I'd like you to meet Ralf, who I'm particularly proud of. He is my go to guy when I need to give hope to athletes that really struggle. I believe they can get much faster if they just listen and follow the Trisutto methods. I'm sure Ralf won't mind me saying that when he first approached us, he struggled in all three disciplines. His swimming was a catastrophe! However, he dedicated himself to changing all that. I'm proud to say that he now terrorises many athletes half his age in his races in Switzerland. Ralf is a testament for self discipline, consistency and to Trisutto.
My path to Triathlon I started with triathlon about four or five years ago at the age of 52. At that time I worked very close to an indoor pool in Zurich, and I was looking to join a club in order to train together with others. I was thinking, 'I can run, I can bike, I don't go under when I swim, so let's do it'. My motivation for starting triathlon was really just to find new friends and enjoy training. As a kid, I played football in a team, then later handball. I switched then to jogging on my own for a very long period. But I started to miss the 'team' feeling. I made an appointment for a test swim session with a club; that was one of the best decisions I've made. I can't believe how fast new people were accepted.
Swimming - the problem From then on I swam with the club every week. On one hand, the club swims were fun, but on the other hand they were also frustrating. I didn't make progress. Every week I received a demonstration of how the others were able to swim. However, I couldn't make improvements. My swim mates gave me a lot of tips but it was useless. About 4 months after I started, I was looking for additional swim lessons when I found a Trisutto blog about a triathlon camp in Gran Canaria. I signed up for the camp. It was such a great experience that I decided on the way home to Switzerland to join Trisutto to be coached. All the points Brett talks about in his lectures on swimming, matched 100% in my case. It was such a relief to hear from Brett, "the most important thing is to enjoy swimming, take the biggest pull buoy, and don't be afraid to go into the pool". I have improved so much with such uncomplicated advice!
Work Life Balance My other passion is writing computer software. There is nothing more fun than writing good software - in this regard, I am a 'nerd'. As a senior software developer at an important financial institute in Switzerland, I am responsible for some business critical applications. After a stressful day, doing the training sessions helps me to absorb the stress. It blows away all the negative minds. If the day was really tough, then I will go for an easy short run. On all other days, I do the training as planned. Does the workload affect the fitness level? Yes, definitely. Perhaps not physically but for sure mentally. Sometimes I am part of new software projects with tight deadlines. In such cases the focus is on the project 100%, and affects my holidays, planned training camps with Brett and my team mates, and the race events as well. I strongly believe the training helps me to be better at my job and be more relaxed, fitter and healthy overall.
My lockdown experience With the lockdowns in Switzerland, my experience in general is not that bad. I can still train the run and bike at home on my treadmill and turbo. Swimming, yes, that is affected but we compensate with swim cord training. The lockdown also has positive sides. It has forced me to do things a bit different than before. This is not always a bad thing.
The beauty of triathlon Triathlon is special. I am not aware of other sports that mix young and old, beginners and veterans, age group and world champions together. It is amazing in triathlon that these barriers do not exist. You can even start in the same races as an Olympic medal winner. Training is diverse and mixed. I am a big fan of indoor training. Even in the summer, I prefer to jump on the turbo or treadmill.
Following Ralf's journey, it is obvious triathlon has had a positive effect. Triathlon has positively affected his life in general, his health and also helped him deal with his work day. Watching Ralf now, I can vouch it's not just talk, he is in a different place than when I first had the good fortune to meet him. He is a walking billboard for the beauty of triathlon.