Guest blog post by multiple UK time trial champion Matt Bottrill, who's moved to racing triathlon this year, and is stepping up to racing 70.3 with his first big race being the Outlaw Half this coming weekend. It's a great read and if you're a beginner (or not!), brilliant to see how even a multiple British champion gets as nervous as the rest of us!
Well it's been a while since I wrote my last blog so I'd thought I'd give you an up to date report.
At the end of last year I decided to make the switch to triathlon after reaching the point of knowing I'd won everything I wanted and riding some of the fastest time trials in the UK. I reached a crossroads in my career where I could carry on repeating history or set myself some new challenges.
After giving everything a lot of thought I decided I wanted to do something new and set about turning my sporting challenges on a whole new path. I decided I would set myself the challenge of trying to make the transition to 70.3, or sometimes known as a Half Ironman. For those of you who don’t know what this consists of, it’s a 1.2 miles swim, 56 mile bike and finished off with a 13.1 mile run.
At the end of October I decided I would set about training. Now I'm not going to lie, I thought the change would be easier than it was! After my first swim when I could only do 4 lengths without being out a breath, and running two miles and not being able to walk for three days I knew that was going to be massive challenge!
Luckily on my way I've met some great people to guide me through this. Like always, I've had Bob Tobin from Cyclepowermeters pushing me on the bike, but I've also been fortunate enough to meet Rob Wilby at oxygenaddict that’s taken on planning my run and swim coaching. This has been a massive help and the rewards of having these two plan my training takes all the stress and worry of planning it myself. I'm just like any other athlete - I need somebody to talk through problems and push me to the next level. It’s very hard planning your own training and I always find I just over think it.
I've also had to make sure I keep on top of strength and conditioning to get my body used to the extra stress, so every Monday Marc Schulz from schulz coaching has been designing a strength and conditioning plan to work on my strengths and weaknesses.
The hardest part for me has been the swimming. It was hard enough learning to swim in the pool then when I went to open water, I really thought I’d lost all sanity and I've lost count the amount of times my wife has woke me up asking me to stop swimming in my sleep! The problem with me is when I want to do well at something; I never stop thinking it about it. I'm feeling more confident now since visiting Hamish Shaw oxygenaddict.
Running has also been interesting and again I've had to work really hard in this area. Rob's made the plan so far to get me use to the impact and duration with some sets of speed work. I've stayed away from the track but after outlaw we plan on working on this. But one Big benefit I've had is getting my run style analysed by Tom at tri mechanics.
Tom has been a massive help giving me some strength exercises to improve my posture and just after a few weeks I'm definitely feeling more like a runner!
So Sunday is nearly here and at 6:30am I will be in the first wave of swimmers trying to conquer the Outlaw 70.3. I've swum in the water, completed the bike course and ran on the run course in training. So all that's left now is to arrive at the start ready to see if I can bring everything together on the day. I'm going to make sure I enjoy myself for my first one but you can guarantee I will be giving it my all.
I just want to thank all my family, friends and all the sponsors that have stood by me making this move. It’s the hardest I've ever had to work so I will be thinking of you all when I'm on the start line.
This original article can be seen on the Giant Bikes website