This month we talk to GTC couple Louise and Craig, who joined the club almost a year ago.
Already keen runners, the pair were eager to try a triathlon but they wanted to feel a lot more skilled and confident in the water.
They started in the Sunday night beginners’ swimming session and Craig describes how he felt when he was told he should move from lane one to two. He says: “It was one of the greatest moments of my life.”
He adds: “When I started the swimming sessions, I can recall looking across to the folk in lane four and thinking, ‘I’ll never be as good as them’. Within nine months I was told I needed to move to the earlier class.
“It is thanks to the incredibly patient and knowledgeable coaches, coupled with practising in between sessions, that has made a remarkable difference to my swimming.”
Louise echoes this. She says: “Swimming without a doubt has been the sport in which I have seen the biggest improvement since joining GTC.
“Last year, I did a novice triathlon doing the breaststroke but after attending the swimming sessions fortnightly from September I did my first sprint triathlon in Bute and I swam front crawl the whole way. I even over-took people.
“I cannot thank and praise the GTC swim coaches enough.”
Running is definitely Louise’s favourite sport. She ran an impressive 3:15 in her first marathon last year.
She says: “I have always loved running and I ran for Giffnock North as a junior. My uni studies and social life got in the way for a bit before I got back into running in my late 20s and joined Bellahouston Road Runners.
“I love running because it clears my head more than other sports. I do my best thinking when I am on a run.”
Craig can’t decide between running and cycling. He has run an impressive sub-three hour marathon. He says: “It’s a toss up between running and cycling, but probably cycling is my favourite sport, largely because running hurts a bit these days.”
First steps into triathlon
Craig was attracted to triathlon – and to GTC – because he was looking for a new challenge.
He says: “For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to do a triathlon, but because of my swimming ineptitude, I never thought it possible.
“Having attended the GTC swimming sessions I felt confident enough to do a triathlon and I have since completed novice and a sprint race. My favourite was the sprint because I found the cycle too short in the novice triathlon. I was also delighted to swim the 750m swim non-stop.”
Craig finished the sprint triathlon in a very respectable sub 1hr 15 min.
Louise reveals that triathlon “started as a mid life crisis as I was about to turn 40”. She says: “I thought that triathlon might be good way to cross train after doing my first marathon, which was another challenge in the year I turned 40.”
Despite being a newcomer to triathlon, Louise has enjoyed some great results.
She was third female in her first duathlon in Gourock last year and first female vet at the Three Castles Duathlon earlier this year. She was also fifth female in the Bute Sprint Triathlon.
Goals and the future
This season Craig’s goals include breaking 24 minutes for the A77 10 mile cycling time trial and swimming faster than 14 minutes for a 750m swim.
He says: “And in the future my aspirations are to keep enjoying the sport and encourage others to join in.”
Louise has her own goals. She says: “I want to get quicker at swimming, cycling and running! I hope to improve my triathlon times over the next year or so and one day I’d love to podium in my age category in a sprint triathlon.
“I have hopes, too, of conquering my fear of open water to then be able to do a half Ironman.”
Craig’s 3 top tips
Just try it: Triathlon is not just for experienced swimmers, cyclists or runners, and you don’t need all the kit to get started.
Listen to your body and be patient: Training in three disciplines at the same time is a new concept for most people so you need to juggle the demands on your body.
Enjoy it and show it: The great pay-off for me is the smiles and camaraderie that fellow triathletes give. There’s simply no other sport like it.
Louise’s 3 top tips
Give it a go: Triathlon is a lot of fun and a great way to keep fit
Join a tri club: I can’t praise the GTC coaches enough and the club is so welcoming with lots of lovely and crazy (in the nicest sense) people.
Do bricks: In the run up to a race, do brick sessions because you need to know how your legs will feel on the run (“dreadful for the first one kilometre, in my experience”).