Triathletes Name: Belinda Fong (aka Bel or The Fonginator) Age Group: 30-34 Country: Australia
Favourite Distance: Olympic Time in Sport: 4 years Hours per week: 15hours
Best Results: 2nd place 30-34 females, Sparke Helmore NBN Olympic Distance, Newcastle (March, 2010)
Additional Information: Work two jobs; one as a nanny & the other as an outdoor personal trainer & gym instructor (teaching group fitness classes)
How did you get started in Triathlon? My flatmate joined the local tri club & encouraged me to try it. I also had a friend who had just competed in Ironman so I was inspired by someone who could not only race that distance but also train for three disciplines.
TRAINING AND RACING TIPS
Favourite Training Session: The Run
Favourite part of a triathlon: The people. I have made so many great friends in this sport. Also the physical/mental challenge
What would you like to improve? The cycle
Tips to stay motivated: As a fitness instructor, you have to maintain a certain level of fitness & be a positive role model for clients. You also need a lot of energy to work with kids so that’s what keeps me motivated. I also like to train with other people. It’s a lot more fun, you push yourself harder & you are more accountable. No excuses for missing training sessions!
How important is confidence? Huge. I am a big believer in goal setting but also being realistic at the same time. I tend to be generous with my goals to avoid disappointment which I have seen in a lot of my friends who compete. I am competitive but my goal in every race is to always to have fun & anything else is a bonus. A lot of people focus purely on times & ego’s. I don’t care for that.
Time saving tips:Do what you can. Everyone has different schedules & commitments. You can’t get upset about people who can train more than you. Especially if you work full-time or have a partner and/or kids. Also, I love training with others because it gives you a chance to socialise, push yourself harder & it makes the session go by a lot quicker.
Spend some time on Sunday afternoons preparing food the week so you can just grab & go. Sometimes I need something straight after the gym but don’t want all the crap that is in those pre made protein drinks. Also, when I get home from work, I don’t always want to spend ages cooking, so I like preparing a big serve of food a few days before & freezing it so that I can just heat it up and eat it at the end of a long day.
Tips for improving: Swimming: it’s funny how you can become more efficient by tweaking one of two things in your stroke. So I would definitely recommend a qualified coach to look at your stroke. I have become way more efficient in the water because of this.. And do more open water swims. The black line won’t be there on race day.
Riding: learn how to ride in a pack. I never used to train for cycling when I first started because I was too scared to ride on the road. But I slowly gained more confidence riding with others. It’s also safer. When it comes to hills, I used to get out of my saddle & cane it because I figured if you get to the top faster, it won’t hurt as much & you have more time to recover. WRONG! It is way less efficient than going slower & staying in the saddle!
Running: Pump your arms faster & your legs will follow. And it’s all about the sprint finish.
Racing Tips: Sign up for races with friends (it’s a lot more fun when you see people you know out on the course). Gather others to come & support you (you always race faster when people are yelling at you)! And always help others eg if they have pulled over to the side, ask them if they’re ok, or maybe just encourage someone during the race to keep going if they have slowed down. One day, you might just need it.
Future Goals: Ironman Australia in May 2012 (my first one)!
Why should women participate in Triathlon? You make life long friends, you can race anywhere in the world & it’s the most fun you will ever have in lycra!
Other comments: If there is anything I have learnt in this sport, it’s that ANYONE can do it, no matter what age or fitness level. We need more girl power out there! There are quite a few female-only events if you are scared to take the plunge & race with men for your first race. I learn something new about the sport every time I race which is what makes it so exciting.