For this interview I talked to Nate Deck, a triathlete, husband, father, blogger, and youth pastor from a small town in North Carolina. Nate runs a great blog called Triathlon Pal which has some great content on guiding budding multisport athletes through the trials and pain-points that go with the sport. Nate is a great guy and I thought that having him shed some light on how he manages his extremely busy life would be a good addition to the site!
Interview with Nate Deck
JG: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background, Nate.
ND: I’ve been in Triathlon’s for a little over 4 years now. I didn’t get into endurance sports at all until college. I played baseball in High School since my parents had a strict 1 sport a year policy and were were a baseball family. I got a road bike the summer after graduation and did a bunch of touring my freshman year of college. My bike got stolen over break and I didn’t touch a bike again until I was living in Germany teaching English and being an English kids camp director. I wanted a way to let my competitive nature out so I signed up for a triathlon. I wasn’t able to make it but I had put in the training and was already hooked. Now I’m back in the states and all in with triathlon. I started my website, triathlonpal.com 2 years ago and I focus on helping other athletes get into the sport and make progress through the early stages hopefully without all the bumps and bruises you sometimes get in the sport. My focus is helping people to “learn from my mistakes.” And trust me… there’s plenty to learn from!
JG: What do you do for a living?
ND: I am a Youth Pastor in a small church in a small town in NC.
JG: I noticed on your blog that you did the duathlon at Worlds this year! How did it go?
ND: I ended up not being able to go. I just had a new baby girl (9 months old now) and we opted not to travel with a young baby this time around. The good news is that I qualified again, so maybe 2018??
JG: Any tips for an age-grouper going to worlds?
ND: I’d like to know as well! Lol on the pre planning side I’d say to plan early. Start saving your penny’s now. But do it! I really and going to try to get to worlds next year. It’s not an opportunity you get every year to wear the Stars and Stripes and say you competed for Team USA at a world championship. I think just the experience alone is worth it.
JG: Being a husband and father with a full-time job, how do you balance training? What is your schedule like?
ND: Balancing family and training is all about sticking to a schedule, communication and integration. It helps my wife to know when and where I’m doing what. That way we can plan around things. We make that schedule together and work together to make sure the family is getting what they need from their dad and husband. Early mornings are what keeps things rolling for me. Being a Pastor, you never know what might come up throughout the day, and late nights at events and activities is quite normal. If I don’t get my workout done in the morning then it doesn’t get done.
I also try to bring the family along whenever I can. They go to all my races and we usually take at least 1 “racecation” a year… normally to the beach. I also like to put my girls in the jogging stroller and go for a run when they will cooperate. Just having them along for the ride is awesome. My 3 year old now likes to run around the yard and ride her bike and switch between the two pretending she’s in “a race like daddy.”
JG: How did you keep motivation during training for a big race/Worlds? What keeps you going now? Has there been times where you wonder, “Why am I even doing this?”
ND: Like I said earlier, I’m super competitive, so that drives me a lot. I want to get better. I love going fast. That keeps things a planner and very methodical in how I train so I think that keeps me on track to.
The only time I’ve ever thought “why am I even doing this” was at about mile 5 on the run of my first 70.3. It was bad… I was framing and suffering bad. But I made it through. I love competing and that feeling of crossing the finish line is just about the best feeling ever.
JG: Best advice for any aspiring multisport athlete?
ND: You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Get a used bike (even a road bike) and some running shoes and goggles from a local sports store and you are good to go. You don’t need all this fancy gear to still get out there and enjoy God’s creation and exercising. This is an awesome sport to test out limits physically and mentally. There’s no reason to test your financial limits at the same time 🙂 there’s plenty of time for that as you progress in the sport! Lol
JG: Do you recommend any books or websites for multisport athletes that helped you along the way?
ND: The best bookies I have are the Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel, and if you have a power meter, Training and Racing with Power by Andy Coggan.
For websites I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my own triathlonpal.com 🙂 There is also a ton to learn from others on slowtwitch.com and beginnertriahtlete.com. The tri community is awesome to helping each other out!
JG: Planning on any races in the near future?
ND: Maybe Zofingen 2018 for worlds. My 2018 schedule is not set yet since I just finish up my season a few weeks ago. I’m looking at doing more 70.3’s if I don’t do Worlds. Maybe 70.3 Raleigh or North Carolina. Chattanooga is also a possibility.
JG: Who is your favorite multisport athlete?
ND: I’m a big fan of TO and Rinny! Ben Kanute is also coming on the scene big time. I love the U.S. guys for sure! Gotta represent!
JG: Favorite snack for hard training days?
ND: Chocolate milk! And my wife makes these awesome homemade granola bars 🙂
JG: Favorite flavor of Gatorade?
ND: Orange. Don’t really like lemon lime and that’s always what they serve on course!!!
JG: What is your gear? Both training and race day.
ND: My Trisuit is from Louis Garneau. It was a custom for Team Trisports which is no more with Trisports.com closing down. Brooks Launch 3 is my current shoe. Haven’t made the jump to the Launch 4 yet. I can’t live without Camelbak bottles. The nozzle they use is just the best! I’ve got s bunch of other gear (who doesn’t) but my overarching principle is to get the best bang for my buck without sacrificing quality.
For training I use TrainerRoad for my bike workouts. I’ve improved so much since I switch to them! (See next question)
JG: What is the strongest part of your triathlon? Your weakest? Why? How are you working on improving the worst part?
ND: Strongest is the bike. I got the 3rd best bike split in my first Half Iron distance this year. Worst is the swim. I just never sawn much until I got into tri’s. I will be spending a bunch of time this off season in the pool. It’s really all about consistency and refining that technique… and swimming straight in open water… that’s a big problem for me 🙂