THE T:ZERO BLOG
Free advice, content and media for all. It's our way of giving back to the tri community who have given so much to us. Enjoy!
“Triathlon is as much a physical game as it is a mental one – for me, that’s the ultimate challenge. I also love meeting people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. It’s a great community to be a part of.”
Our June Fast Five athlete is Canberra based Caitlin Davis who has been training with Coach Andrew Perry and T:Zero for just over 12 months.
Caitlin has participated in triathlons for 18 months but has already competed in sprint, Olympic, long course and 70.3 races, her favourite distance being the latter as she likes the extra time to settle into things!
Caitlin is currently studying law full time so for her, triathlon is the hobby! When she’s not training she likes to practice yoga and hike.
Caitlin is inspired by the supportive people in her life who have taught her that possibility is endless. For her, the greatest feeling is seeing these people at the finish line.
For anyone starting out in the sport, Caitlin’s best advice is to surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and lift you up, followed by, quite simply, “just have fun!”.
With the race season being up in the air for much of early 2020, Caitlin’s set herself a #coronagoal of completing a half marathon PB, choosing to focus more on her overall wellbeing, and building consistency in training. When everything’s back up and running, she hopes to compete in her second 70.3!
Why and how did you get into triathlon and multisport?
I came from a background of competitive tennis and hockey, which fell away once I started university. I got to a stage where I realised I didn’t have a lot of balance in my life, and everything basically revolved around study. Sport is such a huge contributor to my wellbeing, and I was ready to try something new and was looking for a challenge! I joined a local triathlon club in Canberra and completed their novice program and then my first triathlon in November 2018.
Favourite leg and why?
The swim – I find it’s where I can set my focus for the rest of the race, and somehow, I find it calming to be in the water.
Since becoming a T:Zero athlete, what is the one new belief, behaviour, habit formed or skill honed that has most improved your athletic (or everyday) performance?
Coach Andrew has definitely taught me a lot about consistency and patience. If you remain consistent and trust the process everything else will come.
Do you have any tips for athletes struggling to find some motivation or who may have temporarily lost focus?
I think it’s important to listen to what your body is trying to tell you, and to trust that your intuition is often correct. Sometimes I find that I simply just need a good couple of rest days and then I’m reset and ready to go. Remember that everything will fall together, just be patient.
Do you have a race day mantra? Or something you think about to get you through tough periods during the race or calm your pre-race nerves?
When I’m going through a tough period during a race, I like to think about what an incredible gift it is to be able to swim, bike and run. Oh how lucky I am to suffer like this!
And one more for good measure (and a big head) …
Why do you love being part of the T:Zero Multisport team?
I love the positive energy that comes from the T:Zero Team. Everyone is so supportive and it’s great to be part of a community that lifts each other up.
*Caitlin has also previously contributed an epic race report on her debut 70.3 (Sunshine Coast) to our blog! It's certainly worth a read!
With Coach Andrew Perry
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone comes to terms with the measures needed to flatten the curve, such as social distancing and isolation, many race plans have come undone.
The IRONMAN World Championship, which was originally scheduled for October 2020 has now been postponed to February 2021.
The Gold Coast Marathon has now officially been cancelled. The Sunshine Coast Marathon has also been cancelled.
These are just some of most recent changes to upcoming events, to name a few.
And with race plans derailed everywhere you turn; it can be easy to get down and to lose focus. As triathletes, we’re often told to ‘control the controllable’, a sentiment that rings true now more than ever.
To get through these global unprecedented events it’s time to change the mindset – to look at this as an opportunity for becoming a better you, rather than an absolute derailment of goals and plans; dreams you’ve worked hard to achieve.
It’s about shifting your perception of recent events and developing your long-term mindset.
Do you really need to race every other weekend, or every year to be a better athlete? Or can you still achieve great things – to become a better you – by setting smaller milestones that can take you on a journey towards not only physical but also mental strength and wellbeing?
My answer is: yes, you can. I’ve seen this in the athletes that I coach.
While the pandemic has been a challenge (for coaches as well) I’ve had the pleasure of seeing my athletes achieve some great things during this forced ‘downtime’ – without the stress or pressure of race days, race times etc.
Some of the notable improvements I’ve seen in my athletes, include:
So, my advice to athletes during this time is to look at the long-term (keep the bigger picture at the front of mind) while focusing on the short-term.
Improvements come through consistency – by ticking off sessions as they come, every day. It’s about actually doing the work.
Races will eventually come back – your racing calendar will once again be filled with exciting plans and race adventures.
But for now, rather than focusing on what you’re missing out on, focus on what you can do to get stronger; to build a great base; to work on your weaknesses.
With pools closed, why not focus on improving your running? If you can’t ride outside, why not focus on improving your technique on the bike while riding on the trainer?
How often do we get the chance to focus on our weaknesses? Use this time wisely – to your long-term advantage.
Without the added stress and pressure of short-term race goals, you can really get back to basics and build a stronger base that will set you up to achieve great things when we’re finally given the green light to race again.
