Age-group blog: leaving manflu behind to ask Daley Thompson for training advice

David Pawsey meets hero Daley Thompson at the Triathlon Show and gets some tips on preparing for this year's Windsor Triathlon

David Pawsey on a training ride

So the last few weeks of training for this year’s Windsor Triathlon have seen highs and lows. First the lows – unfortunately my training has been curtailed by a vicious bout of man flu. This started off as a cold, developed into a sinus infection which then bizarrely turned into an eye infection.

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As a contact lens wearer I had the ignominy of donning my glasses for a couple of weeks. As they aren’t reactive glasses I think I was the only triathlete in the land who wasn’t happy to see the sun as it added to the discomfort.

The highs

David Pawsey and Dave Scott

When David met Daley

Having sampled a few energy gels, had a couple of coffees and generally being overexcited about meeting the great man, I was a bit of a gibbering wreck. However I did manage to string a few questions together to help me in my training quest:

Daley: So how has the training been going so far?

Me: Well I’ve been ill all this week, so not great so far.

Daley: Pathetic! But you have been doing something right?

Me: Well it’s not my first triathlon and I have done an Olympic distance before but the run was a disaster. So my first question would be – with the three disciplines there’s always one that gets less focus than the others. As a decathlete how did you focus on all ten disciplines?

Daley: We’d tend to spend twice as long on the disciplines that were the weakest so working on the technical stuff. Also once the individual discipline is over you can’t affect it so you shouldn’t think about it. So if you have a bad swim for example, or in my case the high jump, you just have to forget about it and carry on with the next discipline.

Daley Thompson and David Pawsey

Me: As I mentioned I’ve been a bit under the weather recently, how did you keep your focus at times when you were injured or unable to train?

Daley: Some days you can’t swim, or do the pole vault, but you get out and do what you can do. You don’t just not do anything and hope you get over the injury soon and get back to doing properly.

Me: Did you ever have any events where it didn’t quite go to plan? 

Daley: No that never happened to me, I tended to do pretty well most of the time! Most of that was down to the fact that I was always very well prepared. To me the preparation is the most important thing, the actual competition itself is the easy bit.

Me: One thing I do find is that when the adrenaline’s pumping I take the swim too hard I find it hard to pace myself.

Daley: That’s something that you learn with training and experience, you learn control. You have to be confident to not go out like a bat out of hell and perhaps if you come out of the swim 20 seconds slower then you’ll feel twice as good and that 20 seconds won’t make much difference overall. But the confidence to do that comes with experience.

Thanks Daley!

David Pawsey at a club ride

So has Daley’s advice been taken on board? Well as I’ve been unable to swim or get out in the sun with my dodgy eye, rather than letting it all slide I decided to spend more time on the turbo. This has particularly paid dividends as (once my eye recovered) I was able to get out for the annual club 20km time trial, taking 1 minute 46 seconds off my time. So the last few weeks haven’t been a complete write off!

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Daley Thompson, ambassador for the Diamond Triathlon, was speaking at the Triathlon Show, taking place at Sandown Park. For more information on the Diamond Triathlon go to www.humanrace.co.uk/triathlon