Interview with Matt Wontz (part 1)

Matt Wontz is a USAT Certified coach, a stud age-group triathlete and fortunately for me,  my coach.  His interview offers a unique perspective on triathlon.  He talked about everything from his earlier years in the sport to the triathlon culture of Long Island.  You might want to read this two part series a few times to make sure you don't miss out on anything, I know I have read it several times already. 

How many years have you been involved in the multi-sport world?

"Well I have played multiple sports for many years. Specifically multi sport, let’s see, 5 years.  Five years of multi sport participation, definitely not racing because that’s not the case."

With that many years in the sport I’m sure you have rifled through a ton of gear.  What is your running shoe of choice?  What is your bike of choice? What is your wetsuit of choice?

"We’ll go in order of operations for the day. My wetsuit of choice is currently the Blueseventy Helix wetsuit. Fantastic piece of equipment, it really fits like a second skin.  One of my favorite things about it, is oddly enough, its cuffed sleeves.  I call it the driest wetsuit I have ever worn because I don’t feel like a ton of water gets in. Super comfortable and knock on wood, I have swam really well in it."

"Current bike of choice is the Kestrel Airfoil Pro. Love that bike, it fits better than any bike I have raced on. I started my career on a Specialized Allez Elite which I still ride religiously as my rode bike, my training bike. I rode a Cervelo P2 for some time and was fortunate enough to come into the Airfoil and set it up myself. It rides super comfortable, a lot of power, it handles really well, ascends well, climbs well, I just love the bike."

"Running shoes, I run in Newtons, Motus Trainers. I will move into the distance racer to race in this season because I finally think I  honed my technique in the Newtons  to warrant a race shoe. I love them, they can do a lot for your mechanics and speed your recovery when run in appropriately. "

Everyone has their guilty pleasure when it comes to gear. For some of us its shoes, others sunglasses.  What is your guilty pleasure?

"I think just triathlon gear in general if that is a fair answer. I just love the stuff. I have gotten better about it, I definitely have begun to practice what I preach, “the gear doesn’t make the athlete nor does it determine the results.” I do own a lot of winter riding gloves and I only wear one pair. I have about seven pairs so, I guess gloves?"

Why did you start coaching? How long have you been coaching athletes?

"I’ve been coaching athletes for technically 3 seasons. I started off freelancing, people would ask me to take a look at their plan for the season, or "can you plan out these two months of my season for me?"  Coaching with D1 Multisport , this will be my second full year. I got into coaching because I love the sport and for the sport to grow how I want it to, it needs good leadership and I want to be able to provide people with things that I was missing when I started. I started the sport blind, trolling the Internet for tips and training plans. The Internet has endless information some good, most of it bad. I wanted to be that positive force in the sport and guiding light, a beacon of knowledge for people."

If there is one thing every triathlete should know what would it be?

"One thing every triathlete should know is that every experience, for better of worse, is valuable and know that even the days you consider failures are not failures. You succeeded some way, you got up and did a work out even though you didn’t hit it like you wanted to. That’s the beauty of the sport and why I love it, you constantly grow and keep learning about yourself and the sport. There is value and a lesson in everything you do as a triathlete."

You mentioned in your blog that it’s difficult to self-coach, could you elaborate on that?

"I was self coached for a long time and fortunate enough to be fairly successful. I think only because I was so new and had so far to grow it was easy to make the gains. It’s hard to self coach because you don’t have the outside perspective. It easy to say I’m tired and drag myself out of bed and get in another hard session when you really should have slept in. I think the accountability of having a coach means a lot. You know someone is checking up on you so you want to have the training log filled out completely.  You want to make your coach proud of what you are doing. There are so many questions to be answered and fears to be calmed that  it can really start to eat and beat you up when you self coach. And depending on the person, and I’m guilty of it, I just want to train all the time. If I could, I would be training right now, why cant I ride the trainer while I answer these questions?  And that’s one of the hardest parts, you can plan out the greatest training plan but maybe don't build in the recovery like you should which could lead to burn out. It’s a tricky thing to coach yourself and put aside the fears you have as an athlete, and do the appropriate work to reach the goals and hit the marks you want to hit." 

How can an aspiring athletes and those looking to take it to the next level get in touch with or inquire about your services?

"Anyway possible, cell phone, email, , the D1mulitsport website, and hopefully the folks I’m coaching are having a good experience and spread the good word. I’m around a lot of races and plan to make myself more accessible as the year continues.  I’m always a phone call, text message or email away. Advice is always free, that’s what I always say."


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