecoveryPump?
"I guess the biggest benefit and when you actually notice it the most is like something like on your longer sessions so a long run or a long ride or a really intense day and your legs are actually swollen and you have a lot of blood flowing and I love it when I go in after those kind of days because then it just squeezes and flushes everything out and then my legs are really skinny and I feel like I’m a little runner or something. You actually notice the difference like it’s night and day between when you get in and when you do one of those hard training days and you get out. I mean it instantly feels recovered. It feels like a good night’s sleep."
What is it like working with the RecoveryPump team?
"This day and age to keep a sponsor for more than a couple years is a hard thing as a pro athlete. You know the fact that RecveryPump has been with me for going on 6 years now speaks volume for the company. It’s been a privilege being with RecoveryPump from the ground up and seeing it now used on Rugby players, football players, basketballers, etc. all around the world. You know it’s not just a triathlon device, it’s also a main stream sports device which is awesome!"
Would you recommend RecoveryPump to other athletes?
"Absolutely, I mean I’m proof of the pudding. I’m going on 42 this year and I’m still racing with the young guys and still winning races so you know you can’t argue with the proof."
-Richie Cunningham, Professional Triathlete