TTH Athlete Q&A: James Briscoe

This is the second in our series of blogs where we are doing short question and answer sessions with a variety of our athletes so you can get to know them a little better! You will hopefully learn from these that we cater to all athletes, from beginner to elite level across all of our coaching services. 

James Briscoe is a TTH Coached Athlete who first visited us in Portugal 4 years ago while at Swansea University. Since then he has developed in a big way as an athlete while also being coached by TTH. This year James took on the ITU AG World Champs in Rotterdam and also won the Llandudno Sea Triathlon.

Where do you train in the UK?

Primarily around Cheshire, but I do enjoy going back to N.Wales every now and again to cycle.

What’s your favourite training route?

I have a nice 70 miler I like to use on my longer training rides, encompassing a significant portion of Cheshire. This takes in the beautiful countryside and locations such as Jodrell Bank and Beeston Castle.

How often do you train and how do you fit training around work?

I average 10-13hrs a week with the occasional longer week in there. I currently work a shift pattern 06:00-14:00 and 14:00-22:00. With this I have found it much easier than when I used to work a 9-5. Personally I prefer the early shift as I am done by 14:00 and have plenty of time left in my day to get training and chores done and even have a little time to relax afterwards.

How long have you been working with Tri Training Harder?

I first was made aware of the company when approached after the 2012 Age-group World Championships in New Zealand. Since 2013, I have been to two excellent training camps, worked alongside TTH to set up Bangor University's Triathlon Team as well as continued to use the coaching support.

What do you do when your not doing triathlon?

I enjoy travelling and hiking with my wife in my spare time. I also like to wind down with my friends either catching up at the weekends or playing online on my console.

Why do you do triathlon?

Mainly for a good challenge. I also love the community within triathlon and the characters you meet. The health benefits aren't too bad either.

What’s your favourite experience on a TTH Training Holiday?

Racing the Portuguese National Championships against fellow triathletes on the camp and my coach Alan Ward. It was draft legal, which I had done previously in the British Elite Super Series, but never in an age-group race. This made for some interesting riding and a what felt a very quick race.

How have you found having a triathlon Coach? Positives and negatives?

Positives: Not having to come in from work and have to think about what am i doing today. Using the Training Peaks app really helps provide motivation and stay orgainsed.

Having feedback on specifics about sessions that I have completed means that I can develop my understanding of the sport and myself as an athlete.

Having someone who knows what they are doing able to break my performance down and explain the finer points.

I push myself harder.

Negatives: I tend to feel guilty if I miss sessions and see the red on the plan.

One positive I found out this year is the benefit of having someone else outside of your usual circles. Early on this season I got married. But my wife being from the US ended up having to return to Texas for an undefined amount of time with no guarantee of coming back. At first I was coping with training and work, unfortunately I went though a spell of depression. Alan was a great voice of reason in this time and helped me change my uncertainty to focusing on preparing for my season ahead. He made sure that training wasn't overloading and made sure I was planning time to socialise.

What’s your favourite workout?

Probably either a tough Fartlek run, that leaves me with nothing left in the tank. Or a track interval session working on speed and posture.

What is your favourite distance event?

Currently standard distance, personal goal is to sub 2hrs. My closest yet is 2:00:48.

What are you planning for next season?

Race in Estonia at the European Championships, qualify and race the World Championships at the Gold Coast and look into racing the British Super Series.

What do you think is the most important component of training for a triathlon?

Discipline: we've all been there at the crack of dawn and looking out the window thinking I really cant be bothered. But it takes discipline on days with no motivation to get changed/pack your bag and get out of the door.

You’ve suffered from an injury recently, how did you maintain focus during this?

Most recently I suffered with a strained Achilles, first thing was to notify my coach. From then, it was a case of listening to my body, compression, icing and taking it easy.

Two years ago I had a serious crash while trying to qualify for World Championships. This left me with a shattered collarbone and was a huge knock to my confidence. I had to take a step back and focus on other things as I had just finished university. As soon as I could I was picking out a race to aim towards and slowly built myself back up. This year having the support of Alan has given me further drive to push myself further than I ever have before. All in all I have found that setting goals is the best way to give focus when you hit a hurdle.

Nick PillingAG, TriathlonComment