Featured Athlete, December 2019 - Matthew Buongiorno
Athlete of the Month
Matt and started working with D3 Coach Dave Sheanin a little over a year ago and Dave shared that Matt has made huge gains as a triathlete during that time. He came in with a goal to go sub-5 at a 70.3 (he had been flirting with that 5 hour mark but never got himself under) and then do his first full-distance race this season.
Training went very well through the spring and he toed the line at 70.3 Texas in the spring. At about the halfway point on the run, he was on track for a 4:50 or 4:55 day when he had a major back issue that caused him to have to drop out of the race. We got that issue quickly diagnosed and resolved and he came back 5 weeks later to smash 70.3 Gulf Coast in 4:42, qualifying for the World Championships in South Africa in September. That trip was more of a reward/vacation but he turned in another sub-5 day on a blazing 1:31 run split. We then turned our eyes toward IM Florida in the fall.
Matt trained diligently and made huge gains following the plan, and then Hurricane Michael blew through as we were starting taper and Matt decided to switch to IM Cozumel rather than race the new/modified Florida course. So that gave us an extra couple of weeks and Matt made the most of it, leading to an 11:26 IM rookie debut, despite injuring his foot right at the swim start when he didn't understand the "no bucear" ("no diving") instruction that was announced in Spanish.
What you can see from this summary, and what I appreciate most about working with Matt, is his ability to adapt and adjust as needed. Training progression never happens in a straight line and the best coach/athlete relationships are able to navigate the curves. I can't wait for Matt's second IM next season where I expect he'll be sub-11 and then we can start making longer-term plans for continued improvement at the distance and maybe someday, a big race out in the middle of the Pacific some October!
Congratulations to Matthew Buongiorno!
Enjoy his Q&A below.
1) What was the motivation behind your setting a goal for a sub 5 hour 70.3?