Elite Focus: Matty White

Matty White has gone from finishing last in the school’s end-of-semester race to one of Australia’s most consist professional triathletes

Matt “Matty” White got his start in triathlon through a class at school. He has gone from finishing second last in the school’s end-of-semester race to one the most consistently high-performing and well-respected professional triathletes in Australia. Early in Matty’s career he travelled to the South of France racing with various French triathlon clubs. He now resides in Adelaide and works full-time as a firefighter with the South Australian Metro Fire Department.


“Swimming is a really hard sport to see improvement. You have to double or triple your workload to achieve small gains in performance,” Matty says. Juggling a full-time job and taking care of his infant daughter Elodie, he keeps his swim sessions short, no more then 3km in any session.

A usual swim session for Matty consists of a 200m warm up and then 60x50m swim sets. Swimming an average of 5 days a week, this gives him the fitness he needs to feel confident going into an Ironman 70.3.


The bike takes very high priority in Matty’s training. “ How you perform on the bike can seriously affect your run. If you are stronger on the bike you will be fresher going into the run,” he says.

To save time, Matty utilises a Wattbike for most of his training. He puts his daughter down for a nap and knocks out a roughly 1.5hr session with intervals ranging from 5mins up to 1hr.

Living just outside Morialta Conservation Park in Adelaide, Matty lives in the honey hole of cycling in Australia. “I can go out my front door and ride for 150km without hitting one traffic light,” he says. “But it’s a challenge for me to do a 5-6hr ride because of really having to plan them in advance around work, and taking care of my little girl.”


Since the birth of Elodie, Matty’s run training has changed quite a bit. Most of the time he can be seen running pushing her in the pram. Pushing a pram up hills with a one-year-old inside adds the element of what Matty likes to call “strength running”. He explains: “After the first time I took her with me, I could hardly walk the next day.”

When at the firehouse, Matty jumps on the treadmill, cranks the speed up to 18km/h and holds that for 1hr straight. Having a strong run is extremely important because no matterwhat kind of race you are having, a solid run can save the day.


Matty’s nutritional plan mostly consists of steering clear of takeaway food and drinking plenty of fluids. After training or going out on a call with the fire department it is really important to replace the fluids he has lost through sweat.


MONDAY Day off or easy swim

TUESDAY Hard 2hr Wattbike session and 1hr run in afternoon

WEDNESDAY Long ride (4hrs) with 30min run off the bike and swim in afternoon (3km)

THURSDAY Brutal hill ride session (3hrs) and hill run in the afternoon (30mins)

FRIDAY Run hills in morning (60mins) and 1hr hard treadmill run in the afternoon with a recovery swim in between

SATURDAY Long TT effort about 50km race pace with a 4hr ride. Swim in afternoon (3km) 60x50m efforts on 40sec pace.

SUNDAY Long run of 1.5-2hrs, plus recovery swim (3km)

Matty trains 25-35hrs a week, but that can vary week to week. Because of the unpredictability of his 2-day shifts at the fire house and family commitments he plans his training day by day. In total, Matty aims for 10-14km swimming, 300-400km riding and 80-100km running per week.


Name: Matt “Matty” White

Age: 35

Live: Adelaide

Profession: Dad, firefighter, triathlete

Club: Adelaide Vales

Coach: Self

Top results:

2nd, 2011 Challenge Cairns

2nd, 2010 IM Western Australia

3rd, 2012 IM Western Australia

3rd IM Western Australia


You can follow Matty on Twitter @MattyWhite77