1. TEST NEW EQUIPMENT
I remember I tried to qualify for the European Youth Relays in 2005, and I had a new seat post but I hadn’t tried it out. So I just put it on and it snapped! Plus, both my shoes came off, and I was really upset because I missed the chance to compete. So always try your kit beforehand. Test it out thoroughly and really make sure that your bike fits.
2. DON’T PLAY CATCH-UP
An old running coach of mine said if you miss training, don’t try and catch it up a week later. Just focus on getting back into your routine. It always ends badly, and you’ll just pick up an injury.
3. LEARN FROM OTHERS
I’ve learnt lots from training with Alistair. Lots of mistakes! Training too much, picking up injuries, when to rest…. But no, Alistair’s taught me loads of positive things about how to race, and when to race aggressively. It’s always good to seek advice from fellow athletes and competitors.
4. PUT THE EFFORT IN
Over my career I’ve learnt that if you focus on something you can achieve it as long as you put the effort in. And for me personally, triathlon has really helped build my confidence. I would’ve been a very shy person if it wasn’t for the sport.
5. STAY GROUNDED
I meet up with old school friends who don’t care if you’ve had a good session or whatever. Sometimes it feels like triathlon and training are the most important things in the world, but it’s good to be in contact with other people and realise there’s a whole other world out there! My little brother’s [Ed] been great for that. When I came back from Rio he didn’t even really say well done or anything, just kind of cracks on, and for me that’s very important.
6. AGE IS NO BARRIER
If you want to turn professional, then I still think it’s very important to get into the sport early. That way you can pick up key skills, like on the bike and in the open water, earlier. Competing in individual swim, bike and run events and then coming across as a triathlete, that’s the best way to do it. But for older athletes, the sport is also absolutely fantastic, of course. Because the training will condition the entire body, so it’s a brilliant sport to keep you fit and active. Not to mention the social opportunities that it provides.