While sport brings us all plenty of #HIGH5moments, we know that the journey to get there can be challenging, but that’s what makes it great, right?!
In the last few weeks we’ve been showcasing real people’s stories behind their #HIGH5moment – the highs, the lows, the little things that make that HIGH5 worth it. Everyone finds committing to a challenge tough at times, even professional athletes! So this time we’ve been chatting to our HIGH5 athletes to find out what it is they find tough about training and preparing for big events.
Here French Triathlete Denis Chevrot talks about how he started out in the triathlon world and how he balanced training and studying to get where he is today.
My HIGH5 Moment:
“I want to HIGH5 everybody when I cross the finish line of an IRONMAN. Whatever the result, it is always a special moment and the best conclusion of a long period of hard training.”
The story behind my HIGH5 moment:
I registered for my first Ironman during the summer of 2010. It was the Ironman Regensburg, which was taking place in August 2011. Although I used to be a swimmer, when I registered, I had never ridden a road bike or run for more than 30 minutes before. It was a daunting prospect!
To prepare, I started swimming again and in the November I started to ride and run. Luckily, I had the help of a triathlon coach who was recommended to me (and he is still my coach today!).
After few months of training, I was able to finish 23rd and was the first of my age group. I was hooked! My goal for 2012 was to win my age group in Frankfurt and then in Hawaii.
However, my plans came to a halt. Injury struck and stopped me running for four months.
At the end of 2012, my coach planned to race Ironman Florida. By then, I recovered from my injury and I couldn’t resist another triathlon so I asked him for pro membership and did the race with him. I finished 5th.
While I was building up my triathlon experience, I was also completing my Masters in Civil Engineering. After Florida I did not want to finish my studies… I just wanted to focus on triathlons! But people around me encouraged me to finish it. I only had six months of placement left to do, so I did it.
On reflection, it was the smart thing to do and by completing the placement, I completed my Masters. And, in hindsight, I did well.
However, training and studying was hard work!
I dedicated all my time to my placement and training and I was not able to do anything else. A typical day was a swim at 6:15 am, then I drove to the office (it was around a 45 minutes car jounrey from the pool) and during the drive, I was having my breakfast. Then I worked from 8:45 to 5:00 or 6:30 pm (depended if I run during lunch or not). After that, I drove to my home (around 35 minutes in the car). During the evening I had fitness training or bike (depending if I completed a ride at lunch). Then, at the weekend, I had at least 10 hours of training and did a lot of sleeping!
“It is very important to work with people who believe in you and who see you as a long-term rather than a short-term ‘investment’.”
My schedule was intense. But, when I took the decision to do my placement, I knew it was a consequence. I accepted that situation… And I style trained a lot!
However, despite my best efforts, the studying impacted my training. I did the placement from December to May and therefore I did not race the first part of 2013. So I had a late start to the season.
I know it was “just” six months of my life and these six months were closing a big chapter for me. But this experience has given me huge respect for those who have a full job and/or a family and who still find the time to train and race. I know it is difficult!!
The next chapters were not challenge-free, 3 months after my placement I tore a muscle and I did not have sponsors so financing my travels was tough. But as I’ve moved along my triathlon journey, my results are getting better and better and I am now able to finance by myself (thanks to my amazing sponsors).
My advice to those who are starting out is when you start a pro career, it is very important to work with people who believe in you and who see you as a long-term rather than a short-term “investment”. Training and racing is tough, especially when it is not your only focus, but for me crossing the finish line makes it all worth it!
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read my story and good luck to all those who are embarking on a triathlon career!