Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Athletes From a True Ironman
As one of the most prolific athletes in the Philippines, Don Velasco is well-known for his smart approach to training. The First Filipino Ironman Certified Coach has produced some of the country’s finest triathletes. He encourages people to pursue sports as a lifestyle, helping others achieve their best selves through fitness.
However, his rise to the top was not an easy feat. “Prior to my current career, I was an unathletic geek. I couldn’t compete with the veterans around me,” the computer engineering alumnus recalls. “Instead of relying on brute strength, I explored scientific approaches to training. I took in as much knowledge as I could about the body and exercise to improve my own performance.”
The cool, calm, and calculated coach
Coach Don took triathlon to heart after realizing how fun and exciting it was. With his special methods, he eventually racked up podium finishes, drawing the attention of his fellow racers. “Many of my peers wanted to learn more about my techniques. That was the starting point of my coaching career.”
In his “train smart” approach, he assigns a defined purpose, intensity, and duration for each exercise. He crafts workout plans based on the person’s physical capabilities and fitness goals. “It’s important for athletes to visualize the bigger picture behind training,” he emphasizes. “If they follow and understand the rationale behind a structured program, they can maximize their efforts without overexerting themselves.”
This mindset allows him to persevere amidst the challenges of his chosen sport. “Whenever you train or race, it’s always tempting to slow down and get comfortable, instead of pushing and suffering,” he admits. “However, I always embrace the pain. I keep in mind the purpose and goals behind my actions.”
“I’ve had a few crashes, but nothing major, fortunately. Whenever I fall down, I always tell myself to shake it off and never give up. It’s all about mindset. Sometimes, laughing about it helps as well,” he quips.
Lessons from the track
Velasco notes that everyone can pick up valuable lessons from triathlon. “Many sports principles are applicable to our daily lives. For instance, the value of ‘doing things right’ consistently does not only apply for workouts, but also for your chosen career,” he says.
For aspiring and veteran athletes alike, Coach Don also promotes patience. “Most people try to rush into the sport because of peer pressure or lack of guidance,” he says. “This causes them to either suffer in terms of performance or burn themselves out. You should always seek a competent and skillful coach who will care for your overall well-being.”
Velasco also encourages people to explore scientific solutions for optimal fitness. He likes to use the Samsung Gear Sport to track his students’ stats during training. “With the Gear Sport, you can keep a close eye on your efforts and progress. It can check your heart rate, count the calories you burn, and record your laps. The collected data becomes useful whenever I craft and adjust programs for each person.”
Aside from pinpointing vital signs, the all-in-one device can also provide workout recommendations, and control your diet. It is built for those want to beat their personal best and overcome any fitness obstacle.