Sport: Triathlon

How did you become involved in your sport?

At a young age I took up running after competing in a charity 5km. After that event I continued to train by myself and competed in races ranging from 5km to half marathons. For the longer races I decided to buy a road bike so I could include some cross training and variety into my training. Not long after this I discovered triathlon whilst watching the 2016 Rio Olympics and I remember thinking how cool those athletes were. Going from the swim, to the bike and then to the run looked incredibly difficult and I knew someday I needed to try this. For two years I debated if I should learn how to swim properly or not because I was a bad swimmer. I then entered into my first triathlon which forced me to get swimming lessons and that is probably the best decision I have ever made. After my first triathlon I was hooked.

What is it that you love about your sport?

The best thing about triathlon is the variety in training. You never get sick of it as you are training for three sports rather than just one. If I wake up some morning and I don’t feel like I’m mentally committed to do my running session I can easily replace it with a bike session and do that run later in the week. Another great thing about triathlon is that there are so many different forms of racing. You can race anything from a short 1-hour race right up to an Ironman which can take up to 12 hours to complete. Right now I am focusing on the Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons but in the future I would like to complete a few Ironman’s.

What are your earliest sporting memories?

My earliest sporting memories is from taking part in cross country races whilst in primary school. I also used to play indoor football every Thursday night in the Lakeland Forum. I remember at a young age experimenting and trying out new sports including rugby, tennis and Jiu-Jitsu.

Who was, or is, your biggest influence?

My biggest influence is Fraser Cartmell from Global Triathlon Network. Fraser is a retired professional triathlete with multiple Scottish champion and Ironman wins. When he retired he joined Global Triathlon Network as a presenter. Fraser and the rest of the GTN presenters upload daily triathlon related content including training information, race breakdowns and all other sorts of information.

Who do you look up to in your chosen sport?

In my chosen sport I look up to the Norwegian athlete and Ironman 70.3 world record holder Kristian Blummenfelt. Kristian is well known for his ability to push hard in the red zone for long periods of time. He even said once he enjoys the pain. Kristian’s racing style is also different from everyone else. He is very aggressive when he races and likes to sit in the front of the race and push the pace any chance he gets.

Could you give us an example of what a typical week involves for yourself ?

Before the pandemic I trained around six days a week. I aimed to get at least three swim sessions, three bike rides and three runs in a week. I prioritise my cycling over my running and swimming more because cycling takes up the most part of a triathlon race. Triathlon racing is seasonal and in our country, races are only held during the summer months. Training load and intensity depends on what season we are in. After the summer racing season we go into the off season where the training load and intensity is reduced. I like to follow the 80/20 rule which means 80 per cent of my training is low intensity training and 20 per cent is high intensity training.

What do you think are the key to being successful in sport?

The key to being successful in sport is being consistent in your training. It’s also important to have variety in your training including low intensity work with also some high intensity and longer training sessions. Recovery and injury prevention is also a massive part of sport especially for triathlon as you are training for three sports.

What have been your biggest successes to date?

Personally I don’t see any of my running or triathlon AG (Age Group) wins as my biggest successes. For me, my biggest success was learning how to swim freestyle at the age of 18. One of the biggest things that stops people from taking up triathlon is that they didn’t learn how to swim properly at a young age and they believe it is too late to learn. I am proof that it’s never too late to learn how to swim and become a good swimmer.

What are your goals for the future?

In the next couple of years I would like to continue racing in the sprint and Olympic race distances and try to achieve my full potential in those distances. My big goal is that in the far future I would eventually like to race in the half ironman and ironman distance races and qualify as an AG athlete for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

What bit of advice would you offer to anybody starting out in your chosen sport?

My best bit of advice for anyone starting out or wanting to start triathlon is to go and join a club.

I personally have learnt so much about the sport from joining Cuilcagh Triathlon Club and my progression has increased dramatically since joining. Surround yourself with people experienced in the sport and they will guide you in the right directions also you will make friends for life. You don’t need to be fit or a great cyclist to start triathlon.

There are so many short events like Try-a-Tri’s that are run for triathlon first timers and beginners.