“Triathlon is great, but then what do you do af­ter you’re done?”

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES -

was im­me­di­ately fol­lowed by a few long days in the field.

Holtham has at times been able to use the nec­es­sary travel to en­hance his train­ing, though, adding ex­tra time to trips to warm lo­ca­tions when he would oth­er­wise be stuck in the Van­cou­ver win­ter. Holtham’s race sched­ule is also built around his travel to avoid com­pet­ing im­me­di­ately af­ter a tax­ing trip. He also un­der­stands, from past ex­pe­ri­ence, how to pre­pare for a race.

“I just keep pretty flex­i­ble with my train­ing. For me I’ve learnt over the years that I’m bet­ter to be un­der­trained than over­trained.” says Holtham.

Like Holtham, Kil­lam also has to adapt to what is go­ing on at work. The un­usual eight-day sched­ule is some­thing he has in­cor­po­rated into his train­ing. This means that he can plan long work­outs for his days off and re­duce the time or in­ten­sity on work days. This can make it dif­fi­cult to achieve con­sis­tency or have train­ing part­ners, but this is some­thing Kil­lam has got used to.

“I’ve had shifts where we’ve had two fires at night. So you’re just ab­so­lutely de­stroyed. You’re use­less for a day. So that next day I’ll sleep all the way to the af­ter­noon and then I’ll just go back to work.” says Kil­lam.

Plan­ning a race sched­ule can be tricky for Kil­lam. Some week­ends he is lucky and races fall dur­ing his four days off, but at other times he has to use hol­i­day time to he does al­lows him to live a more com­fort­able life­style along­side com­pet­ing. He also ac­knowl­edges that there is life af­ter triathlon.

“Triathlon is great, but then what do you do af­ter you’re done?” says Holtham. For Kil­lam, be­com­ing a fire­fighter was his dream job. He finds it a great way to switch off and not be­come ob­sessed with triathlon, and the work is in­cred­i­bly ful­fill­ing.

“I’m still ex­cited to go to work. You never know what’s go­ing to hap­pen.” says Kil­lam. “You could save some­body’s life, and that’s su­per re­ward­ing.”

There are clearly sev­eral ways to make it as a pro­fes­sional triath­lete. Giv­ing up ev­ery­thing for the sport is one op­tion. But Kil­lam and Holtham show that with enough de­ter­mi­na­tion and dis­ci­pline, it’s pos­si­ble to be a top¬level ath­lete, work full time and have a strong fam­ily life.

Luke Yates is a free­lance jour­nal­ist from Van­cou­ver.

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