Podium Finishes

Team 220’s Josh Hilliard discusses his podium finish and how he is sharpening up for 2013

The race starts a long time before race day

It’s not often third place is better than a gold or silver, however, two weeks ago I came away with a bronze at the Geelong Olympic Distance triathlon that was a highlight of my triathlon career. The podium finish was a great moment, but what gave me the most satisfaction was the way I’d raced. A quick sprint to the water got me to the front of the pack in the swim. My swim is always my strongest leg and with an early burst and some glassy flat water, ended up with the fastest overall swim spilt. The ride is typically my weakest leg, however I felt strong overall. The run was a little wobbly but I quickly settled in. The second half of the run course is on the flat foreshore, so it begs for a fast finish and the longer I ran, the better I felt. I finished third with a total time of 2:03:02. The week before I placed second in Mandurah the, but didn’t feel nearly as strong as in Geelong. In 2013, I’ve been getting much more satisfaction out of the pursuit of my ultimate performance.

Of course podium finishes feel great, but feeling prepared both physically and mentally is what spurs me on. Going into Geelong I knew I’d done the work, I’d identified opportunities to improve my race and put into practice everything I’d learnt in the weeks leading up to it. I was excited to race and it paid off.

In previous races I would simply show up and ‘have a crack’, whereas now, both Peter and Rebecca’s training has taught me that the race starts a long time before race day. This has made me feel much more structured and in control of my race

Before speaking to Rebecca, my nutrition plan was fairly basic – eat good food before the race. I wasn’t consistent at all, but Rebecca helped me set key nutritional goals for each training phase and I made sure I nailed them. I felt much better for it during the race, and during my recovery in the days afterwards. Peter also helped me understand the value of recovery – to go fast on race day, sometimes you have to go slow in training.

This season I have three more Olympic Distance races in February and March, then straight into long course training for Busselton 70.3 and Cairns Ironman. I’m very much a novice when it comes to long course training and racing, so am looking forward to the challenges and rewards they’ll present.

For 2013 I’m setting specific training goals and making sure I hit them. My race in Geelong reflected this. The most telling evidence of the changes I’ve made is in my results. Last year, in the exact same race, I finished in 2:17:39, 21st in my category and 123rd overall. This year, I finished in 2:03:02, 3rd in my category and 13th overall. Something must have went right.