Nick Compton finished 22nd in his age group at the ITU World Championships in Auckland last year, after taking up the sport just a few years ago.
As this year’s ITU World Championships Grand Final is about to take place in London, we spoke to him to find out more about what he loves about triathlon, coaching and training and how he balances that with a successful career in the City.
1. Congratulations on your performance at the world championships. Please tell us a bit more about your journey to competing for team GB triathlon.
I’ve always been fairly sporty and have taken part in a few marathons and half marathons in recent years and was looking for a new challenge.
By chance in August 2009, I went to support my friend Liz who was competing in the London Triathlon at Docklands. I knew instantly I had found my new sport – The challenge of combining the three very different disciplines and the thrill of it all (particularly seeing the hundreds of nervous but smiling faces bobbing up and down in the Docklands) instantly grabbed me.
I set myself the target of completing the Olympic distance event at London in the following year, set about learning to swim front crawl, bought myself a bike to train on and enlisted a personal trainer to put a training plan together for me.
2. Was it difficult?
I found it very challenging at the start, particularly with the swimming. I quickly realised developing a good technique was key and would advise all those starting out to get some lessons – they’ll pay for themselves in no time.
I also quickly found that I loved the variety of the training – unlike marathon training where I found myself pounding the pavement two to three times per week and quickly began to resent it.
I was now training all three disciplines and some gym work during the week, and could very quickly see the improvements the training was making. Thankfully, with help from my then PT, a friend who’s a mindset coach and helped me get over my initial fears and swim coach (who taught me how to survive the open water), I competed in the 2010 London Triathlon and did much better than I expected.
I decided that in the 2011 season I wanted to take it a bit more seriously, so stepped up my training levels and entered a few more events as well as bought myself a road bike. I also decided I’d like to refer to myself as an ‘international triathlete’, so as an excuse for a short break with some friends and family, I competed in the Barcelona triathlon as the last event of the year and had a great race finishing in the top 5%.
Towards the end of the season, I’d started to see the odd triathlete in Team GB kit and began to wonder if I could ever reach that level. Always ready to take on a bigger challenge, I found out which races were the qualification events, entered them and then on the recommendation of an existing GB age grouper, found a triathlon specific coach who provided me with a much more specific training programme.
After a strong winter of training consistently and keeping focused on my goal, I qualified and was then selected for the team in Auckland – it was the most amazing experience and definitely something I’ll never forget.
I’m now taking on a new challenge and looking forward to competing in my first half-ironman in France in September.
Tune in next month when Nick will be chatting more about training and coaching, balancing that with other work and life commitments, and advice for those starting out in triathlon or looking to take their performance up a notch.
If you’ve been inspired by Nick and are looking to find the right guidance and support to help you achieve your aims, take a look at upmysport.
Go here to find out more about the ITU World Championships Grand Final in Hyde Park, London, 11-15 September 2013.