Nic Ward has been a member of Balmoral Tri Club for a number of years, and was one of BTC's pro triathletes. Nic has recently had a baby so we thought we would catch up with her and find out a bit about her Pro career and whats next after having a little one and her advice for women looking to get started in Triathlon.
BTC - How long have you been involved in triathlon?
I have been involved with Triathlon for 11 years now and competed in my first Tri in 2005 after watching and being inspired by one of my close friends who competed at Ironman Australia in Forster the year before.
BTC - You are an exPro can you tell us a bit about your life as a Pro Triathlete (highlights/challenges)?
I was fortunate enough to race as a professional from 2007 through to 2013 but I also worked and trained just like an age grouper to be able to afford living in Sydney and travelling regularly to race across Australia and overseas. I remember when I first qualified for my pro licence I was also promoted into a senior project management role and working full time at Westpac (which in banking can be about 50 hours per week) so this was certainly a challenge! It was shortly after this though that I won the Australian Long Course title in one of my first professional races which is definitely one of my career highlights.
As far as other race highlights go, I guess I was known as a consistent performer who regularly appeared on the podium, with 5 Ironman podiums and over 25 pro podiums across the 70.3 and long course distance.
Racing the Ironman World Championships as a pro athlete is also a very treasured memory and experience for me. I always wondered what I could have achieved if I had raced and trained as a full time athlete but I think for me having balance is what drove me to achieve the results I did and I am certainly glad that whilst I was able to race at an elite level and achieve results in the sport that I love, I have also kept my corporate career on track.
BTC - You have recently had a baby, tell us how old little Mila is?
Mila has just turned 4 months and it’s been an amazing journey so far. Bern and I have been incredibly blessed with a beautiful, healthy, active and very well behaved little girl.
BTC - Are you back training and racing ?
I retired from racing at the elite level back in 2013 and since then have been focussed on my career, coaching and family. Since having Mila I have been concentrating on getting back general fitness and just being active and healthy.
BTC - How have you managed getting back into training after a baby?
After having an horrific labour I admit it has certainly been a challenge (and yes giving birth was a lot more painful than any Ironman)… My focus has been to rebuild from the ground up so initially I just did a lot of walking and from there I have focussed on building back my core strength by working with the fantastic Holly Hanson from Square One Physiotherapy who has designed an individual progressive core program that I can do at home.
After my 6 week clearance from my obstetrician I have been doing several sessions per week at a local strength and conditioning gym where they have very challenging mums and bubs classes on each day. In addition to this I ride once a week with the athletes I coach (but they are all a little fast for me at the moment!). I did have every intention of doing more on the indoor trainer but this hasn’t happened like I thought just yet. I am also planning to start getting back into my swimming and running again soon but for now I am just really enjoying keeping it simple with one activity each day to get me back on track. My world is all about my gorgeous little girl for now.
BTC - Any tips for new mums on how to balance family life and training and work?
I have realised since becoming a mum just how precious this time is and that training for myself needs to take second place for now, though I do believe that my general fitness and wellbeing is crucial to being a great mum.
Time management is definitely the key as is a strong support network. Make the most of the time when your baby sleeps to get stuff done and I think incorporating your baby into your training like joining a training class where your baby can join you. I am also very much looking forward to when Mila is 6 months old and I can start running again with her (and Chiko the dog) in the pram ha!.
When dad comes home use that window of opportunity to do something for yourself. I am very lucky to have such a supportive husband in Bern who looks after Mila on Saturday mornings so I can get out to do some training baby free. I think training on an indoor bike trainer and doing core or yoga/pilates workouts that you can do anytime at home are also key.
BTC - As a new mum how have your goals in the sport changed
I know I will be back racing again at some point but my pro racing days are well behind me now. I look forward to competing as an age group athlete and having fun in the sport that I absolutely love. Hopefully next season I might get back in to some short course racing again and I’m sure you’ll probably see me at a BTC club race as a good comeback…..
BTC - How have you seen the sport of triathlon change in terms of female participation during your time in the sport
I have really noticed the increase of female participation since I have been involved in the sport but it still has a long way to grow to match the likes of sports like running where women are now making up over 50% of event fields in road races.
I have been heavily involved as an ambassador for the growth of females in our sport through Triathlon NSW and through sponsorship with brands like Scody and Shimano and this is a huge passion of mine. Over the years I have coached and supported at many female specific camps and events. I have also noticed the depth of competition has really improved a lot more in the female race fields over the last 5 years or so which is just awesome.
BTC - What advice would you give to women thinking about starting in the sport of triathlon who may be put off or intimidated?
The best thing about triathlon is that it’s an individual sport and ultimately it’s about personal achievement and doing your best. Start out with a sprint distance or enticer event, a BTC club race is the perfect way to start out as you will be blown away by all the encouragement out there. Head along to the fantastic newcomers week and meet all of the inspiring people and make the most of the fantastic wealth of knowledge and experience in the club. There are so many great people out there who would be more than happy to help you achieve your goals!
You can find out a bit more about Nic on her website
Thanks Nic for the insight, encouragement and inspiration you provide to lots of Triathletes within our club and beyond. We look forward to seeing you at one of the BTC Races next season!