An exclusive interview with Tom Walker, Official Training Partner to The Tour of Pembrokeshire.
Last November, Tom learnt that he’d won an age group place in Team GB to compete at the 2018 Middle Distance European Triathlon Union Championships. We met up to find out more.
Q: “How did you come to be selected Tom?”
A: “To qualify, you have to achieve a result in a recent race relative to the distance you are applying to race at. You must achieve a time within 115% of the winner’s. In 2017, I managed to achieve this in all three races I competed in, including the IM 70.3 World Championships.”
Q: “When and where will the Championships be held?”
A: “They’re on 27th October at Figueretas on the island of Ibiza.”
Q: “How does being in Team GB help you Tom?”
A: “Team GB will organise the team and ensure I have all the need-to-know information. I receive discounts on race kit in addition to other benefits. They also help athletes to connect through social media groups too and answer any questions relating to the event.”
Q: “What training will you be doing?
A: “I think it’s important to work with a coach, well I would wouldn’t I. I’m working with a new coach this year who got in touch after the IM 70.3 World Champs and I’m letting him take care of my schedule. I’m currently building fitness and rehabbing a shoulder injury doing between 8-12 hrs of training a week.”
Q: “What kit do you like?”
A: “I’m very excited to get back out on my Trek Speed Concept, I’m doing all my indoor training on it at the moment to help me get the correct fit ‘dialled in’. Last year I didn’t ride it through the winter and really felt the difference when I got back on it in the spring. I was really pleased with my performance on the bike last year and I largely feel it came down to the bike and the Mavic wheel-set I’m lucky enough to have. Most of the winter bike training has been done using a direct drive Whisper turbo trainer that I link to Zwift through a Stages power meter.”
Q: “How will you condition yourself to race in a hotter climate?”
A: “I’m not sure how hot Ibiza will be but I’m not too worried as the IM 70.3 Worlds took place in Chattanooga, Tennessee last year and that felt really hot, especially on the run. I’m very lucky to have use of the heat chamber at Roehampton University where my girlfriend Jodie is studying her Phd. She’s even specialising in exercise performance in the heat so I have no excuses!”
Q: “What do you eat before a ride Tom?”
A: “It very much depends on the goal of the session. Sometimes I ride fasted if it’s an easier early morning session and other times I make sure I get a good balance of carbohydrates and fats for the harder, longer sessions. I’ve had the support of a nutrition company called Love Life Supplements for two years now and their protein shakes, fish oils and vitamin D play a big role in my recovery and overall health. I use them every day.”
Q: “What other events do you have in your calendar for this year?”
A: “I’d like to race the Welsh Nationals again, I’ve achieved 3rd place in my age group for the last two years but I don’t think the field was that strong. I want to race races that challenge me and show me exactly where I am in my field.”
Q: “Do you have any sponsors Tom?”
A: “I will be working with Love Life Supplements again this year, the team there really care about their products and ensure i have what I need to optimise my health and recovery. I also receive support from Mavic and Salomon. Other than that I don’t have any ‘official sponsors’.”
Q: “What you’re looking forward to?”
A: “Going up against the top guys in Europe! Achieving 60th in my age group at the World’s last year was a nice confidence boost but above all I learned so much more about how to prepare for big events. Ultimately I want to work with high performing athletes so gaining a personal insight into what it takes is absolutely invaluable. I also look forward to the process of getting fit for the race, I really enjoy the training and pushing my limits. Getting to the power numbers you never thought you’d achieve, breaking PB times and enjoying the feeling of hard work paying off, without that, getting up in the mornings is much much harder!”
“Thanks Tom, we look forward to seeing you at this year’s Tour of Pembrokeshire on May 19th.”