My legs are heavy, my lungs are screaming at me and im having one of those days where my head is telling me to stop! But I’ve one interval left as I push through the gears for the last time… I remind myself if I stop I’m cheating myself, and Matt (my coach) will be paying attention and asking what went wrong… so I give it a final push to the end, complete today’s session and immediately feel better for making it. Motivation comes in highs and lows but knowing I am accountable is what ultimately pushes me through.
I am a 39 year old shift worker and working towards my first 70.3 Ironman in Staffordshire! – I was hoping to have one under my belt by now but the world of Covid as delayed that.
A little about how I got here;
I’ve always been a runner, from cross country at school, to dipping in and out of it as an adult for general fitness.
In 2018 I committed to my first half marathon in Windsor. It was a big deal at the time and seemed a daunting challenge… so you can imagine I was feeling pretty pleased with myself when I finished sub 2 hours. I also thought, I’ve ticked that box, no desire to go any further and put it to bed… for a very short while…
Two months later I found myself staring at a Sprint Triathlon at Dorney Lake… im not a great swimmer, but I could do that. I can ride a bike (hadn’t in years) and I can run!… just like that, I was signed up for my first Sprint triathlon.. Eeek!
I then got a wake up call as I hadn’t swam in so long, I couldn’t do one length without having to stop for a breather… my technique was awful and I had no idea. I had never ridden a bike with cleats… my goodness I felt trapped and falling off was becoming a regular occurrence. However, I persevered, telling myself I have to keep going, keep trying, it will get better.
Open water swimming was another HUGE obstacle. Being a weak swimmer, out in the cold, the open with darkness below… I got a little anxious but kept turning up and getting in…trying to build on my distance each time.
My event soon came. It was a great day to experience with some good friends, all of us for the first time. It was also the start of the season, which meant one thing.. another sprint triathlon followed and on increasing my distance and my confidence in the lake I finished the season with my first Olympic distance. I wasn’t breaking any records but was happy to complete it.
My friend and I considered an Ironman. Knowing my swim was up to 1500m I thought its only an extra 400m for the 70.3. I agreed but as long as it was a lake swim. I have no Sea swimming experience – id probably be swept away or eaten!
A matter of weeks after entering the 70.3 I learned id been successful in the ballot for the London Marathon in its 40th Year… Wow, I had my work cut out out for me!
Throughout the smaller events I did my own training and because they were smaller I was able to get away with it.
6 months before IM Staffordshire and 4 months before the marathon I knew I wasn’t training enough to take on the event..in my head I was thinking as long As I make the cut off times and finish ill be happy. It wasn’t enough and my motivation was dipping.
I then found Matt at MJ Triathlon Coaching… a man with 20 years experience in the fitness industry and who has a true passion for triathlon. I explained to him where I was at and the events I have coming up. My IM was my A race! My concern was having the London Marathon only 5 weeks earlier, Was it achievable? Could I get there without injury? Am I taking on too much?
Matt was very supportive and encouraging. He agreed to take me on and write a training schedule for me to build up my fitness and get me to both Start and Finish lines!
Being a shift worker my body clock is all over the place which isn’t ideal but Matt writes my training plan through Training Peaks taking consideration to each particular shift to ensure i’m maximising my efforts whist still managing sufficient rest and recovery in between. My biggest motivator is structure and being accountable to a coach. Knowing that someone will be checking in to see ive done my session, to analyse it and feedback daily… there is no where to hide. Matt doesn’t miss a trick!
There are days where ive been frustrated with my sessions. Matt said to trust him, trust the process, its not about breaking yourself everytime. Theres a science to it. I was so weak when I started out on my bike and clueless in the knowledge of cadence, watts etc. with Matts guidance, My knowledge is growing, I am getting stronger and can see the changes.
Matt is a well established, connected coach within the industry and his knowledge, experience and passion is there in everything he does. If youre having an off day, he usually has the answer. If you need motivating or a kick out the door, he will give it. His energy and enthusiasm shines through and he is as equally excited and supportive of all his athletes to perform and compete as if he were doing it himself. I have yet to make it to my 70.3 IM as it has been delayed due to covid. However ive gone from hoping to make the cut offs and finish to the mindset that I WILL do this and be finished a long time before the end. Until then I continue to train and improve.
Matts skill isn’t just in triathlon, if youre looking towards your first half or full marathon, ultra run.. he can get you there!
I would highly recommend Matt for anyone who is looking for a personalised plan with a coach is is 100 percent committed to your needs!