Training as Play is the foundation for all the other pillars – it is where the framework begins and what we expose the younger athletes in our pathway to first. It is the key focus at the Skills School and Regional Academy stages of the Pathway
Triathlon is an endurance sport and there is no getting away from the physical attributes and qualities required for success. This though has to be allied with the right mindset and approach to training too. Training as play is about athletes developing a deep-seated love and passion for training. It is impossible to be a world leading triathlete without loving training.
This process begins with exposing athletes to engaging with and enjoying their training. It then builds to them developing both purpose and fascination for their training by exploring the sport, themselves and their environment, whilst at the same time wanting to identify as triathletes. Over time this is enhanced into relentless but purposeful passion and love for training that allows our best athletes to excel.
Training as Play can be expressed in any many ways so we thought we would enlist two time Olympic medallist Jonny Brownlee and double World Champion Helen Jenkins to share their thoughts
What do you love about training?
JB - I love being outside, I love the challenge of exploring both myself and my limits, as well as my immediate environment. I like the routine of training. I used to love exploring when I was younger I get much less time now as serious sport has taken that away. I do though explore more in the winter, while in the summer it has to be more serious, focussed and purposeful.
HJ - For me it is both freedom and satisfaction. The freedom of being outside and at the same time the complete satisfaction from for getting a treadmill session done. To stay injury free I have had to learn to love running around football pitches and on treadmills, so satisfaction from a session well done is really important to me.
What age did you identify as a triathlete?
JB - I was 15, it was when I went to the European Youth Relays.
HJ - I think when I was 18 and I decided not to go to Uni and focus on being a triathlete full time.
At what age did you prioritise Triathlon above all else in your life?
JB - When I started Uni. I went Leeds as it was best for my triathlon. I deliberately chose a course that fitted around my training and I really committed.
HJ - At 20 when I moved into senior racing.