John has worked very hard to get where he is today and now has his sights set on a half Ironman. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
I was into swimming, rugby and cricket at school but I got into running and triathlon relatively recently. I embarked on a programme to get fitter in February 2017 at my local gym, losing weight, building muscle and improving my running times. In 2017, I did my first triathlon and got hooked. It’s been three years of hard training for me and I'm improving all the time.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I joined a local gym and got into a lifestyle change which became a habit. I lost a lot of weight with the help of a personal trainer. He encouraged me to do a sprint triathlon in 2017 at Hever Castle. I bought a bike, reintroduced swimming into my training and learnt how to run. I completed the triathlon and that got me hooked. The event was exciting but the people you meet in triathlon are inspiring. I have been training for triathlon ever since. Each year is an improvement, I have ambitions which are a long way off but I want to be as good as I can be at each sport.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
This is a hard question because every race I have taken part in has positives and negatives. My biggest accomplishment was completing my first Olympic distance triathlon at Leeds Castle last year. It was tough and had a little of everything – no wetsuit swim, hot on the bike and run and a very hilly 10km run. I also have a fondness for Hever Castle Aquabike (2km swim and 60km very hilly bike) that I completed last year.
And your proudest achievement?
Leeds Castle Olympic distance triathlon has to be my biggest achievement. I was pleased to have completed the course and had a decent bike and swim time. The run, which is always my weak point, made it the toughest event I have completed.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
*Touch wood* no. I did find the 5km Bewl Water swim challenging due to how hot it was on the day and there were many moments during that swim where I thought about stopping. In the end I hardened my mind and got through it.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I am not great at putting things behind me and moving on from setbacks. I find every run I do that didn’t go so well to be something I dwell on. My toughest setback was tearing my Achilles tendon in 2018. I was too eager to get back running and competing that I rushed the recovery. It took 9 months to fully get back into running. I learnt a lot about risks and adversity during that time. I now try to focus on working out what the gains are against the risks, that seems to help me calculate the opportunity and overcome set backs.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Not to rush or be unrealistic about your objectives. I decided in 2017 that I wanted to complete a half Ironman triathlon. I signed up without a thought to how well I could cope with it. Injuries and setbacks have meant that I have yet to complete one. I wish I had set my goals lower and aimed for a gradual progression. I am, however, hoping to complete my first half Ironman in 2020. I am ready!
What are your goals for 2020?
To get better at running! I am planning to complete a half Ironman in May/June, three Olympic distance triathlons, a sprint triathlon, a half marathon and a 100km bike sportive. I think that’s enough! I want to do my best and have fun on all of these events.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
The triathlon community. I do appreciate all the advice I get from people I have met along the way. The community are always willing to offer advice through social media or at/during/after race events. My triathlon coach helps me focus and provides me with a lot of inspiration to train well and effectively.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I like that Sundried is a company that has strong values to provide affordable quality activewear and that the business they conduct is focused on ethical behaviour. I think it is important that a company has sustainability at the heart of what it does and Sundried can demonstrate that it has this focus, this is something I place importance on.