VALA ambassador: Josh Wallace
Please join us in welcoming our newest ambassador Josh Wallace. Josh has been with us since the early days and has tested our gels out on many runs and rides. He's a part of our OG VALA crew, that's for sure!
Since he started competing in triathlons, Josh has been awarded U20 National Sprint Tri silver medal, U17 National Duathlon Champion and Welsh Interregional U17 1500m Bronze medals, all before the age of 19. He's an incredibly talented young triathlete who currently trains with Bridgend Swim Club and Swansea Uni Road Cycling Team. Josh has a bright future ahead of him and this year marks his last competing as a junior. Keep reading to find out about how he became a triathlete and what he loves about his sport.
Hey Josh, can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to get into triathlon?
I got into triathlon when I was about 13/14 after a couple of years running track races and cross country. When I was in year 10 I had two PE teachers suggest triathlon to me, so I guess they inspired me to get into the sport properly! I knew what triathlon was and I’d done a few races around Swansea and Carmarthen. I didn’t have much interest in following a specific plan because I enjoyed my run training. I then found myself doing triathlon races and I wasn’t very good! I was awful at swimming and not very good at cycling but it was different and great fun, so I eventually stuck at the racing side of things and continued to focus on running races. In October 2018, I decided that I wanted to focus on triathlon training after crashing my bike in July of that year. Since then I’ve worked to improve over all three disciplines rather than just being a good runner... and I haven’t looked back.
How long have you been doing triathlon for?
I’ve been training properly to be a triathlete since October 2018. I did a lot of races prior to that and I had trained with local clubs for a couple years but nothing serious.
What’s your favourite thing about triathlon?
There’s loads of things! The self-improvement, the community, constantly meeting new people, going on new routes on the bike and expanding my comfort zone. If I had to chose one thing I love about the sport it would probably be the routine aspect. I love having a daily plan - I’m a bit of a 'stress-head' otherwise! I tend to obsess over the little aspects of my day and need them written down. I have only really appreciated the importance and benefits of a routine since COVID. Prior to this, I’d have simply said I love racing or something like that. With pools being shut, I don't really have a reason to get up early, which has definitely affected my day-to-day routine.
Where’s your favourite place to train?
I don’t really have a favourite! I like to get out the door whether that be for a run or a bike and just go with the flow - I guess anywhere is good for training with the right company. I do such different kinds of sessions that require different surfaces or machines that I don’t really care about location anymore.
What keeps you motivated on days when it seems harder than usual?
I get asked this a lot and I’ve never liked this question because I don’t know. It’s super boring but I just do it. I read a quote quite a while ago that’s stuck with me, “We’re either getting better or we’re getting worse” and if I don’t do my session I feel like I’m getting worse... so that’s kind of motivation!
Is there a specific athlete in your field that inspires you and what do you admire about them?
Definitely Marc and Helen Jenkins. They have both taught me so much and are incredibly humble and genuine people. I also look up a lot to David Goggins - the man is simply crazy.
Why do you enjoy using VALA?
Simple really - super easy to consume on those tough rides/runs where I need that extra kick. My stomach struggles with nearly every other gel I’ve tried! I also love how I can see exactly what I’m putting into my body.
What does ‘natural sports nutrition’ mean to you?
Simple and easy to eat. I believe real ingredients are super important.
What are your top three tips for someone else thinking of getting into triathlon?
1. If you’re thinking about doing something you should probably do it/try it. The first thing you should do is find a local club. Local clubs are great for meeting new people with similar goals. You can also learn a lot from each individual. There are also some incredibly inspiring people hidden in these local clubs.
2. Set a goal, like completing your first triathlon. I’d do this so you have a daily motivation because training can get tough.
3. Finally, I’d suggest you set a structure. Not necessarily a specific training plan but setting times where you know you can train each week. This personally helps me. Every Sunday I receive my plan and decide which times of day I’m going to train. As a result, I've found that I hardly procrastinate anymore.