Beyond 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tynTpxfa5L8

As the 2013 season winds down, I have begun to set my sights on 2014 and am looking at what it takes to be successful in taking the next step in my triathlon career. After winning a national title in Milwaukee in August, I took a step back and looked at how far I have come in such a short time and where I was headed in my triathlon, while considering what would benefit me most as I moved forward. It became apparent to me that I needed some direction in my training and racing, as well as looking at where my triathlon journey was headed into the future. Upon reaching out to some friends and some pros who were willing to offer their advice, I decided that if I was going to settle in and have any chance of success at reaching the goals I have set for myself, it would be necessary to hire a coach to help me get there.

After asking around on slowtwitch and doing a bit of research, I was pointed in the direction of Brian Stover at accelerate3 coaching. Speaking to pros and coaches who had confidence I could succeed in the elite level of the sport gave me added motivation, which was something that I was looking for in a coach, as I believe this is an important tool to be successful as a team. I would like to believe that after having been on the other side of the ball during times in my tennis career I have learned from that, having witnessed first hand how important it is to have a coach that believes in what you are trying to achieve. After speaking with Brian and talking to some of his athletes I decided this would be a great direction for me to head in, and not only did our training philosophies line up, but this is also someone that I can expect to have a no nonsense, honest approach while believing in what I am trying to achieve and having the resources and knowledge to help get me there. Brian and I have been working together for nearly 8 weeks and I have seen some huge fitness gains, particularly on the bike. Obviously with zero knowledge or background in training on the bike, this was something that was important when looking for a coach and it was important for me to find a coach that would take the time to go through my power files and help me in getting my bike leg up to scratch with top level athletes that were much stronger than me on the bike. I am excited to be part of the accelerate3 team and I feel that I have put together an important piece in building a team to be successful in 2014 with Brian.

The second part of having a successful team comes in the form of sponsors. I have had some exposure to sponsors in the past, during my tennis career and was lucky enough to get some help from a few companies as I made my way up the ranks of tennis. For this reason, I feel I have some knowledge in understanding what it is a brand is looking for when sponsoring athletes and how both parties can benefit from this agreement. In this way I am not an athlete that wants to have sponsors just to say that I am sponsored and have another brand name on my jacket or podium shirt without doing much of anything for the company. I feel this is a very negative way to look at sponsorship and doesn't help either of the parties involved. Rather, to me sponsorship is a mutually beneficial relationship and something that should build and develop throughout the athletes career. I believe that in being sponsored by a brand you believe in, and having a brand sponsor you that believes in your ability to be both a successful athlete and a successful resource to market their logo, there is a much greater change of success and longevity in the partnership.

When looking at how I can be beneficial to potential sponsors, I feel this blog and other social media can be an extremely successful tool. After winning the national sprint title in August last year, my blog entries received 1500 views in just over two days. This was exciting to me as it showed me that people care to stop and look at what I have been doing in the sport of triathlon and also care to hear what I have say about my journey. Along with the social media and exposure through races and training that sponsorship brings to a company, I also feel there can be benefits in testing gear, equipment and nutrition while reviewing products for the company and making suggestions on the success of the product to athletes. I am always looking to use products that not only help ensure success in the sport, but also come from a company with good customer service and a strong relationship with their customers and athletes. Going hand in hand with this relationship is the presence of companies at race expos. This is a great opportunity for companies to get their brand out in the endurance world and I would be excited to have to opportunity to help out at expos in the future.

As I move forward in 2014, and look to continue to build my team to help me achieve my goals that I have set, it is apparent that my sponsors will play a key role to my success. If you or your company's expectations and standards of sponsorship line up with my own and you are looking to build a successful and mutually beneficial partnership for 2014 as an age grouper and into the future as an elite professional athlete, contact me at jamesthorp@live.com to discuss how we can help each other be successful.