Max#1: Elliott Cole Triathlete – introduction

Kevin: So welcome back to the Maximize Potential podcast. Today we are here and we’re back with Elliott Cole are aspiring triathlete who is training to complete the 2011 triathlon championships but has the ultimate goal of competing in the Ironman challenge over in Hawaii, which I know he’s going to tell us a lot more about. However, The reason we are with Elliott and not with anyone else who is competing for the triathlon is because Elliott story is a bit different.

Many people devote their entire lives to training for a triathlon and when you speak to a lot of people who are involved in it or have been a part of it, you realize that it is probably one of the toughest endurance competitions actually available on the earth right now.

What is unique about Elliott story is he is actually competing in his first ever triathlon literally about four months ago, and it is the speed at which he has dedicated himself to it and learn the trade and, really, developed very quickly into an elite athlete is what became of interest to maximize potential because we felt that it summed up exactly what our podcast is all about and what our site is all about.

So that is why we are here with Elliott and we are very grateful that he has come and take a break from training to come and sit down with us and give us the latest update with what he’s been doing. Hi Elliot! How are you?

Elliott: Hello! I’m good thank you.

Kevin: Good, excellent! So we are in April now and the weather has finally turned into spring after a very long winter this year.

Elliott: Yes, indeed!

Kevin: We have bright sunshine outside and nothing to be registering first of all to give us a recap because this is the first one, really, of the season, that we are talking about, you want to tell us a little bit about what the winter was like in terms of winter training? Obviously you had the London triathlon back at the tail end of last summer, and then it was really a question of dedicating yourself to winter training which I assume is predominantly indoors training, but there may have been outdoor stuff there. What was that like?

Elliott: It has been kind of a massive learning curve for me, because there was a lot of indoor training throughout the course of the winter. There were quite a lot of gym sessions and quite a lot of sessions on the turbo trainer, for people who aren’t aware, that is a trainer that you put your road-going bike on And you lift the rear wheel onto it and you can make different settings so you can make it slightly even more difficult, slightly easier.

There were quite a lot of indoor work, a lot of pool swimming, so there were a lot of early mornings before work jumping in the pool. Because the lakes all close early part of September and then they reopen, literally the first one just opened last weekend.

Kevin: So what is a quick pool session before you go to work? For me, that could be slightly different to what it is to you… [laughing]

Elliott: It depends on what sort of sessions I’m doing. If it is a technique session, it could be ½ to 2km while for distance work, it can be 2 to 4km and upwards.

Kevin: Right. So in the 25m pool, you’re dealing with 50 lengths minimum?

Elliott: Yep.

Kevin: So for endurance you could be dealing with…

Elliott: Hundreds… there all morning! [laughing]

Kevin: Right! [laughing] That is probably a bit more than what I was thinking about like nipping into the pool before work and then hitting the sauna. Going back to the bike, and talking about the equipment that you use, I’m assuming you use this in your house, don’t you, where you live?

Elliott: Yes, we had some accidents over the winner, Chrissie Wellington the winner of the 2009 Hawaiian Ironman, actually, came out of her bike during the winter just on a training ride. So, the kind of rule of thumb is that if the weather is not great, stick to indoors. The turbo trainer is as good as being outdoors, slightly more boring, that you have the television on and music in the background. The scenery doesn’t change.

But, it is effectively the same workout. Your bike doesn’t go anywhere, you just put the back wheel onto the turbo trainer with different settings so that you can change the friction between the rear wheel and the trainer itself.

Kevin: And you can actually do that while you’re cycling, so you can vary the terrain?

Elliott: Yes, you can go up or down through the gears when there is actually a setting that comes with the turbo trainer that you can crank it up or loosen it off.

Kevin: Superb! You summed it up. So, safe from icy conditions… but also I guess safe from very dark conditions and a lot of other cars on the road and so forth.

Elliott: Absolutely! And a lot of it revolves around work, So did in training whenever you can and early mornings if you’re getting up at half five or six o’clock, it is not daylight. So it is really good to get the turbo trainer out and get a few hours then.

Kevin: That was something else you spoke to me about before we actually started recording, which was the amount of training that you do. That was something that took me by surprise! At the end of the day, you worked a regular job just like everybody else, but you’re managing, from what you said, to do two training sessions a day!

Elliott: Yep!

