Being a firefighter actually helps with training. The shift pattern means I have two day shifts, two night shifts and then four days off. Although it does mean I often have to miss a lot of the squad early morning sessions, but the time off means I catch up quickly enough.
Watching the Sydney Olympics in 2000 inspired me. It was my first exposure to triathlon and I thought it would be a great new challenge and ever since starting triathlon I have met a whole array people who I probably would never have met in my everyday live – they are some of which are my closest friends now.
The variety of training is what I love the most. I think I might struggle to be a single discipline athlete and just swim six days a week, but now I can quite happily train six or seven days a week, doing ten or more sessions, because it’s over three disciplines, which makes it much more fun.
I proved myself wrong when I completed my first IronMan. It was particularly good as the previous year I’d had to withdraw due to a bike mechanical which was gutting. When I first started triathlon I thought the Iron distance races were crazy, not something I’d ever do and certainly well beyond my capabilities.
A simple change in technique made me run faster. I think the best piece of advice would have to be a technique change that I was advised to do years ago. I was told to change my running from heel striking when I landed to running more on my mid/fore foot. It’s not only made me faster but also stopped me from getting knee issues.
You don’t often hit the wall during shorter races. However, if it does happen I try and just think about technique and try and make whatever I’m doing as efficient as possible so I can get to the end as quickly as possible!
I ended up with glandular fever in the name of research. At the end of the 2004 season I took part in a research study which looked at the affects of endurance exercise on your immune system. I had to run four days in a row over a hilly, off-road course which took 2:30-3hrs to cover. Afterwards I didn’t give myself enough down time after a long hard season and the study before getting back into a hard winter of training. I ended up getting glandular fever and missing the entire 2005 season as my body was too run down.
Go and watch a local race. It’s the best advice for people wanting to give it a go. So many people think that triathletes are super athletes and they could never do it, but it’s just not true. The world’s best athletes are super athletes, but you don’t need to be like them to complete a local race. Going and watching a race, you will see that there are people of all ages, shapes and sizes doing them and you don’t need to be a super fit athlete. You will then realise “if they can do it, so can I”.
To view Martin’s top ten training tips, click here.