Athlete of the Month: August

Here at the University of Leeds we are lucky to train some of the most fabulous athletes from around the country. However, students don’t just come from the corners of England to use our first class facilities. We are lucky to have some wonderful athletes from across the globe training with us, just like Tyler Smith. From representing our own Triathlon society at BUCS competitions to flag-bearing for Bermuda at the Commonwealth Games we caught up with Tyler to find out what he gets up to in his training sessions.

What’s your sport?

I am a triathlete and compete for the university team and individually.

Where do you train and what competitions do you compete in?

I spend most of my time training around Leeds. Swimming and doing S&C at The Edge, riding in the Yorkshire Dales, and running around various trails in the city. I compete mainly in BUCS events, and European cups, but I have also raced at the Commonwealth Games and World Juniors.

 What does your training schedule look like?

On a regular training week when I’m not competing I usually train just under 30 hours. Usually we do five swim sessions, five bike rides, and eight runs. It seems like a lot but most of the training is done at a steady pace so we don’t get too fatigued.

What Strength and Conditioning (S&C) training do you do?

During the winter  I was aiming to improve my strength and power so I was trying to get in the S&C room three times a week. During the racing season I’ve reduced my S&C to twice a week with more of a focus on mobility to stay a bit fresher for the hard training sessions and races. Most of my S&C is targeted at leg and lower leg strength, but there are also core and upper body exercises in my programme.

What is your favourite exercise?

A back squat is my favourite exercise. It’s an exercise where you can see a clear progression week to week. I also feel helps me improve strength, stability, and my range of motion, all of which are helpful in triathlon.

What is your least favourite exercise?

My least favourite exercise is a box jump. I’m not very explosive and struggle with getting good vertical height which makes it difficult to jump successfully. I’ve also messed up my shin on a box pretty badly before and it still gets me nervous now.

How do you feel S&C has helped you develop as an athlete?

I feel S&C has really helped me to build the base strength and robustness to keep me fairly injury free while I’ve been building up my training volume. When I take breaks from S&C training I definitely feel all sorts of niggles coming on. The increase in muscle soreness after hard bike and run sessions is hard to ignore as well.

Tim Jarrett has been working with Tyler throughout his time at Leeds and gave us a little more insight into how the athlete works:

‘Tyler is a very autonomous athlete and has a strong sense of what he needs to work on in the gym. This makes working with him really easy. I end up giving him ideas and guidance rather than dictating his every move.’

Here is Tyler on one of his training runs with teammate Sam before he headed back home to compete in the Central American and Caribbean Games, placing 6th in the Elite Men’s category.