Kevin: That is the level of dedication that you had to put into this to reach the level that you’re trying to aspire to. How does that work? He just touched upon how early you have to get up everything…

Elliott: Yes there are a lot of long days and fitting training sessions around your work so that the gym bag or all work out stuff is in the car all the time, so if I have an hour to spare I can hit the gym, go for a run, get the bike out, or jump in the pool. My normal kind of average day during the week, I get up about a 5:45 or six o’clock, and I normally get a ride or a swim in before work and then I go for a long run after work or at lunchtime. So I get an hour run in as well. It is just literally two sessions a day after one of the morning, one at lunchtime, or morning and evening.

Kevin: The interesting thing is that you are actually still doing your standard job. You are a career man as opposed to a full-time athlete.

Elliott: Yep!

Kevin: So what you’re showing is that it is actually possible to achieve quite heady heights for a fitness and athletic perspective but also…

Elliott: There are quite a lot of athletes out there that have to do it, for the few fortunate people where it is a way of life and it is something they can do day in and day out… it is certainly something that I would love to do full time. My dream is to be a full-time athlete and at the moment it is just…..dedication! [laughing]

Kevin: my guess is there is also a constant balancing act it seems like, as you said, regardless of whether you’re consciously sitting in a training session, subconsciously your mind is always thinking about the triathlon elements of your life.

Elliott: It is about taking advantages of any opportunity, really. If there is an hour to spare to get the gem bag out and get cracking…

Kevin: It is a good approach. I think a lot of other people, myself included, anyone else I’ve spoken to spend probably an hour thinking about those things… it sounds like you just don’t question it. You open it up, get a change, and get started. So by the time we have started thinking about it, you actually finish getting it done. So that is good advice and a very good thing to think of.

Obviously, we are going to be doing lots of these diaries. That makes it very easy for us to split up a lot of the content that I know I think people would find very interesting to hear about such as nutrition, specific parts of your training, and things like that.

What we will do is save a lot of that for later episodes because I know that your discipline with your nutrition is huge and that’s a massive part of how much your fitness has improved. I think that deserves an episode in itself, so I think what I would like to do is, now that we actually have this good weather and you are able to go outside, explain to us how the next few weeks are going to go because you are beginning to enter competitions now, aren’t you?

Elliott: March was the beginning of the main part of the season and is starting to pick up momentum. The early part of the season up until about May, June, tends to be a “duatholon” which is a run/bike/run as opposed to a swim/bike/run because, like I said, in the lakes at the moment the water is just too cold. You can’t operate a triatholon. I’ve done two duatholons this season. It was a 5km run, a 20km bike and then a 5km run.

The first one at the beginning in March, was the first one in the season so everyone was finding their feet and seeing how much their training of the winner had paid off. I came 12/140 athletes in that one.

Kevin: Superb!

Elliott: So it was a good start. There were a few kind of little niggling issues, I got a cramp after about 18km on the bike, which lost me about five or six minutes, which was the difference between 3rd and 12th.

Kevin: Oh wow! And what caused the cramp, I mean, were you able to isolate what it was?

Elliott: Yeah. I had a friend who does nutrition stuff. And she looked at my intake before and during the race and I stupidly didn’t take in enough fluids. So it was my own fault. I learned from it, went back out for another duatholon a couple of weeks ago and came in 6/140 athletes again. So that was moving in the right direction.

Kevin: Didn’t you tell me a story there was little bit of a sabotage? It sounds like you are already creating ripples in the triathlon field!

Elliott: Yes! I don’t know if it was a compliment, or someone was gunning for me at the start of the year, but yeah. When you arrive at the start of a race you go into what they call “transition” where you lay all the gear out so the bike is on the rack and you literally hook the seat over a pole. Your trainers go down and your shoes are already fit into the bike. You put your helmet on the bike, and everything is ready to go so the minute you get off the first run, the helmet goes on, the traders come off, and the bike goes down and you put your cycling shoes on while you are on the move.

I set everything out as normal; I have quite a regiment in the way that I do it, so everything has got its own sequence and everything goes in its normal place, the towel goes down, the trainers go on it… I came off the first run, and someone had actually tightened my helmet on the tightest setting it would go so I put it on my head and it didn’t go on.

Kevin: That’s ridiculous!

Elliott: It was definitely slightly bizarre experience.

Kevin: Surely the only way people can work out whose stuff is what is probably by putting the number next to it hasn’t it?

Elliott: Yes, Everything is numbered. You have a number on your helmet and a number on your bike, Can you honestly have your run best on as well.

