Racing news | Paul Lunn - A multiple sub 9 Ironman athlete balancing training with a full time career and family life | Racecheck

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Paul Lunn - A multiple sub 9 Ironman athlete balancing training with a full time career and family life

21 October 2016
Inspirational Stories

What brought you to triathlon? Do you think that a sporting background as a child is important in order to be competitive in age group racing?

In the summer of 2008 my brother and a couple of friends were planning a short cycling trip in the French Alps, flying to Geneva and riding up to Chatel, a small skiing village where we had spent many years on snowboarding trips. I loved the idea of doing something different and invited myself along. I went and bought a bike on the Wednesday and we flew out on the Friday. During the weekend one of the guys mentioned he was doing a triathlon the following weekend and after asking what a triathlon actually was the seed was planted as this seemed a pretty cool sport. So once home we booked onto the Blenheim Sprint Tri for 2009 and I began to learn to swim and run.

After never swimming or running as a child I soon picked up running without too much of a problem but swimming on the other hand has been a very slow progression and still by far my weakest discipline which I continue to work hard at to try and improve.


Where do you live now and what benefits and/or limitations does your area have for training?

I live in Peterborough which has good access to cycling routes, either head East for flat and windy terrain or West for rolling Rutland countryside. Running here is completely flat which is not ideal so hill reps are few and far between. I’m a member of PACTRAC Triathlon Club who organise some great swimming sessions locally which I try and join in with once or twice a week.


How many hours do you train per week? Do you also work fulltime/parent/student? How do you manage to balance everything together?

I think I have averaged 14hrs a week over the last 3 years, so not particularly high volume but very consistent, week in and week out. A rest week would be 11-12hrs a big week 16-17hrs.

I have an office based job working regular hours, 9 – 5:30 which helps keep training on a regular format, I also have the luxury of a short commute of only 8 miles so can often incorporate training with commuting which can be highly time efficient. I generally do 2 sessions a day, Monday to Friday, then a long bike early Saturday (3-4hrs) & a long run early Sunday morning which frees up most the weekend for family time.    


Do you feel that triathlon eats into your social life? How do you feel about that?

Triathlon is a big part of my life but with lots of my friends also into the sport it becomes part of your social life. I do still make time to enjoy a few beers from time to time. Balance is paramount and making time for other things outside of triathlon important.    


Was there ever a time when you were close to quitting? What keeps you going through the tough times? (injuries/bad performances etc)

As I came to triathlon from a non-sporting background I have been able to slowly show improvements year on year and by setting myself challenging but achievable gains to chase that has kept me focused.

Last year was tough as I developed a stress edema in my right femur at the end of April. I hobbled through Mallorca & Barcelona 70.3’s before getting it diagnosed and this put me out for the whole summer. That was hard but maybe just made me more focused and determined to have a good year this year.      


Do you have a visualization/race specific meditation routine? Would you mind sharing it with us if you do?

I do meticulously research racings in the months before; I like to know the course, the event setup, the competition, etc. so come race weekend I can pretty much relax and enjoy the whole experience, especially at the larger races. So no specific meditation routine, just chilled out and ready to go.    


How do you spend your off-season? Are there sports that you enjoy doing that you feel compliment triathlon

Off season is normally spent catching up on all the DIY jobs I have put off during the year. I do like to compete in cross country running races over the winter and focus on either a spring marathon or half marathon to keep me motivated.


What is your favourite race and why?

This has to be Challenge Roth, just the whole magnitude of this event is awesome, the course is amazing, the support is out of this world and the finish is just mind blowing. This race has to be on everyone’s bucket list.


Share with us any unexpected/funny events that happened during racing or training?

Probably raking my bike in transition with my shoes clipped into the wrong pedals, pretty funny trying to look slick heading out of T1 with your shoes on the wrong feet. 


What are your next goals?

I move up an age group next year so looking forward to be the youngest again, so I will be focused on my first trip to Kona for the Ironman World Championships, and a new fruit bowl would be very nice.  


Major race achievements in the past:

5 x Ironman 70.3 podiums

2016 Virgin Money London Marathon - 2:35:20                     

2016 Challenge Roth - 8:50:53

2016 Middle Distance National Age Group Champion

2016 Ironman Barcelona - 8:57:11 - 2nd Age Group                                      

2014 Ironman 70.3 World Champs – Mont Tremblant  9th Age Group

2013 ITU World LD Champs – Belfort, France - 4th Age Group

2012 ITU World LD Champs – Vitoria, Spain   - 3rd Age Group

2012 ITU World Duathlon Champs – Nancy, France - 5th Age Group

You can follow Paul here:

Twitter: @paullunn

Instagram: paullunn



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