If you do that, you’ll come out on the other side better than ever.
Click HERE to learn more about Coach Andrew Perry
For anyone thinking about starting triathlon or taking on a challenge within the sport already, I hope this blog encourages you to go for it, believe in yourself, and live to your full potential.
I am a 22-year-old living in Canberra and I have recently entered the world of triathlon. I joined a novice triathlon program with the Bilby’s triathlon club in October 2018. At the time, I was spending 99% of my time at the university library, working two-three days per week in a law firm and had not long returned from an overseas trip. I was ready to try something new, (having come from a background in tennis and hockey), to challenge myself, and to meet people outside my usual social group. I had a road bike which I bought second hand, (and had used only for travel to and from uni), and that was all I needed (aside from caffeine), to sign up for my first ever triathlon!
I remember my first triathlon so clearly. It was in Canberra and (shock horror) it was so windy and cold for November. The swim was almost wetsuit compulsory! I was signed up to the novice distance, which was a 200m swim, 12km bike and 2km run. I remember watching some of the Olympic distance athletes beforehand and thinking ‘how on earth do their butts not get sore after 40km of riding!?’ It was such a fun day and I ended winning my age group! I guess you can say this was the start of an amazing 12 months to come.
After competing in a few novice races and then the Sprint distance at Husky Triathlon Festival (February 2019), my next goal was the Olympic distance. I decided to race the Port Stephens Olympic in May 2019. I enjoyed the longer distance, as it gave me more time to settle into the race and find my groove. Once I had completed the Olympic distance, I set my sights on the 70.3, however, I knew that I didn’t have the knowledge or expertise to self-coach. I was also still studying full-time and working, so I didn’t really have the time to think about setting a training plan! In June 2019 I joined the T: Zero team under the guidance of coach Andrew (Andy) Perry. I said I wanted to complete my first 70.3 by the end of 2019 and soon enough I was signed up for the Sunshine Coast 70.3 in September 2019 (giving me roughly 12 weeks training time). It was a short amount of time to train for such a huge step-up in distance. But I knew the time wouldn’t be a limiting factor if I was consistent with my training. Fortunately, I was also surrounded by supportive people, and Andy had no doubts about me being able to finish the race which was really empowering. I also really loved the fact that it was going to be a challenge, and probably not going to be easy!
The toughest part of the preparation for the 70.3 was training in the Canberra winter. There was one morning where it was -2 degrees and my toes went a dangerously blue colour (even with my shoe covers!). On social media I would see people training in warmer parts of Australia, commenting that they finally cracked out the arm warmers. Meanwhile, I’m sitting here defrosting my toes in the bathtub! I soon made use of the indoor trainer a lot more. I’m a sucker for routine, so it helped that I could fit my sessions in around work, uni and social life. Some weeks were obviously harder than others, and there were mornings where I really didn’t want to get out of bed. But it’s amazing how much you’re capable of when you really want to achieve something. I had a goal that I so badly wanted to achieve and that in itself was really motivating.
September crept up quicker than ever and soon enough it was race day! What a beautiful day for a half ironman! The swim was my favourite leg of the day. I felt comfortable in the water, I could easily block out the surroundings and really get in the zone. Out of the water and onto the bike was a slightly different story. It was a tough leg, especially in the wind. The bike is still something I’m getting used to, having no experience in cycling until I started triathlon. Despite this, it was still more enjoyable than I thought it would be! It was pretty warm by the time I started running (a lot warmer than what I’m used to anyway). This made for a challenging run, but by this point, I knew I was going to finish. The run is where the body starts to really struggle, both physically and mentally. After exerting yourself for several hours, the last thing you want to do is run a half marathon! But I knew this is what I had trained to do, and I trusted the process. Physical fitness aside, the run is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. What got me through the run and the race in general, was having a positive mindset, being patient and staying in the moment. It was the absolute best feeling to get to the finish!
Post-race, I’m still trying to process everything. It is such an amazing gift to be able to swim, bike and run and it is truly incredible what you can achieve when you truly set your mind to it. Signing up to my first triathlon less than 12 months ago was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Equally rewarding was joining the T:Zero team, who are an amazing bunch of athletes that I am proud to be apart of. Pursuing my sporting goals on top of a busy lifestyle is something I’ve really struggled with in the last couple of years. It’s really great to be a part of a team that understands and works around ‘life.’ I chose T:Zero because of their positive energy and dedication to helping people from all walks of life to pursue their dreams. If you’re thinking about taking up triathlon, or chasing a huge goal, surround yourself with people who empower you to be a better you, go for it, and don’t look back.
As the saying goes, ‘opportunity is missed by many people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.’ When you take on a big challenge, believe in yourself, and put in the work, you can excel in all aspects of your life. You will be amazed at just how much you’re capable of!
An amazing collection of training and racing advice from the T:Zero Multisport coaches- with the occasional guest blogger! Read this blog to help you live your potential!