Kevin: So they would have to know what number corresponded to you and where you put your stuff.

Elliott: Either that or they were keeping an eye on me while I was out putting all my gear out in the morning.

Kevin: That is crazy! [laughing] So you are a man to be feared on the triathlon circuit already?

Elliott: Yes, making enemies. [laughing]

Kevin: [laughing] Out of interest, what did that cost you time-wise?

Elliott: It is not a massive amount, like 10 or 15 seconds, but it all adds up. It is the psychology that goes with it as well, because you are thinking, why did that happen? Was it me? Because I always put my helmet on before I laid it on the bike to make sure there is absolutely no surprises when you come into the transition. It kind of makes you doubt yourself because you’re like, did I do it? Did I not do it this time? It was a slightly strange experience

Kevin: A bit of entertainment. That is great! It is pretty good to hear where it is all going for you. I think when we do our next episode… Hopefully… we have already spoken about the fact that we are actually trying to do some of our recordings out and about with you.

Elliott: Fantastic.

Kevin: Filming stuff as well as just doing audio so we can actually see some of the physical training techniques that help you to understand what triathlon is. I think what I’m interested to do now to round things off of this episode is, I think it is always good that we can leave everyone with a quick tip for something that they can implement within their lives to take their steps towards maximizing their potential.

You are operating in a very different level of fitness to most of the population right now, but, put yourself back a few stages before you were at this level. What is something that we can start implementing right now that can make an immediate impact on our overall health?

Elliott: Coming back to what you’re saying about the temperature earlier and the weather that is starting to pick up and the sun is now shining… keep up your hydration levels. Increase the amount of water levels that you are taking in. Trying to get your water intake up between one and a half and 3L a day. I was told this about 12 months ago and you wouldn’t believe the impact it has on your energy levels. Your energy levels will pick up straightaway. And, your general health all around. So, get the glass out and fill it up!

Kevin: So you are saying ½ to 3L.. most people can visualize a pint glass on this episode, how many of those are you talking about?

Elliott: What I tend to do, to make it very simple, is to keep two or three bottles of Evian on me at all times, and then just top it off. So once it is gone you know that you had two liters throughout the day. If you top it up again, great, but as long as you have one bottle then you know you’ve had your 2L.

Kevin: You are only told this to sort of less than 12 months ago, so you have the benefit guy for quite a while anyway, but prior to that how can you compare what training and what your general life was like prior to this change in habit for how much water?

Elliott: Like I said, the main aspect of it is general energy. And your whole perception of everything. I’ve always been a relatively fit guy, but the water energy is something that you kind of take for granted. You drink when you’re thirsty, and I had never looked at it like something I should be topping up throughout the day at regular intervals. So it has made a massive effect.

Kevin: And it is not about how you have to go and be buying mineral water all the time, you just need to make sure you’re having glasses of water, throughout the day, and that will have a huge impact. You’ll see in your energy and your overall health. I think you said to me before as well that you don’t get those three o’clock downers, you know when people get that tiredness at three o’clock. It keeps that energy flowing throughout the day.

Elliott: Absolutely! The energy is the main aspect of it. It is also for someone watching their weight out there, and for hunger. A lot of hunger and stomach rumblings and things like that is a lot of times dehydration rather than hunger.

Kevin: I had someone come through from a corporate wellness company who had that as a feature article. I hadn’t thought about it until you just said it, but it says something about the fact that the body can’t tell the difference between thirst and hunger. So, you can get the same… You’ll often interpret it as you’re hungry, but the body could be actually saying it is thirsty.

Elliott: Yep! So the first thing I do is when the stomach starts rumbling, have a glass of water. When it is at it again, you know you need to get yourself some food. So water is always the first thing I take on board when I started a bit of the craving.

Kevin: Well I never thought about water being a weight management tool or something to help dieting, but there we go. On that note, I think that is a perfect way to end it. Elliot, as always, we appreciate your time. Appreciate you coming off your training and spending a bit of time with us.

Elliott: Thank you very much!

Kevin: Hopefully, next month when we get together it will be outdoors, maybe with a video. It will actually be seeing you out there pounding the streets.

Elliott: And I’ll be getting you to the lake at some silly-oclock in the morning..

Kevin: That will be good. Well, hopefully you will be recording that one and sending it to us! [laughing] Well, thanks very much!

Elliott: [laughing] Thank you very much, cheers!

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!