What Sam Pictor has learned since becoming a pro triathlete

By Brad Williams | 3 Minute Read

British Pro triathlete Sam Pictor has been drinking PH for a couple of years now after hearing Andy talk about hydration issues that sounded oh so familiar on a podcast.

Last season was his first as a pro and he won the Outlaw Half at Nottingham as well as coming second at IRONMAN Weymouth 70.3. As an age-grouper he took 1st place at the European Duathlon Championships in 2015 and the Worlds in the following year.

Earlier this year he ran a 1:09:37 at the Bath Half Marathon, coming 13th overall and he opened his tri season with a solid 5th place at Challenge Gran Canaria a few weeks back.

Brad caught up with Sam to ask him about his first few years in the pro ranks and what his goals are for the season ahead...


So, Sam, you had what many would call a breakthrough performance at 70.3 Weymouth last year with a 2nd place finish.

Has that result dictated the goals you set for 2019?

Absolutely! After achieving my pro license, my first goal was to try and get on the pro podium - now in 2019 I'm hunting for that elusive win in a big race.

I've also qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, so that's also an exciting goal.

What was the biggest thing you learned in your rookie season?

My biggest lesson was to respect the race but not the competition.
Now, obviously I don't mean that you should dis-respect anyone - and of course I do have massive respect for all of my competitors. 

What I mean is that I'm often racing people that I consider to be more established pros than myself and, last season, I would let that get into my head and so, if it came down to a tight finish, I'd already lost the mental battle by believing they were better than me and would always beat me in a head-to-head...

What was the biggest surprise to you during your first year racing pro?

A couple of things. The first was just how friendly everyone is. I've made some great friends through triathlon racing and this hasn't stopped on the pro circuit.

All of us are slogging our guts out day-in day-out to get faster and I think that creates a real mutual respect for each other.

The second is that there is no magic formula for success - it's just about quality and consistency in training...

With consistency in mind, how do you manage your training around the "proper" day job that you're working?

At the end of last season I reduced my working hours to only 3 days a week, I'm also lucky enough to work from home most of the time. This helps me massively as I don't waste time commuting and I no longer have to spend every evening packing breakfast, lunch, swim/bike/run stuff, etc for the next day. It's meant that I've been able to put some of my big, key sessions during the week when I'm not working and there's less time pressure.

I still run out of time each week and I have to be very careful in managing my sleep otherwise I very quickly get ill. 9.30pm is a regular bedtime for me as I'm usually setting my alarm for 5am.

And, do you plan to "step up" to the full distance down the road?

I do, and I can't wait! My first full distance race will be Ironman Cork in June. We haven't done that much specific work for it yet as 70.3 is still the main focus, but I couldn't help myself and just had to see what it's all about!

I think the longer distances will suit my strengths, but I may retract that statement once I'm 6 hours in and still have another 2 or 3 hours to go!

How did your Sweat Test change your hydration strategy? What was the biggest take away for you from the test?

I first did an online Sweat Test back in 2017 before taking an Advanced Sweat Test last year. Both tests confirmed that I was a salty sweater and, using the expertise of the team, I was able to build a hydration strategy for racing that involved some stronger electrolyte supplements and a more aggressive approach to hydration.

Prior to this I frequently suffered from post-training headaches and had always suffered a significant dip in performance when racing in the heat. I've been so excited with the improvements in both of these areas and now feel confident racing in high temperatures. 

Glad to hear that! So, what has been your favourite race to date?

My favourite race was probably the Outlaw Half in Nottingham last year. The conditions were perfect with good support all around the course. I raced well and surprised myself by taking the win.

It also was the first time I was able to see the impact of a consistent winter of training on my racing. The cold beer in the hot sun afterwards was also a nice touch...

What's the highlight of your career so far then do you think Sam?

The highlight has to be my 2nd place at Ironman Weymouth 70.3 last year and securing my World Championship spot for Nice. The conditions were horrendous, but there's something I quite like about fighting against the elements. I was able to hang in there and secure a strong podium on a day that was all about survival!

Great stuff. Thanks for your time Sam and all the best for the season ahead!

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