A chat with Libby Matthews - From newbie to Team GB in a year

A chat with Libby Matthews - From newbie to Team GB in a year

Libs is very much a newbie into the world of Triathlon. However she used to represent GB in hockey and studied Sports at Loughborough University, so being competitive does comes fairly naturally.

She picked up Olympic distance tri in the summer of 2016 and has just booked her place to represent GB at the Rotterdam World Champs in September 2017, so it’s safe to say its been a whirlwind - an expensive one at that!

When she isn’t training she spends her time working as a personal trainer in Chelsea, London focusing on Strength and Conditioning for triathletes, ultra marathon runners and pre and post-natal mummies.


What brought you to triathlon? Do you think that a sporting background as a child is important in order to be competitive in age group racing?

My other half is wholeheartedly to blame for my triathlon addiction. I have always been competitive in sport and after going to watch him compete I wanted a piece of the fun. However I definitely don’t think it is important to be from a competitive background to compete, anyone can achieve it if they put their mind to it properly.

Where do you live now and what benefits and/or limitations does your area have for training?

I live in Clapham, London which is probably the perfect location for any normal 25 year old but it’s not ideal for a triathlete but its not terrible either. I get my open water swimming done at Tooting Lido or the Serpentine (ewww) and I head out to Richmond Park and then onto the Surry hills as often as I can.

How many hours do you train per week? Do you also work fulltime? How do you manage to balance everything together?

I work full time as a Personal Trainer. This means very early starts and late evenings and a constant need to be as flexible as possible so I can train around my clients. At the end of the day you always need balance, you need work to take your mind off training and training to take your mind off work, it does help that I absolutely love my job though.

Do you feel that triathlon eats into your social life? How do you feel about that?

Triathlon definitely takes precedent over my social life but that is just the choice I have made. What is your priority at that point in your life? For me I am lucky that my boyfriend is training for his first half Ironman so I have him for company for a few sessions and my friends and sisters will always come out for a run with me. One rule I do have is that I don’t train clients or myself on one night a week so it is left free for dinners or drinks with friends.

Was there ever a time when you were close to quitting? 

I only came to triathlon last summer so luckily haven’t yet had those feelings of wanting to sack it all in. If you ask me at the end of next season the answer could be very different. I am attempting to make the leap from Age-Group triathlon to elite racing and have no misconceptions of how difficult it will be.

Do you have a visualization/race specific meditation routine? 

I am not particularly into that side of things, I think my brain works quite factually, to the extent that I even struggle with yoga!

How do you spend your off-season? 

I will be taking a couple of weeks to chill out on a beach somewhere hot at the end of the season but then its straight back into training for me. With a big year of challenges ahead of me I still need to get my times down and hone my triathlon skills so I wont be taking too much time away from it.

What is your favourite race and why?

Ooo tough question, I don’t know if I have a particular race that has been my favorite yet. I really enjoyed racing at Leeds British Champs and am excited to experience the world stage at Rotterdam for World Champs in September.

What are your next goals?

With World Champs being my biggest race yet, my goal is to just have fun and soak up the atmosphere! From there is onto elite racing if all goes well!


Major race achievements in the past:

-       2017 Leeds Triathlon British Champs (2nd AG 25-30, 4th Overall)

-       2017 Diva Qualifier for Worlds (1st AG 25-30, 5th Overall)

-       2017 Slateman Triathlon (2nd Overall)

-       2017 British Duathlon Champs (3rd AG 25-30)

You can follow Libs on instagram @libsmatthewspt or her website/blog:  https://www.libsmatthewspt.com

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