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It’s always nice to hear other people’s sporting stories and journey’s so I’m delighted to introduced Emma Jones, another YouCanCoaching athlete in our series of athlete profiles.

Tell us about yourself as a Triathlete

I was the girl at school who hated any type of sport but after spending 12 months travelling the world in my 20s and gaining over three stone in weight, from far too much beer and food, I decided I needed to do some sort of exercise. So whilst travelling in America I took up jogging as all I needed was a pair of trainers, and then 12 months later I entered my first half marathon.

I have been running now for over 20 years but started my journey into triathlons in 2017 when I completed my first sprint triathlon with a friend as we thought it would be good fun. I then progressed to do my first Olympic triathlon in 2018 as the sport becomes addictive.

I would still never call myself an athlete as that is something I would associate with professionals and individuals who really seem to know what they are doing but I now have a real love of the sport.

I love triathlons for so many different reasons, the freedom, headspace, the variety in three different disciplines, the various challenges, the feeling you get when you have finished a race and been able to grow constantly in so many different ways.  Also as a mom of two young boys, it’s really important that they see my love for exercise and that with hard work and determination anything is possible.

What is your proudest Triathlon related achievement

Completing my second Olympic triathlon (Upton Triathlon) in June 2019 after 6 months of training with Penny and knocking over 30 minutes off my time. I had stuck to my training plan and the hard work and determination with Penny’s advice really helped.

What are you training for at the moment?

My goal for 2020 was to complete in three Olympic triathlons and various other races but with Covid most races have now been cancelled. So I have now entered Slateman Olympic Triathlon in September 2020 and hoping this goes ahead…

What are your favourite training sessions and why?

My favourite sessions now are the open water swim, after been in lockdown for over 10 weeks it’s amazing to have the freedom of the water and the time to think.

For me my favourite sessions can change depending on how I am feeling and what is on plan.  You can’t however beat a good hill run session.

What are your least favourite training sessions and can you share any tips for getting through them?

My least favourite would be the long turbo sessions in the winter and I will often watch an inspiring sports movie or documentary or SAS who dare wins to motivate me.

If I have a tough session and do not feel like getting out, I sometimes dig deep, go through the motions of getting ready, disengage my brain from the voices telling me I cannot do it and just get out there and do it.

I never ever regret a session and you always return feeling so much better.

What are the biggest challenges that you face being a triathlete and training for triathlon and what tips do you have for dealing with them?

The bike, this is without doubt my biggest challenge. I had not really ridden a bike since I was a child and so I am starting to learn to gain more confidence and trying to get faster.

In order to combat this I will go out riding with a friend and do more focused bike sessions and listen to Penny’s advice when I often doubt myself. Patience is key!

What is your funniest moment in triathlon racing or training?

For my first ever sprint triathlon, my timing chip came off my leg during the pool  swim. I had no idea what to do but fortunately a friend who was on pool side managed to point to where it was in the water so I could grab it!

What is the most useful and useless pieces of kit you own or have bought?

Useful has been the cadence and speed sensor on the bike.

Many years ago a pair of running trainers off ebay – which were incredibly cheap but when they arrived 1 trainer was covered in green paint!

How have you grown as an athlete in the last few years?

I am growing in confidence with every season, and realising that there is always lots of space for improvement in both performance and technical skills. This is though why I love the sport as you can constantly push and challenge yourself and know that there is always something new to learn and improve on.

I have always known that I will never win a race but that doesn’t mean as an individual I can’t strive to do better. I am now starting to understand that the race is not everything and the journey to get there is key.

How has coaching helped you reach your goals?

It has had such a massive impact for me; I love structure, routine and goals and the coaching has really assisted with this.  It helps you to focus and o get the most out of your sessions as they all have purpose and meaning,

Penny gives me the confidence and assurance when needed and helps you to assess your goals for the year and for big races, which is key when you are so new to triathlons.  I have also achieved many personal bests in 10k, half marathons and triathlons over the last 18 months following the coaching.

Importantly though Penny has also taught me there is so much more to racing than just times, that with each race you can always learn and take away a positive even if it is not a personal best. This has really helped me on race day and I feel I am constantly growing and learning.

What are your future ambitions and dream goals?

I would like to complete a half Ironman… and swim the channel.