Interview with Matt Wontz; 2.0

Rumor has it that you are a drummer in a wedding cover band, can you confirm or deny this rumor?
Sadly, I must deny this one. Music was, and still is a huge part of my life and for a long time I played drums in a variety of bands. Many of the lessons I learned and habits I picked up from studying music translate well to training, racing and coaching.

Last season was not an ideal year for you as an athlete. You had a hell of a time at the Harriman Half. Could you tell us what you learned as athlete from that race as well as a coach?
You certainly put that lightly. Harriman was hands down the worst race of my career and I'm ok with admitting that. Everyone is quick to boast about their great races but rarely share their poor results. I truly believe you learn more from the bad races than the good ones. As an athlete I saw the importance of not being overly confident, being able to adapt your race plan and keeping your head on straight when your body is revolting against you. I also learned what it is to truly suffer.

As a coach I was reminded of the importance of being that unbiased point of view for an athlete. I'm self coached so many times if my training isn't consistent, I tell myself things like "you've done this before and have succeeded 99% of the time, you'll be fine." A coach is there to shoot it straight and honestly assess your readiness for the task at hand. I was also reminded of the importance of seeing the course prior to race day and training on it if possible.

This season has started off as it usually does for you down in Florida at the Disney Marathon. You had been quietly logging miles and putting in the time. What was your goal for this race, what was the ultimate result and once again what did you learn as an athlete and coach?

I tried to be sneaky this year!! I typically don't like to talk much about my training or race goals because, honestly I dot think anyone cares what I'm doing!! A running goal of mine has always been a sub 3hr marathon and that was the ultimate goal for Disney 2013. At the end of the day I didn't hit the mark but I'm ok with that. I worked as smart and as hard as I could that day and it just didn't happen.

I feel like I learned similar lessons as a coach and athlete here, but mostly the race experience reinforced what I already knew and gave me firsthand experience to draw from when developing training plans. One thing is for sure, nothing replaces outdoor running. I really believe athletes that run solely on treadmills lack the ability to deal with the orthopedic stress that comes with a marathon, you really need to build that strength and resilience.

Despite the lack of results last year you still set the bar high by shooting for a sub 3 marathon. I don't know how many people are looking to break 3 hrs in January so would it be safe to say that there is a fire brewing inside you?

This is kind of a loaded question!! Last year's result (I won't say failure, because it wasn't) at Harriman was really a blessing in disguise. The physical and mental stress I experienced for that race forced me to take time off for training. The break was longer than expected but very much needed. When I went back through my training logs it became clear that my body needed a break, I hadn't taken a real off season since leading into the 2010 season. My extended break last year help me recover physically and mentally as we'll as spend more time with family and friends. I'm certainly rejuvenated and feel like I'm able to strike a better balance in my life now.

You have recently created your own triathlon coaching service, Organic Endurance. Can explain what makes Organic Endurance, unique and standout from other coaching services?
This is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I've had great coaching mentors my whole life, from youth league soccer through high school track and cross country and into triathlon. My desire was to take the best of what I have experienced, put my own spin on it and help athletes have great experiences in endurance sports. I want to coach the athlete as a whole, guide them and help them through training, racing, traveling, balancing life, etc. We're really hands on at Organic Endurance, I love getting out and training with our athletes even if it means sacrificing my own training session. We realize that most of our athletes are weekend warriors and take the approach of treating them as people first, athletes second while still giving them a professional experience. Coach/athlete is a relationship unlike any other and it has to be treated with care and respect.

What can we expect from OE in 2013?

Good question!! We're the new kid on the block, the baby of the local endurance sports community so the sky's the limit! We'll be doing a lot of group training, some relatively local training camps and just trying to be a positive force in the community. A huge goal is to really make our personality known and clear, we don't want to get lumped together with everyone else out there or have folks assume we're operating in certain ways because of past associations. 2013 is showing potential to be launching pad for OE.
Will there be any chance to spot the beast of a triathlete known as Matt Wontz in 2013?

Hahaha, there's always a chance!!!

Word Association
Sebastian Kienle - keep swimming, big things ahead
Base training - essentiall
Crossfit - intriguing
Lance Armstrong -disappointed but not surprised, thankful for LiveStrong
Matt Steinmetz - has my dream job


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