Life Health & Wellbeing

Sunday 23 September 2018

I love the variety of tough triple challenge

How I do it: Pete Wedderburn

Pete Wedderburn
Pete Wedderburn

Approaching his 55th birthday, TV3 vet and triathlete Pete Wedderburn has no intention of slowing down. So many people will relate to Pete's experience, deciding in his 40s that he needed to take control of his health for the better. Now he's a seasoned amateur athlete, completing between five and eight races every year.

"I ran cross-countries at school, played rugby at vet college, pole vaulted for Edinburgh University and ran a marathon at the age of 23. After that early enthusiasm, I lapsed into lazy lethargy until my mid-40s. When I noticed that my cheekbones had vanished and I'd gone up a waist size, I realised I was heading into middle-aged obesity. I needed a goal to motivate me, so a novel type of race -the triathlon - seemed like an interesting idea.

"I completed my first, King of Greystones, 10 years ago. I did that first race in T-shirt and shorts, on my commuter bike complete with pannier-carrier on the back. One of the benefits of triathlons is the variety of activities - a 3km swim one day, a 10km run the next, then a 40km bike ride after that. This stops me from getting bored and it also means that my body doesn't get over-stressed in any one area.

"I love to run, the cycling is a challenge, while the swimming is my weakest event but I get a little better every year, and that keeps me motivated. I have a set routine every week, given to me by my coach, Eamonn Tilley of ET Sports (etsports.ie) whereby I exercise for around 90 minutes every day, with one session of aerobic exercise, and one set of stretches, strength and conditioning.

"As I've grown older, my flexibility has deteriorated and the stretches, including yoga, have become more important. When it comes to fuel, my favourite recipe books are Derval O'Rourke's Food For The Fast Lane and The Fit Foodie, both of which offer simple food ideas that are easy to cook and geared towards fitness enthusiasts.

"Animal welfare is important to me but, although I go through vegan and vegetarian phases, I do eat meat as long as I know its origin. My wife is a distributor of Forever Living nutritional supplements, and they're an important part of my routine. From a daily swig of aloe vera gel containing glucosamine for my joints to multivitamin and fish oil capsules every morning, to pre-race non-caffeine energy drinks, to L-Arginine powder for my bike bottle, those products help me fine-tune my nutrition."

Pete's top 3 tips

* Join a triathlon club. The support and wisdom of other triathletes makes all the difference.

* Get a fitness watch (I love my Garmin 735XT) so you can monitor your health and exercise stats.

* Sign up with a triathlon coach. Even for beginners, having that support keeps you safe and helps you realise your potential.

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