Luke Pollard: A guide to the winter


This time of year is a unique time in an athlete’s calendar as it provides opportunity for down time, but also the chance to gear up for the coming year. We spoke with Luke Pollard, athlete and guide for PTVI paratriathlete Dave Ellis, on what his training has looked like and how he trains alongside Ellis.

Last year saw the pair win on home soil in Leeds, make their Paralympic paratriathlon debut together and become world champions in Abu Dhabi in November, with the World Championships coming at the end of a long season for the duo.

“2021 was a long year with the addition of Abu Dhabi in November,” Pollard commented. “I think for me and Dave there was a sense of relief that the job was done and we were the world champs.

“There was nothing too mental in terms of celebration, a few drinks and food out, then I headed back home and just took some down time.”

Having taken the tape and arrived back in the UK as a world champion, Pollard took a bit of time away from training after a busy season and one in which he and Ellis also became European champions.

“I took two or three weeks off after Abu Dhabi as a break, then came back just shy of December to tick along,” explained Pollard.

“It was nothing too major and just getting back in the swing of things until Christmas rolls around and then coming back into it in January.

“Me and Dave have pretty much the same training programme and it’ll be tailored to each of us, but we’re quite even as athletes and very, very similar so it works well. Time-wise with Dave, all the run sessions are with Dave and every swim we’ll do together, then we’ll try and get out on the tandem if the weather permits.”

PTVI paratriathlon provides a unique dynamic of two people racing, with the relationship that Pollard and Ellis have built up over a number of years key to their success.

“I think it just comes with it,” Pollard answered when asked about training on communication. “When you spend enough time with someone and you’re training with them, you get a feel for each other and how each other works and trains.

“I’ll know when Dave’s not feeling it and he’ll know when I’m not feeling great or when now is a good time to push it, so we’re quite dialled into each other’s training now as we’ve spent so much time together and know how each other react.

“It’s been the biggest factor for my performance is having someone who I work with every day. Him being better is good for him, but me being better is also good for him, so when it’s deep into a training block and the 6am alarm clock goes you know that Dave’s going to be there and he’s one of the most driven athletes I’ve ever met.

“I’m a pretty driven athlete myself, but I’ve got to be there. I’m not there to just turn up and clock the hours, I’ve got to be there and I’m going to perform the best I possibly can for Dave.”

Having taken the win at the first World Triathlon Para Series race in Britain in Leeds last year, Pollard and Ellis will have the chance to race on home soil once again in 2022 as Swansea hosts Britain’s first standalone race of that level on Saturday 6 August.

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