Our Athlete of the Month’s performance at Augusta 70.3 yielded nearly an hour and a half improvement over his 70.3 Kansas race. That’s impressive! Matt Howard is one of those athletes who is a living proof that anything is possible if you have desire, discipline, and determination. A husband, father to 6 daughters, a grandfather, a manager and an athlete. Wow! This year he had a set back at the last race of his season, but with smart choices, and trust in his coach, he cruised through a solid 70.3 race.

Life is a teeter totter and to keep the beam balanced a constant adjustment of what, where and when is taken off of one side if the items are added to the other side. Matt knows how to do this perfectly. 
1. What interests you in the 70.3 distance races?
I have been running since 2005. Last year my daughter wanted to do a sprint tri, I figured if I was going to spend the money on a bike I was going to do an Ironman 70.3!
2. Why did you pick Augusta?
My first 70.3 were Augusta 2013. I picked this race because my college roommate lives in Georgia, and thought it would be a good excuse for us to get together.
3. You dropped nearly an hour and a half off your previous 70.3 time, what were some of the key changes in your training?
I started working with Coach Martina from D3 the week of Kansas 70.3 in June. I finished Kansas in 6:36. I told Martina that I felt I could go sub 5:00 in Augusta. (And she didn’t laugh). I had done Florida in April in 6:29. Martina adjusted my workouts weekly and I spoke with Mike about my fuel plan. I put all my faith into her plan for me and followed her directions.
4. Describe what was happening with your shoulder injury, how you thought it might impact your race, and what you were planning to do to compensate for it.
Two weeks before Augusta I pulled my hamstring and went down very hard on my shoulder at the track. I spoke to Martina and we decided to take it day by day. I was on my way to Orlando to see my new granddaughter and spend my last week of training there. We emailed every day and adjusted my workouts accordingly. My shoulder was still swollen and very painful. On Wednesday before the race, I was ready to pull out and shoot for Texas the next month. Martina suggested that I get a cortisone shot and see if it would allow me to race. I got the shot on Thursday and left for Augusta on Friday. Saturday I was able to swim without pain. Race Time…
5. You are a husband, father, employee and athlete … what is your strategy for being successful in all those areas of your life? What is a favorite way your family supports you during your training and racing?
I am a husband and a father first. I could never have the time to train if my wife was not 100% behind me every day. She never questions my training time and is always willing to cook crazy meals for me at strange hours of the day. And never complains about the pile of smelly clothes in our bathroom, or how much I spend on bikes.
We have six daughters and one brand new granddaughter. All of my daughters think that I am crazy, but are always there to support me. One of my favorite times is when I’m doing fast drills in the pool. They will put on flippers and swim in the lane next to me, and I chase them. Two of my daughters are runners and I work running with them into my workouts.
I am the general manager of our Red Lobster, I have worked there for 25 years and love every day that I am there. As most of us know being an athlete comes after all of these other responsibilities are covered.
6. Do you have a favorite training recovery meal that everyone in your family enjoys?
My favorite meal after training or racing is spaghetti, my second favorite meal is left over spaghetti.
7. If you could ride, run or swim with anyone …, which sport, and whom would you choose?
If I could run with anyone it would be Billy Mills. I think he is often overlooked in American running history. He grew up in South Dakota and still spends a lot of time here. He is very dedicated to helping native youth. I would love to run a 10 k with him (look at Mills, look at Mills).
8. If you could write a workout for Coach Martina … what would you have her do?
I would like to write Martina’s next brick. It would be a run-bike-run-bike-run.
9. Share a nugget of advice for someone entertaining the 70.3 distance.
If any one were thinking about doing a 70.3, my advice would be to work hard and have a plan, then on race day kick back and enjoy every minute.

Coaching like Matt has is ...