VALA ambassador: Simon Malley
Hi Simon, can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to get into triathlon?
I love a challenge - the harder the better! I used to compete in martial arts and due to an injury I decided to give it up. After sulking for a while I set myself a challenge and decided upon doing three sprint triathlons during the summer of 2016 to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. I enjoyed triathlon so much I decided to try it competitively the following year and haven't looked back since.
How long have you been doing triathlon for?
What’s your favourite thing about it?
Community. I've met some awesome and inspiring people during my time in triathlon, made great friends and am always around people that push and motivate me to better myself.
What events do you have coming up?
My finishing time at Ironman Wales 2019 has earned me a qualifying place in the team GB age group team at the European Long Distance Championship which is being held at Challenge Roth, Germany in July 2021. Due to the popularity of the event, British Triathlon are only offering one qualifying spot per gender and age group. I was the lucky person chosen to represent the category male 40-44.
Where’s your favourite place to train?
It has to be the Gower. It has everything you need and some of the best beaches for swimming in the UK. Hills for days on the bike, road and mountain bikes, as well as some of my favourite trail running routes. I recently ran a 50km ultra marathon around the Gower Coastal Path and the scenery was epic.
What keeps you motivated on days when it seems harder than usual?
The desire to become better. When you train seven days a week there's bound to be days where your training is harder or you lack motivation. These are the days that help you mould the athlete you are striving to become!
Is there a specific athlete in your field that inspires you and what do you admire about them?
Alister Brownlee. He was my introduction to triathlon due to his London Olympics gold medal win. He has put triathlon on the map and made it one of the fastest growing sports in the world. He's inspired me and many others, both kids and adults, to give triathlon a go.
Why do you enjoy using VALA?
It's delicious, easy to consume on the go and gives me the boost I need during a hard session.
What does ‘natural sports nutrition’ mean to you?
For the last five years of training and racing I have used many different sports nutrition products. Although they do what they are supposed to they are not exactly 'natural' and are full of sugars and additives. When you consume as many sports nutrition products as me and many of the people I train with do, what you put in your body should be something you think about as much as the session/race you are doing. To be able to get the 25g of carbs I need from a convenient gel without having to consume anything un-natural is a game changer.
What are your top three tips for someone else thinking of getting into your sport?
1. Join a club or find some like minded people to train with - it makes it much more fun, gives you accountability so you don't skip a training session and offers friendly camaraderie and motivation.
2. Invest in your kit wisely - it can be an expensive sport if you are constantly upgrading. Do your research and read reviews before parting with your money!
3. Have fun - unless you are an elite or pro athlete, triathlon is just a hobby. I sometimes forget this and have to remind myself to not take it so seriously!