The Ironman Interview: Amy Forshaw,

September starts a series of interviews with talented athlete age-groupers operating at the middle distances, and this month we’re stoked to be chatting with Surrey-based local and F30-34 Ironman 70.3 European Champion, Amy Forshaw (

Triathlon is, surprisingly, a new sport, with the first recorded Tri taking place in September 1974. Just a few years later (1978) the first Ironman race was held, capturing the publics attention and starting the boom. The sport is now showing huge growth worldwide, with the Olympic races being among the most watched events in the Olympic calendar.

Here in the UK, the London Triathlon scene has grown +1000% in just over ten years, with organisers reporting that more and more people continue to sign up every year.

So why is Triathlon so popular? To the casual observer it can seem like a torture fest – particularly when you see TV coverage of an Ironman race…

Amy Forshaw is a professional triathlete. She’s been taking part in triathlons for the last five years and this year will be her second year racing as a professional.

“My first triathlon was a sprint women’s only event at Dorney Lake and to my surprise I won it. After the race and achieving a good result I decided it really was for me and here I am now racing amongst the top athletes from around the world.”

“In 2012 I won UK 70.3 overall as an age grouper (by nine minutes) and a week later went on to win the British Age Group Championships.”

Amy told us why she thinks it’s so popular…

  • It is the ultimate cross training workout:

We are all being encouraged to put more variety into our training, to try some different things. Triathlon is the ultimate expression of that – triathletes swim, bike and run every week, ensuring that they always have a varied workout programme.
  • You can push yourself:

Because simply finishing an event is seen as an achievement, it’s a great opportunity to test your limits. Just crossing the finish line – no matter your place in the field – can be a hugely rewarding experience, and is what keeps thousands of middle (and back) of the pack participants coming back for more.
  • Health benefits:

Because they are doing three different sports, triathletes can avoid many of the injuries that single sports athletes – especially runners – fall prey to. In addition, training for a triathlon is a great cardiovascular workout, and can help to build and maintain good muscle tone.

“When I started out in early 2009 I couldn’t swim and riding a time trial bike scared the hell out of me. I could run well but I was a complete novice in the other two disciplines.

Over the past years i’ve learnt a lot about triathlon, me and my body and in those years tried to focus more on my performances (and progression) rather than necessarily results. 2014 has been a year to bring it all together and step up. For example, my biking performance has been improved with interval training and i’ve found training with power in controlled conditions (such as on the Wattbike) has been a valuable part of my regime.

The key thing for this season has been learning what my magic formula is and by that I mean, what does my peaking period look like, what should my taper look like, my pre-race nutrition, what is my pre-race routine.

I’ve learned to remember that sometimes you have to just accept that life will get in the way, shrug your shoulders and get on with it. It’s hard because as you invest more of your time you then want your training to be as perfect as possible. Time is the most valuable thing we have and you don’t want to have wasted any of it. It might sound that i manage it all perfectly but i don’t. It can be a struggle sometimes, but i try to find ways that will help me maximise my performance gains in the shortest time.”

Thanks Amy and hopefully see you on that podium again in September!


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