Getting to Know Helen Jenkins

by Peter Holmes on 10 Sep, 2009 11:30

Tell us a little about yourself, Helen. How did you first get into triathlon?
I started off as a swimmer. By the age of 16, I realized I wasn’t improving anymore. I was training with the daughter of the Welsh Triathlon coach and I heard that he was looking for athletes to enter an event in Ireland so I thought I’d put myself forward.

What are some of your career highlights?
It has to be winning the World Championships in Vancouver last June - it really was quite a shock as it was a last minute decision to enter and the conditions weren’t great.
Around that time had to be one of the highlights of my career so far as a couple of weeks before that, I’d qualified for the Beijing Olympics.

What’s your ultimate goal?
My ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. I have a training plan in place for this now so it’s my main aim.

Why did you choose to train with a Suunto heart rate monitor?
My Suunto heart rate monitor is such an asset to my training schedule. I use it every session and, after each session, we download the data from my workout to PC and forward it onto the sports scientists we are currently working with so they can analyse my key workouts.

What do you think makes a good triathlete?
I think it’s all about being balanced in all three disciplines - you often have an advantage if you come from a swimming or running background, for example, but you have to put in extra work in the other areas to get them up to a similar level which can be challenging.
Finally, I’d say that you have to have dedication. There’s a lot of training involved.

What are the best things about being a triathlete?
I love the fact that I don’t have to go to the office every day! I’ve also been privileged enough to travel the world - I’ve been to places I never thought I’d dream of going.

And the downside?
It has to be the early morning starts! It can be pretty tough getting up at 5am in the middle of the winter when your next race may not be for another five months. That’s when you have to remain really self-motivated.

Who do you admire?
There’s no-one in particular. Whatever the level, there are a lot of determined and talented people out there that don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

What do you get up to in your downtime?
I don’t get a huge amount of spare time. But, when I do, I love walking my dog - I tend to go to the local beach and throw a ball there, it’s very relaxing.

Finally, what would you be doing if you weren’t a triathlete?
I really wanted to be a nurse before. Or even a dog trainer. Yeah, that would have been pretty cool.

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