Jerome Guionnet at the 2023 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Lahti, Finland.
As an age-group athlete with a full-time job, family and social life’s demands, balance is often elusive, and consistency feels like an unattainable dream. Today, we bring you the inspiring story of one athlete who defied the odds. Meet Jerome Guionnet, inspired by his daughter’s curiosity and determination, embarked on a life-altering journey into the world of triathlon. In this interview, we dive deep into the mindset, challenges, and lessons learned, exploring the delicate equilibrium between work, family, and social life. Join us as we unravel the secrets of his success, his strengths, and his hilarious yet enlightening experiences along the way.
It all began when his daughter, a high school junior, decided to trade her books for a swim cap, bike helmet, and running shoes. Intrigued by her newfound passion, he too, took the plunge into the world of triathlon. The transition was transformative, as he found himself joining the ranks of the Silicon Valley Triathlon Club (SVTC) and, in a matter of months, participating in his first race in April 2017. Little did he know, this leap of faith would be the catalyst for a life of balance, consistency, and unwavering dedication to the sport that would take him to 70.3 World Championships in 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023 and full Ironman World Championships 2022.
Jerome showing focus on the run
How did you start with your current sport?
I got into triathlon when my daughter was a junior in high school. She had stopped swimming and no longer had physical education classes. I kept asking her about her plans for sports. After a few months, she surprised me by saying, “I can swim, bike, and run, so I want to try a triathlon!” I thought it was fantastic and decided to look into local clubs. That’s how I joined Silicon Valley Triathlon Club (SVTC) and ended up participating in my first race in April 2017. From that moment on, I was completely hooked. Interestingly, my daughter only did one relay and then decided to stop!
What habit or mindset change has been most beneficial to you as an athlete?
The most substantial change in my athletic journey has been the transition from sporadic exercise for general health to structured training in triathlon. Before triathlon, my physical activities, including swimming, running, biking, snowboarding, and surfing, were irregular. Embracing triathlon, I committed to a structured training plan and schedule, fostering consistency and improving habits related to nutrition, recovery, and strength, although I recognize the need for more consistency in the latter.
How do you balance work, family, and social life with your training?
Balancing work, family, and social life with my training has been facilitated by several key factors. Firstly, my wife developed an interest in triathlon a year after I did, and our daughter graduated from high school around 1.5 years into my triathlon journey. This not only afforded me more time but also the advantage of having a training partner who comprehends the demands and schedules involved. This partnership significantly contributes to maintaining family equilibrium as we often engage in physical activities together or coordinate our training schedules.
Additionally, my work offers some flexibility, allowing me to accommodate training sessions during the week. Regarding my social life, many of our interactions revolve around our triathlon friends, though we still make an effort to spend time with our non-triathlon friends, though less frequently. After two years as part of the Silicon Valley Triathlon Club, I felt a deep-seated urge to give back to the community that had enriched my journey. As a result, I assumed the role of coaching director and later served as the club’s president for three years. This role enabled me to seamlessly blend my passion for triathlon with my commitment to community service, integrating it into my overall life balance.
Jerome and his wife ready to go for the swim
What are your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete?
My strengths lie in consistency, maintaining a reliable training regimen crucial for long-term success in endurance sports. I have unwavering belief in my training plans, which fuels my motivation and goal-focused approach. As a dedicated student of the sport, I stay updated on the latest trends and techniques through regular reading and podcasts.
On the flip side, my main weakness is race management. Impatience during races can hinder performance, and I’m actively working on improving my pacing and tactical decisions. Additionally, I admit to neglecting strength training, a vital aspect of triathlon performance, which can lead to weaknesses and imbalances affecting my overall performance.
How has using Athletica improved your training?
Athletica has substantially enhanced my training in several key ways. Firstly, it provides an optimal session mix tailored to my needs across swimming, cycling, and running. These sessions include recovery, HIIT, threshold, and strength training, contributing to a well-rounded training experience that boosts my overall performance.
Additionally, Athletica’s well-structured plans offer a clear weekly framework, with a focus on strength training, recognizing its importance in triathlon performance. The AI-driven personalization ensures that my training plan adapts to my performance and effort level, much like having a dedicated coach.
Furthermore, Athletica incorporates effective recovery sessions following intense weekends or races, preventing overtraining and helping me maintain peak condition throughout the season. In summary, Athletica’s comprehensive, personalized, and diverse approach has not only elevated my performance but also made my training more efficient and enjoyable.
Share your most epic failure, funny story, or insane thing that has happened to you while in training or during a race that you have learned from or think about often.
One of my most unforgettable moments in triathlon happened during a 70.3 race. While swimming in open water, I found myself accidentally passing directly underneath a swim buoy. The mix of surprise, confusion, and laughter prevailed as I calmly extricated myself from the buoy. It became a humorous anecdote to share with fellow triathletes, serving as a reminder that in the midst of intense competition, one must always be prepared for the unexpected and adapt to unforeseen challenges.
Jerome’s incredible triathlon season of 2023
Jerome’s dedication to hone his triathlon craft resulted with not just one, but two 70.3 Ironman age-group wins a trip to Finland for the World Championships with an impressive 14th place in his age group, and qualification to World Championships in Taupo, 2024.
In the realm of triathlon, where challenges are constant and victories hard-earned, this athlete’s journey has been a testament to the transformative power of passion and dedication. From sporadic exercise to structured training, from juggling work, family, and social life to finding harmony in the chaos, his story is an inspiration to us all.
Jerome’s story is one of resilience, balance, and dedication, proving that with the right mindset and support, anyone can transform their life through the power of sport.
The hard work pays off on the podium