Liam is a triathlete who is working hard to improve his Ironman times. He talks to Sundried about training and motivation.
Have you always been into sport?
No, I haven't always been into sport. I got into triathlon when I was 21 after losing 3 stone in weight and needed a goal to work towards.
How did you first get into triathlon?
I lost weight at the gym gradually over a period of 17 months through exercise and eating a healthier diet. One morning, I saw a triathlon on TV and thought I could do that as my next goal! I trained for 4 months and entered my first sprint race and was hooked. I haven't looked back since!
What’s been your best race to date?
My favourite race to date has to be my most recent, the Cotswolds middle distance triathlon. I achieved a PB, finishing in 4 hours 46 minutes. Even though I felt very proud completing a full Ironman in Switzerland, going sub-5 hours for the second time at middle distance was a massive achievement for me.
And your proudest achievement?
Other than the birth of my son last year, it has to be completing Ironman Zurich in 2014.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
My hardest race has to have been my first 70.3 at Henley. I was naive, ignorant and did not respect the distance. I finished in a respectable 5 hours 45 minutes on a tough course. I walked parts of the run and massively over-estimated the pace I could hold. As always though, learning from mistakes is key. I've completed six 70.3 triathlons now and have shaved an hour off that time!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I focus on long term goals and draw from previous experience. I have to be sensible and listen to my body. If I feel like I am close to being run down or injured, I lay off training and rest as rest is key.
I work as a police officer working shifts so it's easy for me to get fatigued quickly if I'm not careful. I also have an under-active thyroid which I am on lifelong medication for. This slows my metabolism and can leave me feeling very fatigued, so it is important I have a good diet and back off training if I need to.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Don't worry about transitions on your first few races! People get anxious about transition times on their first race but in reality it's a very small part of the race. Of course it saves time later getting through quicker, but my advice would be go out and enjoy it.
What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?
My goal for 2019 is to complete Ironman 70.3 Weymouth in sub 5 hours in September. For 2020 I would like to get faster at 70.3 distance.
I am entering IM Barcelona for next October and am looking to go sub 10 hours 30 minutes. My absolute dream would be to finish in around 10 hours. This is all dependant on training and anything is possible.
Who do you take inspiration from?
My wife Corinne inspires me; she completed an Ironman after having open heart surgery and is the person that pushed me to do long distance racing. I also take inspiration from my coach Gary Lock who knows so much about the sport and offers me priceless advice. He is a brilliant athlete and his passion for the sport alone inspires me to better myself. I wouldn't have achieved what I have without his support.