Meet a triathlete friend – Paul Thomas

It’s a rest day today and that means that other than the blog post I wrote at silly o’clock this morning, I’m taking it easy. However, it gives me an opportunity to post another ‘meet a triathlete friend‘ post. This one’s about a fellow Southampton Tri Club member, Paul Thomas.

I see Paul weekly at the Monday evening STC swim (he’s a much faster swimmer than me!) and more recently also at the Wednesday morning pre-dawn swim session. Paul is also competing in the Challenge Weymouth Half Distance Triathlon in September.

I’ve struggled to find a picture of Paul without him holding a beer… 😉 Let’s get straight on with the Q&A!

What do you do when you’re not competing or training?

When I’m not competing I am either working, sleeping or playing with my two children. Life is busy!!

How long have you been a triathlete?

I have only been doing triathlon for 18 months and got hooked from the 1st event.

What got you hooked on triathlons?

I did a sprint distance with new work colleagues at Eton Dorney. I swore I would never do it again all the way round but as soon as I crossed the line I knew I would do another just to see how much time I could take off.

Who are your triathlon inspirations?

Inspirational figures have to include Rick and Dick Hoyt who, despite massive obstacles to overcome, they competed in the world champs in Hawaii several times with a smile on their face the whole way.

What have you been particularly proud of achieving in triathlon?

My proudest moment came in my first event this year where I smashed my sprint pb by a huge margin at Eton Dorney. 1:11:52 I think. Despite an average swim and a stitch on the run I felt like I had a good bike leg and avoided jelly legs.

What does your typical training week consist of?

Training is now ramping up significantly as a result of working towards half iron distance in September. I am starting to swim 2.5 hrs a week, 2hrs running, 2.5hrs cycling. Some would argue not enough but I still need to enjoy life!!!

What’s your favourite triathlon discipline and why?

I change my mind every time about my favourite discipline. I like all of the them. However, because I have been plagued with calf injuries all year, when I can run, I really enjoy and appreciate it.

What’s your least favourite triathlon discipline and why?

I’m becoming less happy about the swim part after getting a full on kick to the face in my last event which almost ended my race.

What triathlon targets do you have in your sights?

Triathlon target for me this year is to complete Challenge Weymouth Half Distance. My only other challenge this year was to finish in the top half of every event I do. So far I have achieved top third so I am ahead of target.

What’s your favourite triathlon event (e.g. sprint, Olympic, Half or Full)?

My favourite event is probably Olympic purely because you feel more in a rhythm and less rushed than you do in a sprint.

What’s your favourite triathlon event so far?

My favourite event so far was Eton Dorney Evening Sprint. Probably because of my finishing time and the awesome conditions

If you could share one triathlon tip or secret to success, what would it be?

I think I am still too new to this sport to give any tips. One thing I did pick up from someone was to wear two swim hats when the water is cold. It did make a difference.

What’s your favourite triathlon related gadget, piece of equipment or web site? 

Favourite gadget is just my simple little bike computer. I think I bought it for £20 but it is invaluable to me on the bike leg as I know what pace to hold comfortable. It keeps me pushing without killing myself.

What’s your next triathlon and what are your goals for that event?

Next triathlon is the local Eastleigh Open Water Triathlon event. My goal is to go sub 1:10 as the swim is shorter (unless they measure it wrong again!!). Hopefully that would be enough to give me a top 30 place ish

Another great triathlon story from Paul. I have a few more in the wings and will post them soon. If you’re a triathlete friend and I’ve not asked you to participate yet, don’t worry! Your time will come!!

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