Sauce Salutes The Women Who TRI
Founded by Alanna Sherstad (USA Triathlon coach), the Women Who TRI strives to educate, encourage, and empower women to achieve their personal fitness goals through an organized group triathlon-training program. Alanna partnered with Matthew Parks (USA Triathlon coach and Owner of Moving Forward; specializing in performance coaching and massage therapy ) to motivate women of all ability levels to learn, grow, and push themselves to achieve their goals & support one another in the process.
We reached out to Matthew to learn a little more about his personal experience with the program and to see if he had any advice to share with our TASTE readers. Here’s a photo of Matthew braving the cold water at the Moonlight Basin Xterra (off-road triathlon).
Matthew, what brought you to the sport of triathlon?
My father did numerous endurance races in the 80’s and 90’s including the Chicago Triathlon back in 1987. I watched him train for that race and others; it was quite a challenge for him. Although I did not complete my first triathlon until 1994, my dad was the inspiration for me.
What is your favorite part of coaching triathletes?
My favorite part of coaching triathletes is seeing the smiles on their faces once done with the race. Triathletes should have fun on race day!
If you could share some words of wisdom for other women who may want to get involved in the sport, what would they be?
As a coach, I would remind any potential female triathlete to get assistance from properly trained, certified professionals. Seek out the educated and experienced. Make sure you start off with improving your technique with all 3 disciplines. Training with the same style as your best friend’s may not work for you.
You have many years of experience racing in triathlons yourself. Is there anything that you have learned from your experience as an athlete that you would like to share?
As an athlete, there is always an optimal training plan one could follow for success. However, aside from all the sets, reps, intervals, technique improvement sessions, and time put into the training, the most important item for me (and also what I preach to clients) is the self-efficacy one should have. Know that you can do it. Know that you are strong enough. Know that you are up for the challenge. This does not happen over night, and also may ebb and flow, but it should be in the forefront of ones mind. Believe in yourself!
We were also able to catch up with Amy, a member of the WWT group
Amy, what has WWT meant to you?
WWT is not only about the training, it is about the connections, friendships, and encouragement you get from all of the others. It is a time for us to truly focus on ourselves as women and give some time to ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally so that we can be better people and give back more to others. It is a reality check of reminding yourself to focus on your improvements and not compare yourself to others… we, as women, do that too much as it is.
What kind of personal growth have you experienced from your participation in the program?
I have definitely made improvements in all of the disciplines. I changed to a road bike with clipless pedals and have a tri kit rather than a tri suit that everyone (even the planes landing at Gallatin Field) could see for miles. Mentally, though, I think that is where the stubborness and growth has come. There were many times that I wanted to give up and turn around early, but just pushed myself. There were many times where I pushed myself beyond what I thought I could do and my body responded. Now, I know that I can make that distance and try for even further before I take breaks (i.e. on the run portion) to do intervals of walking/running.
What kind of obstacles have you overcome?
Well, I think trying to fit training in with working full time, self doubt, proving other people wrong that are nay-sayers, the typical obstacles. I think that is the best thing about the tri community – everyone is super supportive regardless of the level, you can cross train and minimize the amount of injuries, and professionals compete right along side the amateurs. It is a great group to be with!
Do you have any advice for others?
Enjoy the process. The day of the event will come and if you don’t enjoy the process and look around to see the amazing thing you have accomplished, you will have missed a very important part.
Well said! Thanks to Amy and Matthew for their contributions to our Sauce Salutes.
If you would like more information on the WWT or performance coaching you can email Matthew.
Sauce Salutes is a monthly post that pays homage to an individual or group for their accomplishments in sport, in life – or both! At Sauce Headwear we know first-hand the incredible benefits of involvement in sport & a healthy, active lifestyle. Headwear may be a small thing in the big picture, but we believe that anything that ‘enhances the flavor’ of an outdoor experience will help to encourage life-long participation in activities that promote self-respect and healthy living. In sharing the stories of the Saucy people we find along our journey, we hope to spread a little inspiration & motivation – here’s a taste!