Tomasz Gagola - An Introduction
Saturday, 5 July 2014 | Admin
Tomasz Gagola - An Introduction
Hello all and welcome to my 1st blog for SwimCycleRun and actually my 1st blog entry ever.
Below is some background about my life racing triathlon. I hope you find it interesting.
My name is Tomasz “Tom” Gagola a 33 year old from Poznan, Poland. I bet you all know Poznan from Euro 2012. I’ve been working full time for Aerlingus as a Flight Operations Specialist in Dublin since 2006.
Firstly.. I started my first triathlon 18 years ago and I am still enjoying triathlon now. I spent so many years chasing big dreams and never got them (chasing the rabbit…). I had a 6 years break from any structured training between 2005 and 2011 and just competed several times just for fun. I think I was even 25th in Polish Sprint Championships at one stage and in the meantime I met my future wife, settled down and got back into structured training.
So let’s jump to winter 2011 and summer ‘12 – which was the first year I did any scheduled training since 2006 and competed in two Half-Ironmans in Poland. I won one and took third in the other. The first race was a huge physical challenge (hilly bike, XC run and + 35 deg), the second race was even tougher as I had had very bad day on the run and suffered through it. I did it in around 1:40 and finished in 4:25. These were my first attempts with the long, non-drafting distance. After being 3rd I was hugely motivated to improve.
In 2013, I competed a bit more:
- NAC sprint – 6th Place including 2min penalty. Raced shortly after injury and lost most of the time during swim. ( Cara thanks again for fixing my calf.)
- Half-Ironman Triathlon Sierakow, Poland – 1st Place. 4:05, very hilly bike, XC run and 10 min lead over 2nd place.
- Dun Laoghaire Sprint – 1st Place. The goal was just to test myself before second Half-Ironman and have a my first swim in the Irish Sea.
- Half-Ironman Lotto Triathlon Poznan, Poznan – 1st Place. I had to dig deep to find any energy and speed and won by a mere 40sec. This year in Poznan, Chris McCormack is going to race, so if anyone looking to meet the old champ on the cheap, visit www.poznantriathlon.pl/en
Having won 3 out of 4 Half-Ironmans that I entered then I decided to switch back to sprint and olympic distance racing in Ireland which will give me a chance to travel around and explore the country. It was actually the plan from the day one as long distance training requires so much more time and motivation which I could not find.
Now to the present day in 2014, I have still not joined any Tri Club in Ireland so I normally train on my own.
All my swim training is done with ALSAA swim team. They keep good pressure on me and get me motived by constant slagging (as promised Fintan). Most of the guys are sprinters and this suits me well to work on speed rather than distance. Normally I swim around 2km in the pool, 3-4 times a week. Their (our) schedule is built around 200m freestyle time trial in December and races in summer. Here, I must thank Dave for introducing me to the ALSAA team and all the lads for the hard workouts. This year Peter was the leader and prepared most of the group training sessions however if anybody wanted to swim a specific set there was never an issue with that. With this swim group there is no place for complacency and we push hard every session.
I spent so many years swimming with clubs back home and the big difference is that there is no love for any break/rest here. The best example is 12x200m freestyle starting on 2:45 – thanks Eoin or any set suggested by Jeremy.
That is all my swim training, which I have to say is better than I thought it would be and the result is my swim is stronger.
Cycle – I cycle normally on my own. I missed the strong winds in spring this year as I find the extra work so handy for preparation. I normally cycle towards Dublin Airport and the roads behind (Naul, Ashbourne). My best cycle workout I call Super-Tuesday when I cycle the same loop of 40k and try to go as fast as possible. The quickest is 1:05 and it includes cycle from home to main road and back. Other cycles include either sprint work or longer 50km hard. I am on my bike 4 times a week and usuall clock around 160km.
This winter I trained mostly on turbo trainer and must say it was great. No pain no gain. As I was getting ready for sprint triathlon, I started nearly every session with 10min hard cycle and then was 10min easy + main set. The reason behind it was to be able to cycle hard without any warm-up. The killer set was 10 x 5min at 85% followed by 1min easy.
Run – I have 4 runs a week and it includes one brick session on Sunday (I brick from October all year round). The run session I am always looking forward to is my Saturday long hard session in Phoenix Park. I leave home at 7.30AM and start the main set around 8AM from the Castelknock Gate.
Overall the training plan is suggested by my Dad who was my couch since my day one in triathlon. We enjoyed many good days and also many failures. We still have a great father-son relationship, but we are also tri-mates. He is coming to compete in the Dublin City Triathlon, did I mention he is 63? Definitly the one to watch!
My parents and my wife are my biggest supporters and having family behind me is such a huge benefit.
My racing so far this year
It started with two duathlons and I came second twice to Paul Carroll.
I won the Dun Laoighare Triathlon for the 2nd time and then won my very first National Series Triathlon in Athy.
I am looking forward to more races in SwimCycleRun colors this year and meeting everybody at the races, -Tom.