After my beginners luck at the Shrewsbury Sprint Triathlon, I carried on with my usual routine; occasionally venturing to the gym before work, working, eating, drinking, socialising, going away for weekends and sleeping.
Shortly after my apparent success at the event, Sam Mountain (coach for Amphibian Triathlon Coaching and SYTri) approached me at Rowton Castle Country Club (my gym) during one of my morning workouts. He asked me whether I was a member of the Shrewsbury Triathlon Club (SYTri) and who I was coached by.
He was met with a vacant expression.
Obviously, I coached myself like a normal wanna-be triathlete, duuuuhhhhh!
He asked me a few more questions about my previous triathlon experience etc etc. Again, he was met with a vacant gaze. I had no idea what he was on about and I had to explain that the previous weekends success was purely down to beginners luck and a bit of mental determination. For some reason, he thought there was more to it than just luck – still, a vacant expression.
As he suggested, I joined SYTri and was therefore able to attend the club swimming sessions and track evenings. This alone provided more structure to my training and I continued to attend the gym in the mornings where he monitored (judged) my training from afar (in the shadows of the gym). I just carried on doing my own thing, coaching myself and living my best life. During this time, I sustained a minor injury to my Achilles and had a niggle in my knee.
Shortly before Christmas, Sam sat me down to discuss my future plans/ambitions regarding triathlon. By this point I had been working on my running pace (whilst slightly injured and making it worse), naturally aiming for a PB every session, lifting heavier weights, doing more burpees and getting out on my bike as much as possible. I was driven by going faster on Strava and burning calories/losing weight. Neither of which were going to get me successfully through a triathlon and all of which were making me tired (obvs. nothing to do with my social life).
I like to set my goals pretty high. Before sitting down with Sam and after my Shrewsbury Triathlon, my social media following became largely geared around triathletes and sportsmen/women rather than fashion and ‘lifestyle’ influencers which I had before. I had looked into the European Championships and decided that’s where I’d like to aim.
Decision made my answer to Sam was that, in 2019 I wanted to qualify for the 2020 European Triathlon Championships.
He asked me how I intended to get there. I had no idea.
After that discussion, we agreed that I would be taken under his wing from January 2019 and I would become a ‘coached triathlete’, just four months after my first event. He ran through the likely training hours and how the coach/athlete relationship would work. He also explained that I had been over-training; hence the injury.
He warned me that I would need to make sacrifices e.g. not as much socialising. Phaaaaaa, when he said this I wanted to wish him luck. I had every intention of continuing my current lifestyle and drinking habits whilst qualifying for the Europeans. #YOLO.
Miracles do happen afterall.
On my own accord, I decided to use the Christmas break as a bit of a detox – terrible timing I know but a lot had happened between June and December 2018:
- I regained my single status;
- I gained a promotion at work;
- I moved from Wales to Shrewsbury;
- I moved again within Shrewsbury;
- I more than regained my social life;
- I put an offer in on a house and sorted a Mortgage;
- I put 20,000 miles on my car due to various weekend adventures; and
- I completed a triathlon.
The six months had been a bit of a whirlwind and I needed some downtime. I also needed to rest ahead of the imminent structured training regime I had committed myself to!
Things can only get better…