#1 Foundation - Brett Thomson


#1 Foundation

To start off with, this is my first report which is exciting! And for those that do not know me, I am an amateur athlete working towards becoming an elite athlete as the ultimate goal. 

First of all, it has been a tough couple of weeks with training being hampered with both road bikes being stolen however on a positive note, so many of my friends, family, and friends of friends offered to provide a bike to continue training or some other form of support to get back into training. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for this support and I would also like to say a special thank you to those who shared my facebook post to raise awareness – I hope this restricts the sale of these bikes so people are less likely to steal in the first place. A big thank you to you Shane from Kiwivelo in Wellington, stepping in and providing a new bike in advance of payment (insurance is yet to be settled – classic huh) – I have been able to quickly get back into training and adjust to the new bike which has been great.

Despite all of this, I will be traveling in less than one month on an awesome trip to Mexico and the USA for the Standard and Long Distance AG World Champs – two countries I have never set foot in so I am pretty excited about the whole experience. For now I am keen to cover three items which have been important to me in this process to date. It is a process and has been a challenging one at that at the best of times, but has been a truly rewarding experience to date. These items are:

  • Just deciding
  • Thank you; and
  • Goals

Just deciding

To me, this represents making a decision, starting from scratch, reprioritising and being consistent. Earlier this year after pondering for some time I made the decision after some sound advice that I wanted to become an elite triathlete, specifically at half ironman distance. It really came down to one thing, do I want to let this opportunity pass on by and then say what could have been or do I grab onto this seemingly out of reach goal with both hands and concentrate all my effort on achieving this goal.

At this point, this is where it got challenging...

Although I had made a decision all other demands in my life remained constant, so I decided to start from scratch. It took some time along with countless discussions with Silas (Silas Cullen – Coach) to realise my total load was too demanding (I won’t go into specifics). One key thing which I didn’t realise at the time was that I was actually extremely inconsistent with my training and its priority fell below my job at that point in time.

I decided to re-prioritise my thinking and this involved being honest with myself in terms of capacity available to train on a daily basis. After some reflection I realised training in the morning, then at lunch and evening was counterproductive for training and work. My focus was swinging between training and work numerous times each day – when I was training I was thinking of work and when I was working I was thinking of my next training session. I subsequently proposed new working hours with my manager and I was surprised, success. I now start work at 10.30am and finish at 7pm Monday to Thursday. I can fit in a maximum of 3.5 hrs in before work and then can completely focus on work and recovery for the remainder of the day – it is and has been a win:win situation for all parties (I highly encourage other athletes finding it difficult to fit everything in to explore a flexible working arrangement with their employer – you may be surprised how accommodating they will be).

The final and to me the most important point I want to cover, consistency. Truth be told, I previously had a poor understanding of what it means to be consistent. After talking to Silas and performing self-research, with time I have started to introduce protocols into my daily life to become more structured and organised. I am still learning but some of these protocols to date have been:

  • Consistently sticking to the training plan – this goes without saying but requires trust to ensure that the coach has the right level in the program but at the same time putting in some flexibility when the unexpected happens.
  • Consistently focus on technique above strength and speed when swimming, running and biking – if I can get the technique right the rest will come with time.
  • Consistently stretching every day – this is a must for me otherwise, I risk injury as well as poor technique.
  • Maintaining balance – catching up with friends and family routinely, this helps stay focused and motivated.
  • Taking a sustainable approach to training - better to do training consistently each day rather than sporadic big days in the weekend. This may mean doing a little less each day to ensure I can sustain it from a physical and mental point of view. I have no regrets about pursuing this goal. The only regret I have to date is not getting involved with this sport at an earlier age…

Thank you

I just want to say a very big thank you to those that have paved the way for me to attend the Long Distance and Standard Distance Age Group World Triathlon Championship in September this year and the continued support of me in pursuing this aspiration of becoming an elite athlete. Those who specifically contributed to my Givealittle page and the kind messages from friends and family I received. I am truly indebted and I will never forget. It is very humbling to receive such support.

A massive thank you to Shane and the team at Kiwivelo Wellington, knowing full well that I had sold my road bike in order to pay for travel costs relating to the Champs this year. I was left without a road bike for some time which made it difficult to say the less to do group rides. Shane stepped in and provided me with a great bike to continue my training as well as provide an awesome riding kit.

Further with both road bikes being stolen recently, providing a bike in advance of payment has ensured that I can continue training. This has made a massive difference and I am very much thankful.

Finally, I just want to say special thanks to my coach, Silas. His honesty, experience, and direction has allowed me to learn and develop effectively. I have learned so much in little over a year and his ability to be flexible while taking into account the realities of life pressures has allowed me to sustain my focus. A big thanks, Silas.

Goals

I have made the decision to make my goals for this season transparent to keep myself accountable while helping maintain a high level of motivation to ensure I achieve the goals I set out. 

The key races I have set myself on targeting this season are the following. It’s a significant load but necessary to develop the experience required for the following year.

  1. Standard Distance Age Group World Triathlon Championship
  2. Long Distance Age Group World Triathlon Championship
  3. Ironman Taupo 70.3 – Key race
  4. Port of Tauranga Half – Key race
  5. Challenge Wanaka Half – Key race
  6. Napier Port Habour to Hills
  7. Ironman Brusselton 70.3/ Port Macquarie 70.3 TBC
  8. Ironman Cairns 70.3 TBC

First and foremost experience at this stage is everything – that means being consistent (hydration, fuel, and pacing) when racing and maintaining excellent technique in each race is essential. 

My primary goal for this season is to get myself in a position to do a sub 4hr 20mins half ironman, realistically Tauranga or Busselton will be my best hope given they complement my cycling ability. I also have secondary goals within each half ironman race which will help ensure I maintain my focus:
  • Sub 30min swim leg (1.9km or 2km)
  • Sub 2hrs 15min bike leg (90km)
  • Sub 1hr 30min run leg (21.1km)
  • Qualify for 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA

This season is about the experience, developing consistency in all aspects of triathlon and getting myself in a position to decide whether I race at elite level in the following triathlon season. In simple terms, this means having proof of completing a half ironman race faster than 4 hours 20 minutes. Given my progress to date I believe I will be on the cusp of achieving this, it will be tough but I am going to give it my very best.

I am still early in my development but have made great progress to date. I am looking forward to the Champs next month and representing New Zealand. A big thank you to all that continue to support me!