Amelia Rose Watkinson - 2017 as a pro triathlete

Training tilt is about bringing coaches, athletes and business together. Cam talks marketing and business ideas, Training Tilt clients share coaching philosophies and I’ll contribute a bit of pro triathlete life. 

As this is my first post and it's getting scarily close to 2018 I’ll thumbnail things into an annual review. 

I quite liked the way Spotify summarised my 2017 musical taste in numbers, so I’ll introduce myself and year in a triathlete capacity, in numbers too.

Myself

26 years 
3 years as a Pro 
First Triathlon at 17 years
170cm tall
56-61kgs time of year dependent 
43 euro feet 
5 years at university studying architecture 
1 jar of peanut butter per week 

This year

37 cities 
1 month in New Zealand 
3 months Australia
4.5 months South East Asia 
3.5 months Europe 
13 different languages 
43 flights 
100+ airport scanners 
55kgs of luggage for 11 months 
15 races 
15 pre-race ritual local beers
880+ black coffees 
23 galleries and museums 
56 picnics
43 beds (tent, airport floor, hotel, Airbnb, car, apartment, family and friends houses)

What went well this year? And what did I do the hard way that I don’t need to go again next year? 

4+ positives

Culturally I did a lot of eye-opening travel. Healthwise kept my immune system in check and fostered a healthy relationship. Financially covered my costs and grew my savings account. 

2 interestings

Travel is the apprentice of the year. I fulfilled “a travel schedule that looks like a Contiki tour”, a line Sutton posted earlier this year re the sustainability of a pro triathletes career. 

The travel involved in the sport is a huge highlight for me. I love the experience of cultures, food and mini-adventures, it's exciting and new. Of course, I also love racing and it’s the key part of our job. 

I was lucky Alex and I could do the majority of travel together which makes things a lot easier and guarantees a training partner. But a lot of aspects of travel don’t work in an athletes favour. 

It takes time, 5hrs+ even if it's only a 1hr flight. It’s germy, low oxygenated air and low humidity that dehydrates and swells us. Arriving in a new city means strolling Strava and google maps to find a supermarket a pool with a squad and eligible terrain for hill reps the next day. Time zone changes never allow for a natural circadian rhythm or a real routine. Living out of a suitcase may as well be a dress-up box especially when you go from Asia to Europe.

A home is certainly a missing piece of the puzzle.

Season planning is surprisingly still a work in progress for me. I’ve always been big on goals but also thought fatalism was generous, or not. This time of year planning tweets are trending, Jazers ‘we accomplish more by planning less’ caught my attention, it relates to a pro athletes year quite nicely. 

We are all rewarded by checking off boxes, but these are a bit like gold leaf. A plan is about putting a few big things on the calendar and working towards these. 

We have off season, base training, pre-session racing, B preparation races, training camps and A target races. Some races and training camps will be for sponsors, profile, for qualifying points, acclimatisation or to make some money. We can plan this all to a T at the start of the year. However, like Auckland weather, the landscape more often than not, shifts before we get there. 

70.3 World Champs and 70.3 European Champs were scheduled in as my target races. Midseason I needed surgery for an ovarian cyst. A small setback that became a big one. My ego to get back to A form in time clouded the big project. I ended up aggravating an old hip injury. The year no longer had goals and became about filling in the gaps to each race and form plateaued.

We can actually control more than we realise. Especially if we keep the big project in mind. If things do go wrong we have a plan B and a plan C. Keeping our cortisol levels low, thus stress is a tiebreaker for a successful year.

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