Will Munday; Dealing with COVID as a first year Pro - Athlete’s Corner #7
Winner of the British Middle-Distance championships in 2019, Will Munday is an up-and-coming British triathlete with his sights set on racing and performing in the professional ranks. Coached by Chris Hine (Head Coach at Pure Performance Coaching) since the end of 2017, Will learned the ropes of 70.3 racing thanks to the Castle Series in the UK in 2018 before targeting his qualification criteria for the Pro-Card at the end of 2019. Capping off his season in 2019 with a challenging race at 70.3 Worlds in Nice and a strong performance at 70.3 Weymouth, Will felt confident going into the winter that he would be ready to race as a Pro in 2020.
“My initial goal as a Pro is to be competitive, I wouldn’t have taken the licence if I didn’t think I could do this. The outcome goals from this is to start earning a living from my racing and ultimately podium in some Pro Races and qualify for the 70.3 World Champs as a Pro,” explained Will when asked why he turned pro and what his short-term goals were.
With a part time job as a Triathlon coach for TriTrainingHarder and a few hours here and there working in a restaurant to help pay the bills this year, Will’s focus is wholly on his training in order to hit the ground running when he finally gets a chance to race as a professional.
“I’d made good progress with my swimming and biking over the winter before the pools shut down in March, I felt confident that I’d be competitive in my first few races,” reflected Will as we discussed a complicated 2020 season. “I’d planned to do a few early season races to see where I stood before getting my head down for some more training to target the end of season races. I’d hoped to race 70.3 Mallorca, 70.3 Elsinore and Challenge Salou for example, but none of that happened.”
“When COVID first hit I kept training as I hoped it would only last a few weeks, but once we got to June and July my motivation started waning and I lost some consistency in my training. I started working in a restaurant in August as I prepared for Outlaw X (Editor’s Note: One of the few 70.3 pro races to take place in England this year), and when I found out the PTO were stepping in to provide some prize money the motivation came flowing back as I saw it as a great way to save my year.”
“Thankfully in the summer I was able to get back in the pool when they opened again,” he added, “and I did some open-water swimming in the Sea as well, so my swim had come along nicely before Outlaw X. In the end I struggled with my consistency because of a very busy time working at the restaurant, and I was in two minds about racing.”
“After discussing it with my coach Chris we figured it was important to do the race regardless in order to benchmark my progress against last year as an amateur.” Despite pulling up during the run with a back injury, Will proved he’d made good progress in 2020 as he was close enough to the front on the Swim and in the game on the Bike. “It reassured me that I was in my place in the pro field and gave me motivation to keep up the hard work this coming winter.”
Looking ahead to next season, Will’s got another opportunity to step up his game before racing in 2021, “This year has given me the opportunity to step up my training volume to help me reach a new level as a professional. This winter will be another chance to build some good consistent work before taking on some of the same races as I had planned this year. 2020 was tough as at times it felt like a wasted opportunity due to the cancelled races, but hopefully the hard work will pay off and next year will be a year to remember for the right reasons.”
Concluding the conversation with a thank you to his partners (Zone3 Wetsuits, Precision Hydration and On-It Sports), Will was clearly resolved to keep up his progress so as to prove himself in the professional ranks when the opportunity presents itself.