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Emma Cowper: Juggling triathlon and life
Episode 11516th February 2022 • Inside Tri Show • Helen Murray
00:00:00 00:49:14

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It's an issue we all face... How on earth do you juggle work, training and family life? For this week's guest Emma Cowper, the struggle is real as she attempts to maintain her pro status and race at the highest level, all while bringing up a toddler. Emma did her first triathlon in 2013, was crowned Age Group World Champion (Olympic) in 2016, secured her pro card in 2017 and became a mum in 2020. She broke the course record to win Outlaw X 2021 and regained her pro license in the process. Whether you dream of racing in the pro ranks, you're a new parent or expecting later this year or you're just trying hard to juggle life, there's something in here for you.

You'll hear:

5:45 How Emma decided to do her first triathlon in 2013 and how she worked her way up through the age group ranks and her first experience of racing in an elite wave at the London triathlon. 'That was a real wake up call.'

10:45 Emma admits it was probably too soon for her body to step up to pro level when she did in 2017 and discusses some of the realities of training and racing as a professional. "When I did my first 70.3s, it took me a lot longer to recover, but now my body has adapted to it. It was mentally hard stepping up to the professional level and I didn't appreciate how hard it is to be one of the best pros. That took time to adjust to and I think i was trying to force something that wasn't me."

15:15 The difficult decision around when to have a baby when you're trying to compete at the highest level.

17:15 How Emma found it returning to training after having a baby. The pandemic helped because I didn't have FOMO because there were no races. I started to run after 5 weeks and then slowly started to increase it but my coach didn't give me much for a long time and I was fortunate that I didn't struggle with any injuries. It was hard being slow again but I was good at not putting pressure on myself. I didn't go out on my bike for a year, it was just easier being on the turbo.

20:05 I think there were some 3am turbos because the only time I could do a longer session was when I knew she would be asleep. If I had done a session, at least I could deal with not moving for the rest of the day. I used to carry my turbo down to the communal garage at the bottom of our flats to get it down. But I was just so happy to be doing it.

26:00 Emma says juggling everything is challenging. 'I just have to be really organised. When it doesn't go to plan, I just have to check myself and not get too stressed by it. My biggest curve balls tend to be that I'm not able to do the session when I thought i might be able to.'

32:15 Dealing with mum guilt. "When she is up before I go to training, that's hard and I do feel guilty. It's a lot to process and I am constantly asking if it's ok?

33:45 Advice for other triathletes looking to juggle parenthood and training 'be kind to yourself, set yourself a realistic goal and make those sessions non-negotiable. Parents are really bad at looking after themselves and you need some 'me time' to be a good parent and to be present.'

Find out more about this week's guests

Emma Cowper Instagram

Emma Cowper website

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