Athlete of the Month, July 2016 – Bill Spencer
Athlete of the Month
Coach Martina nominated Bill Spencer because he has a great way of being involved in the training process. His desire to know why and how things are happening is a great curiosity for a coach to coach! She also says that he is an exceptional communicator which also makes it enjoyable to coach him. He understands how his body is responding to training and that helps Martina help to create a proper training progression and him Bill prevent injuries. In particular, Martina appreciated that Bill noticed that after a 3 day heavy training regime his resting HR was high and his pulse increased rapidly with movement. And with that information the two of them were able to make plans to back off and watch how his body responded so that he could make sure he didn’t get in a hole with over training.
We are excited to turn the spotlight on Bill Spencer as he heads to Ironman Boulder next weekend!
Enjoy this Q&A and get ready for some laughter (especially with how he came to race triathlon)!
How did it come to be that you wanted to race triathlons?
I was a runner in high school but jumped into rowing in college. I picked up biking when I moved to Boulder from the east coast. I started doing centuries with a friend from work in 2009. We were either doing organized rides or just riding with each other every weekend through the Spring and into the Summer. I had always been interested in triathlon but didn’t know much about it other than the images everyone has seen of athletes crawling over the finish line in Hawaii.
So I got the idea that my friend and I should enter the Boulder 70.3 as a relay team. We grabbed another co-worker who was a runner and just jumped in. My friend didn’t swim at all so that left the swim leg to me, which was a bit ironic since I had no swimming background.
With my friends watching from the beach, I began my triathlon career. Standing in 8 inches of water, the gun went off and I took a flying leap into 10 inches of water. I stood back up, dazed and with a mouth full mud as my friends were doubled over on the beach laughing. I sheepishly walked to deeper water and back stroked my way through.
Watching everyone else finish that day, I was hooked. I got a coach and spent that Fall / Winter / Spring training for the Kansas 70.3. I had a great season with a few sprints, an Olympic and two 70.3s. I signed up for an Ironman that next year.
What are your favorite training workouts?
The long run and long rides are my favorite sessions of the week. My favorite ride is climbing from Boulder and riding the Peak to Peak highway. My favorite run is also up in the foothills on Sugarloaf Mountain road and the Switzerland trail. For swimming, I’m a big fan of Scott Carpenter pool in town and Union reservoir for open water.
What is a favorite workout Coach Martina has given you to date?
Running up Mt. Sanitas three times in a row. Just knowing for a week I was going to do it and then doing it was a great mental boost.
Please share some advice for athletes about paying attention to their bodies and communicating that information with their coach.
It is a privilege to have a great coach. Your coach is there to help you set and accomplish your goals. Understand the purpose of each week and each workout in that week. Some workouts will feel great and some won’t. Invest a little time for introspection. Why was it great / not so great? Is it taking you more time / less time to recover from a hard workout or hard week?
I ask my coach to help me push and expand my limits while helping me avoid injury and setback. Particularly if you are operating on the edge of your capabilities it’s really important to monitor yourself and let your coach know.
Please share three tips/strategies for racing IM Boulder.
1. Be conservative on the bike. There is a surprising amount of climbing on the course particularly in the first loop. You are going to be passing a bunch of those people racing up the climbs on the run.
2. Know and understand your nutrition and hydration plan. Particularly if you aren’t used to the altitude and climate you will need to drink more than usual.
3. Look forward to the run, particularly if it’s hot and sunny. The run course is fairly shaded and cooler because it follows the creek.
What is one of your favorite pieces of equipment in triathlon?
My favorite piece of equipment is to conquer the 4th discipline of triathlon, dirty laundry. I have to go with the washer / dryer. It saves me way more time than any other piece of equipment I have.
Congratulations, Bill. We look forward to watching you race in 2017!