Interview with Triathlete and Coach Ronnie Schildknecht - Beta testing CORE

Ronnie Schildknecht is a well known Swiss triathlete, manager and coach with sporting accomplishments across the globe. At home in Switzerland he won the Iron Man Switzerland nine times. Ronnie is part of the CORE team and supports as a sports advisor. He has been instrumental in helping to develop the wearable sports CORE device, and also educates and guides athletes on core body temperature as a performance indicator for better training, recovery and competition.

Recently, Holger Hendrichs from GreenTEG (the parent company of CORE) had the opportunity to speak with Ronnie about his career, his role as an advisor to CORE, as well as the latest developments now that we face the challenges of COVID-19. 

Ronnie, could you please briefly introduce yourself to our followers? How long have you been an elite athlete competing all over the world?

I completed my first Ironman pro race in 2002 at Ironman Florida so this year is my 19th season as a pro and competed 12 times at the Ironman World Champs in Kona with a race-best 4th place.

Ronnie at the Iron Man Dubai 2020

Based on your experience, why do you see value in monitoring core body temperature during sports?

I think being able to measure core body temperature and control the intensity on the go accordingly during training and racing is a very important piece of the puzzle to prevent overheating, which will ultimately affect performance to maintain constant power output.

Were you surprised to learn that the/your core body temperature could get so hot during endurance athletic events?

No, I was not surprised at all because I have been racing in Kona many times where I almost suffered a heat stroke. I always knew I was too hot but it was already too late. After a certain point, all the ice cooling at aid stations is not helping much.

How would you use core body temperature tracking during your training, as well as athletic events?

I would use it in all my training to get a baseline and reference. Based on the data I would adjust the training accordingly as I think there would be a lot of valuable info regarding recovery and health based on your temperature. 

Then of course during races in the heat, it would be most valuable to control body temperature and adjust wattage output accordingly or focus on cooling.

You have recently competed in the IRONMAN 70.3 DUBAI, wearing our prototype. Did you get any valuable insight from that? How did it go?

Yes, indeed, it showed me some interesting stats but since I flatted halfway and didn’t finish the race the data was a bit compromised. But overall it gave me a good impression. I need more data 😉!

Do you believe that core body temperature will be used as another key performance indicator for sports performance in the near future? Could this be a game-changer for athletes and coaches?

I truly believe being able to measure body core temperature will be a game-changer along with all the data we are already able to measure. I am sure in a few years every big player (Polar, Garmin, Suunto) needs to step up and offer this game-changing feature. We are ready to help with that 😉!

Recently, given the current COVID-19 crisis, we have shifted the focus from using core body temperature tracking for athletic performance to fever tracking. That could be helpful to give early signs of COVID-19 infection and help to fight the pandemic (that doesn’t mean we are dropping the athletic product, though). How do you feel about helping with something that can assist in fighting the global pandemic? 

I am not an expert in early detection of COVID-19 but I could imagine that such a device could help detect symptoms early for people who work in hospitals for example.

Finally, as a coach, what would you recommend to all those athletes keeping “social distance” at home to keep up with their training? 

I think we should take care of our immune system and our mental sanity by being active and eating healthy. At the moment maintaining fitness and working on things like your core body fitness (where I usually don’t focus enough on) could help you in the later stages when everything is calming down a bit.