Workout Wednesday with Robert Johnson
Canada’s Robert Johnson is proof that you don’t need to have a swimming, biking or running background to be a successful triathlete. In fact, you can even be a hockey player and go on to win a bronze medal at the 2015 Age Group World Championships.
Name: Robert Johnson
Age Group: Male 30-34
Profession: Software Engineer
How you got involved in triathlon?
I was always interested in the sport and used to watch the Ironman specials on TV when I was a kid. I don’t have a swim, bike, or run background (I was an ice hockey player growing up and still play) and I didn’t really even know how to swim so didn’t think I could be a triathlete. A few years back some of the guys at my work decided to do a Try-a-tri as a group for fun. I was looking for something different rather than the weight training I had been doing and decided to finally give it a go. It took me 21min to swim 400m and I came out of the water dead last but I had a lot of fun and was hooked from there.
How often you train?
I train everyday that I am not sick or injured, but my day is structured with easier days and harder days so I’m not pushing myself everyday.
Best training advice?
Have fun with it and enjoy the process. Unless you are racing as a professional and supporting yourself doing the sport, this is a hobby for most of us. We do this because we love it and I think it’s important to remember that. At the same time, don’t be afraid to set big goals for yourself and don’t be afraid to go after those goals. If you’re willing to put in that work you will surprise yourself with what you can do. When I started this if you had have told me I would manage to win a World Championship one day I probably would have called you crazy. But I set goals along the way and slowly over time it became a reality
What motivates you to race?
I just honestly really love to race. But more importantly I think like a lot people that do this sport I am motivated by the process of setting goals and putting in the work to try to achieve them. I’m really lucky to have a great group of people around me to train and race with - the Pacific Tri Works group in Vancouver and Team Every Man Jack - and my girlfriend is a triathlete and Kona qualifier. Training and racing are my social time and when I’m doing those things I truly feel like I’m just hanging out with my friends.
Favourite swim workout:
I’m not sure I have one! Our group swims are usually very hard and we rarely do the same one twice.
1000m warmup choice. Mixing in freestyle, kick and pull
6 X 50 build on 50
7 X 200 descending from easy to fast on 4min
300 Easy cooldown
I haven’t done this one in a long time but it’s a good benchmark set that my previous coach had us do.
Favourite bike workout:
Just before worlds I was doing long race pace sets on a hilly route in Vancouver that I frequent. After I nailed this one I knew I was quite fit.
Easy for ~50 minutes.
MS: 4x8 min threshold / 2 min hard / 2 min easy
5 min easy.
15x30s fast / 30s easy.
CD: Easy ride home to complete 3 hours total time
Favourite run workout:
20min easy warmup
8 X 100m strides
8 X 4.5 min tempo, 30 seconds easy
20min easy cooldown