This month’s athlete of the month, personal trainer Luan Wall, is our endurance athlete star who just keeps going! Having done crazy challenges all around the world, and having recently returned from the Saharan Challenge, we couldn’t wait to catch up with her!
How did you get involved in sport and triathlon?
I was always sporty at school, including athletics and cross country but lost touch with most sports after leaving school. I slowly got back involved in sport in my twenties and came back to running in my late 20s, initially just for fitness and then the odd fun run. Eventually I started competing in 10km, 10 mile and half marathons and ran my first marathon in 2003. I then had a fairly focused few years running one or two marathons a year, interspersed with shorter distance stuff, pausing only briefly to have my daughter in 2009. In 2010, just 13 months after having Ellie, I ran my fastest ever London Marathon. After a period of ill-health, I decided that 2013’s London Marathon was to be my last ever marathon as it marked 10 years of running them, but having taken the pressure off myself to push for a time I enjoyed that race a little too much and decided to start to run more for pleasure!!
It made sense to me to see if I could perhaps go a little further and, somehow, I ended up signing up for 2014’s Jurassic Coast Challenge (3 trail marathons in 3 days covering the coast path from Charmouth to Studland Bay). I loved it, and the dye was cast for me to venture into the world of ultra-running. I never looked back!! As for Triathlon… I blame peer pressure! I know too many triathletes, all of whom would ask me on a regular basis when I was going to do an Ironman… my answer was always “when I have sorted my swimming out” but that never happened!!! Fast forward to early 2017 and one of my (personal training) clients told me that she wants to do an Ironman but that her only strength is the swimming… after a short period of consideration, I approached her and said that if she could help me with the swimming, I could help her with the running… and we’d have to sort the biking out between us… !
How did you get involved in Tri Energy?
I was looking a club for my daughter to get involved in and came across Tri Energy Kids and found out about Tri Energy from there…
You’ve recently done the Saharan Challenge (read more about it in Luan’s blog here), in a nutshell, how was that? Was it the toughest thing you’ve ever done?
It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. It was certainly the hottest event I have ever done but no, I think long endurance races beyond 60/70 miles are a lot tougher.
What does a typical week of your winter training look like?
Hmmm. Historically (pre-triathlon-aspirations) it would involve 4 or 5 runs of varying lengths (from 5km up to 22 miles if I was heading into an event) plus a couple of spin classes and maybe one cross-training or weights-based session. This winter, it is looking much more triathlon-focused so 3 or 4 pool sessions, 2 longer cycle rides, 2 spin classes and a couple of runs. I quite often double-up my training and generally have a full rest day every 9 or 10 days.
Who are your training partners?
Historically, I have trained pretty much alone but that has changed a bit over the last couple of seasons. The above-mentioned PT client (Lucy) has become a close friend and we train together as often as possible. My husband, Ian, joins me when childcare allows. I also have other PT clients who will often join me, particularly if they are training for the same event (I can be quite persuasive in getting my clients to join in with my madness!!!!)
The next event I’m entered for is the Winter Wychavon Way in January – 40 odd miles from Droitwich to Broadway but that isn’t my main focus….
As I said above, Lucy and I were both aspiring to become Ironmen, so we bit the bullet and signed up for Ironman Wales for 2018!!! Nothing like a bit of fear to force the issue with getting the training done!!! We have already dipped our toes into duathlon. Coach Sam is on board to help sort out my swimming, with aquathlons being the next target. March sees us take on the Mad March Hare Sportive, and then our first sprint Triathlon is in April. We have also entered the Tour of Pembrokeshire in May, The Half Lakesman in June, and Long Course Weekend in July… 2018 is shaping up into one huge challenge!!!!
What an inspiration! Thanks Luan, and good luck with the forthcoming challenges!