We recently caught up with Professional Triathlete Penny Slater who in August is lining up at Xterra Czech Republic for the European Champs. An incredibly talented athlete, Penny delves into where it all began and how the simplicity of running is a reminder of just how lucky we are..
Words & Images - Penny Slater
"As a professional Triathlete running is really an everyday staple. But it began as a much more humble activity for me. I discovered my true love for running when I realised the immense benefits it has on fitness levels. I always played hockey as a junior and when I was about 15 I started taking it a bit more seriously. So I started running outside of hockey training, not just 5km runs here and there but also actual sessions. Low and behold, my fitness sky rocketed and my hockey improved. After discovering my new found fitness from running I never really looked back, running every other day just became my norm.
Then I started triathlon and running was really the only thing that gave me a chance in the sport at the beginning. As I got better at all 3 legs swim, bike and run became similar in strengths for me. But as I began to race at the professional level I realised I had been neglecting my running perhaps a little whilst trying to improve my swimming and biking. So I worked hard on my running again, long runs, tempo sessions and track every week and I got better! Now its safe to say that I look forward to getting off the bike in a race and running, it gives me a sense of calm and confidence to know that I’ve got this.
But why do I love running? Not just because I am reasonably good at it…
I love it because you can’t deny it when you’ve made an improvement. You can vary it so much; track, hill work, tempo, running with friends and long runs. Don’t get me wrong I love that burn you get from a track or pavement workout but one of the biggest draw cards for me is running on trail. You get to see some pretty spectacular things and you can do it pretty much everywhere and at any time. Just yesterday I was down in the snowy mountain where they had the first fall of snow for the winter. I laced up my shoes and off I went.. This run was the very reason I love running-
"I was running along, all I could hear was my breathing as it froze in the air, the crunch of my shoes in the snow as I made the first footprints on the river trail, not another person in sight."
Just me and a few friendly deer, my thoughts, the picturesque snowy mountains and the soft trickle of the river. Sometimes its easy to get caught up in numbers and achieving PBs all the time especially as a professional athlete. But runs like the one I experienced on the weekend are a perfect reminder of why I love to run and help keep everything into perspective.
For me my next running goal is my first half marathon in June that hasn’t been off a bike ride in a 70.3! I’m really excited to see what I can do. Looking further ahead there is definitely some epic trail running I want to do, first up in the jungle of Thailand as I head over there for a training camp in June.
For me running is something I hope to do for the rest of my life. I know most people reading this will feel the same way. SO ENJOY AND RUN HAPPY. On the hard days remember why you do it and how lucky you are to be able to do it. For every bad day there is a good one just around the corner."