A Talk with Singapore-based Elite Age Grouper Colin O’ Shea

One of the Asian racing scene’s top age group triathlete, Colin O Shea was originally from South West Ireland and relocated to Singapore in 2013 in a job-related move.   Colin left his corporate career in 2015 to start a triathlon coaching business called COS coaching.   Colin, now a race ambassador for the TriFactor Asian Race Series, had good success and has grown the coaching business, sending some of his clients as qualifiers to the Ironman 70.3 and Ironman World Championships.   AsiaTRI talked to Colin for an interview about the sport, balancing training and family life and the Asian racing scene:


AsiaTRI: How did you start in the sport?

Colin: My background is a competitive swimmer from my school and university days. In those early years I was also a strong runner and mostly competed in cross country and middle-distance events. However, it was not until I moved to Singapore in 2013 that I started the sport.

When I first moved to Singapore I competed in a number of running races and encountered a few knee problems. As a way of having a more balanced fitness regime and strengthening my knees I started competing in triathlons in 2014.


AsiaTRI: As one of Southeast asia’s top age-grouper, can you tell us the about the multisport scene and the competitiveness in the region?

Colin:  The multisport scene has grown massively over the past few years in terms of the number of races, locations of races and professionalism of race organizers and event quality that the athlete can experience. The number of athletes competing has also grown and we are now seeing a lot more established triathlon communities and coaches in each of the regional centers across South East Asia.

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The standard of the age group athlete at the top level is very high and you only have to look at Kona results to see how well some athletes from Asia have done over the last few years. The depth of the talent is also increasing and we can now see strong athletes coming from all SE Asian countries whereas that may not necessarily have been the case in the past.


 AsiaTRI: Can you give us an example of a typical week of training for you?

Colin: My typical week will be 15-20 hours of total volume.

This will consist of 4 swims for a total volume of approx. 15km with the swims focusing on improving threshold pace, top end speed, endurance and recovery. I will have 3-4 bike sessions across 8-10 hours with higher intensity workouts during the week and a long ride on the weekends. My runs will be a mixture of speed, tempo and long steady runs with the distance varying widely depending on the race and time of the year.

Finally, I supplement the above training with strength and core conditioning and also yoga once a week. I find that this core and strength routine is essential to combating potential injuries.


AsiaTRI: As an age-grouper, how do you balance work and family duties and your training schedule?

 Colin: The key thing that we all need when training is consistency. Saying that there are days when life just gets in the way and we cannot make a session. When this happens I just have to let the session go and move on.

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Fitting training in is ultimately about planning and looking ahead and seeing what is realistic. It is also important to have an understanding partner and my wife is very understanding when it comes to my training so that is a benefit. It is essential in my view to have buy in from the family and to approach the sport as a team. If that is not the case then it is difficult for it to be sustainable.

With work, thankfully I am a triathlon coach and I am my own boss so I can flex my time somewhat. But still I need to have all the plans written and be accessible to my athletes at all times so if work needs to get done then that has to take priority.


 AsiaTRI: You represent TriFactor as one of its race ambassadors,  What makes it different from other triathlon race series?

Colin: The Trifactor Asian and World Championship series is an exciting new race concept across both short and middle-distance triathlon events. The locations are new to triathlon racing and great to visit. Finally, the organization is top notch and they are fun races to compete in.

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