John-Paul Ashton is a rising Ironman-level triathlete from the UK who’s taking his game to the next level in a few different ways. He’s busy with not only triathlon training but he’s also started a triathlon-related business that features innovative products designed to help athletes improve their transition and race time. That’s all while holding down a day job.
TFM: Thanks for joining us for the interview John-Paul. So how did you first get into triathlons?
JPA: I began 7 seasons ago when my brother and I challenged each other to try to complete Woodhall Spa Triathlon – which is my parents home town. This happened in the pub. Then years later in the same pub we signed up to Ironman together which was scariest thing I’ve ever done. Once I completed it I felt I could do anything.
TFM: Good things can happen in the pub. What do you count as your biggest accomplishment so far?
JPA: Completing Ironman Austria in under 13 hours without dying which was a real worry on the start line. Other great accomplishment is coming down from 105kg (231 lbs) to close to 80kg (176 lbs) now – and having so much more energy because of it.
TFM: Wow, congrats on the Ironman time, not dying, and the dramatic weight loss. Can you share how you lost all that weight?
JPA: Losing weight was a marriage between wanting to get better at triathlon and just being healthier. So it was a conscious decision to work harder at a better diet so that I could trainer harder and longer. And this has worked out – I got very close to breaking a 40 min 10km last year, and I hope to break through that goal by a few minutes by the end of the year.
TFM: Currently, what do you feel is one of your strengths while racing?
JPA: The part where I gain time advantage – transitions. As a project manager and small business owner I have to be mega organised to fit everything in. This led me to get frustrated with what’s out there to transport your kit and inventing Triathlonbox.
TFM: What exactly is the Triathlonbox?
Triathlonbox is a new triathlon transition box intended to help reduce stress on the day of your triathlon. The design is focused around compartmentalization, everything you need is where you need it, exactly when you need it. From leaving your home, through to entry into the water and post-race recovery. I basically designed Triathlonbox to solve the frustration of box juggling on race day and losing focus on getting in to the water ready to race. In short, it helps you be your best on race day. (Check out the Triathlonbox here).
TFM: What is your biggest goal right now in racing?
JPA: I really want to be a Great Britain Age Grouper. It’s expensive, and that’s one reason I’m launching Triathlonbox to help pay for training.
TFM: What do you feel sets you apart among triathletes?
JPA: The fact that I would give up winning a race to help a fellow triathlete in trouble. Not that I have any chance of winning a race at the moment!
TFM: Well you have to start somewhere. Any triathletes that really inspire you?
JPA: There are so many amazing triathletes that I wouldn’t be able to say a name. I think that from Olympic triathlete to Ironmen (& women) I see them and think that they are inspiring youngsters to keep fit and be well rounded young people. Which is amazing, anyone that can help youngsters into this amazing sport and keep them fit inspires me.
TFM: What’s the plan for this year’s triathlons?
JPA: This year is about getting out to new events and building on my race weaknesses to become stronger for the 2016 season. I then hope to be able to try to qualify for team GB in 2017.
TFM: Are you modifying your training in any way these days?
JPA: I’m going to start using https://trainxhale.com/ this year to give me some structure to my training, hopefully meaning I’ll be a stronger triathlete. If I can afford it I’ll then try to get a coach at the end of 2015 to give me a structured winter training plan possibly our local triathlon coach (http://thetriathloncoach.com/coaches/simon-ward/).
TFM: Sounds good. Wrapping up, what is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
JPA: Enjoy it – if you don’t enjoy the training, the pain, the achievements, the new friends you will make then triathlon is not for you.
To learn more about John-Paul, and place a preorder for the Triathlonbox (if you’re in the UK), go to http://www.triathlonbox.co.uk/triathlonbox-pre-order.