Triathlete Alisha Richardson on the IRONMAN 70.3
A few weeks ago, Wilmington saw athletes from all over the country come together for the IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina and one of them was ALISHA RICHARDSON, director of operations and owner of RE/MAX Essential in Wilmington and an avid athlete.
The IRONMAN 70.3 is a triathlon made up of a 1.2-mile swim at Wrightsville Beach, a 56-mile bike course through historic Wilmington and rural country roads, and a 13.1-mile run through downtown Wilmington.
Richardson’s triathlon journey began in 2009 when she was nudged by a few friends seeking a challenge.
“We knew nothing about triathlons, resorting us to Google ‘what is a triathlon? as our first step. Together we did our research, checked into resources, gathered the basics to get us through our first race, and started the training,” Richardson says. “Our excitement for the new challenge spread like wildfire in our office resulting in a group of 15 other co-workers willing to take on the triathlon challenge with us.”
WILMA caught up with Richardson to learn about her training and get tips on time management and tools for motivation.
WILMA: What was your training for the IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina like?
Richardson: “Training is a large commitment and requires the help of friends and family for those with children. You start with a base and gradually build on your distance. During your training, you learn so much about the sport but also yourself. What works best for you may not work for your fellow triathletes. Identifying what fuels your body and motivation is key, we are all different. For me, training required early mornings, late afternoons, and the weekend as I balanced work and home life. I train five days a week incorporating in all legs of the triathlon. In the early stages, a typical workout would be a minimum of one hour which would soon grow to three-hour workouts.”
WILMA: Balancing work, family, and training can be difficult for many, how do you find time to train for such endurance-based events? Richardson: “First you make the commitment to yourself. It’s important to share your commitment with your family, friends, and co-workers, they will be your biggest motivation. Understand that saying no to parties, events, and gatherings is an acceptable answer. Your time is always precious, but you will be challenged on what is important in your life leading up to your event (I always reminded myself that my alarm will go off at 5 a.m. so I can hit the road biking at sunrise to avoid heat, traffic on the roads, and still be home for a later breakfast with my family).”
WILMA: Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to start training for a triathlon?
Richardson: “Let’s talk! Volunteer at a triathlon! You will be so inspired as you watch firsthand what happens during a race. Join the local triathlon Facebook groups to get motivation and guidance. Seek a local race first. What’s better than crossing a finish line in your hometown lined up with familiar faces to cheer you on. When racing local, the course is at your fingertips which can help tremendously with training. You won’t know until you just try.”
WILMA: What was the experience like finishing the IRONMAN?
Richardson: “Crossing the finish line for me is always emotional and rewarding! Endurance racing is more than physical fitness, its mental strength. If I can push my body and mind to do this . . . imagine all of the other great things I can challenge myself with.”
WILMA: Do you have any apps, favorite music, training clothes, podcasts, books, or anything else that you like using or use to get motivated?
Richardson: “Training Peaks offers so much (purchase training plans, find a coach, read articles, etc.) I love music during training. Training can be long so why not make it fun with music. Anything with a fast beat and tempo keeps me going. Comfortable training clothing is important. I prefer dry-fit clothing but love to splurge on a good tri kit for race day (I recently raced in Betty Designs gear). A tracking method is essential. I prefer a Garmin watch which syncs with many apps for tracking.”
WILMA: Anything else you would like to mention?
Richardson: “Pain is temporary. Finishing is forever.”
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