Since I am not racing for the next few months, I am going to take some time to learn from some amateurs in triathlon-ranging from all levels. The first guy I am chatting with is Brad Williams..an elite amateur. Take some time to meet Brad as he answers some questions I had and also asked me some things he wanted to know.
Brad will be starting his fifth year of racing in 2013. Over the past 5 years Brad has been stationed overseas working for the US Air Force in South Korea and Turkey. He has been in the Air Force for 8 years and works as an aircraft maintenance technician. While juggling work and athletics he is also pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Professional Aeronautics through Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. In 2011, Brad turned his focus to long course triathlon and set out to qualify for the IRONMAN World Championships. Brad qualified at his first attempt to qualify at IM Korea. He then showed up to Kona and finished in the top 10% of amateurs in his rookie appearance in Hawaii. Next year Brad will focus more on Olympic distance.
What was the riding like in South Korea?
The training in South Korea was great in many aspects, but it had downsides as well. The positive side of things was that I had access to country roads within 2 miles of the base and had some great local riding. The cars were very friendly and actually honked quite often, but it was more of a warning that they were coming then the typical angry obnoxious honking you get back in the US. The road condition wasn’t bad at all and I actually kind of miss riding out there.
I had a great group of guys to train with on the bike, and actually raced for a bike shop out of Seoul. We were the top amateur team in Korea and mostly contained foreigners with a few Koreans on the team.
I think Korea is a hidden jewel for anyone in the military that is an athlete. The racing scene is great over their as an amateur and a lot of the cycling and running races have prize money for amateurs, but still nothing on the triathlon side.
What is your favorite workout on the bike?
I can’t give away all of my coaches secret’s, but I guess I can give away one 😉 One of my favorite workouts is the 30-30-30. 30mins at IM pace, 30mins at HIM pace, and then 30mins of whatever you have left. That last 30mins is a pure mental game and it is a torture on the legs. Every once in a while I get lucky and get to run off of that workout, and that always makes for an interesting run.
Most people switch from short course to long course racing. What made you want to focus more on short course next season?
I wouldn’t say I am switching back to short course, I still plan on racing Kona if the opportunity presents itself. But I went with a cycling focus for the first part of the season this past year and it really worked for me. I realize I am still young and hopefully have some speed in my legs and body that I haven’t tapped into yet. I want to put in a short course focus to find that speed and hopefully it will carry over to long course. If I didn’t have the opportunity to race Kona for the AF I wouldn’t even consider racing IM again until my mid 30’s. But it is hard to turn down an opportunity to be on the start line representing the military and AF at the biggest race in triathlon.
Questions for Me …
It seems that you made your biggest improvements over the past season, and I would have to say it has been a breakthrough season for you as a pro. What would you say changed this year compared to the previous year that lead to the success?
This year I changed my lifestyle. I decided if I had more control of my life then I had more control of my results. Therefore, I maintained a strict diet, got 9 hours of sleep a night, stopped drinking, got weekly massages, took vitamins, communicated with my coach, and made sure to stretch every evening. Swim,bike,run is the easy part of tri. It is the little things that get you to the podium.
After 2 full seasons as a pro, what have you learned in the transition from amateur to pro? What would be the best advice that you could pass on to an amateur athlete trying to make the jump to the pro level?
When I was racing amateur, I would “race” every workout. I would half wheel on the bike, half step on the run, and sprint warm up in the pool.
I guess if you are pressed for time and trying to squeeze in as many workouts as possible, then you think that the faster you go then the fitter you get. Well, I learned that this only leads to injury, a plateau in racing, and annoyed training partners. It is so important to take easy days easy and to do hard workouts hard.
If you were stranded on an island all by yourself, what is the one thing you could not live without?
Besides food and water (obviously), I would have to have a toothbrush/toothpaste. I am OCD when it comes to brushing my teeth. I brush before and after eating ANYTHING. Annoying habit.
Thanks Brad! Keep up with Brad and his professional and athletic endevors. Follow him on twitter: @AFbadbrad