To celebrate Women's Month, HOKA ONE ONE athletes have been sharing their inspiring stories about the support networks within women's sports communities.
Triathlete Nikki Bartlett shares her journey from her amateur to pro and tells us about some of the women that helped her get there.
I truly believe the art of happiness and success is the team you build around you. Triathlon is, for the most part, an individual sport, but there are always people behind the scenes who provide such invaluable support. I’m grateful to have built up such a strong support network around me, both from the personal as well as technical and performance side.
Every pro triathlete was once an amateur. As a professional, I started the sport relatively late at the age of 25. There are Pro athletes I looked up to then who I’m now training with and competing against, people like my friend, training partner and 14-time Ironman® champion Lucy Gossage. It’s a dream come true.
I started the sport as a complete novice. I couldn’t swim, bought a bike for £150, and had no long-distance running experience in me – I borrowed a lot of kit to get me started. The support I received then from the triathlon community allowed me to be the athlete and person I am today. Now more than ever we need a team and support around us.
I would be lying if I said I’m 100% motivated every day, particularly with the challenges we’ve all faced over the last year. I know I’ve improved so much as an athlete in the last year but have no races to show for it. But life is for learning. The time has meant there’s been no need to rush for that race. There’s been time to sit back, to focus on the controllable and to make sure I’m ready when it all comes around again, because it will.
Confidence comes with being able to control a lot of elements in training and life. I develop confidence in my ability through consistency in training. Consistency comes from creating a programme to suit you, not anyone else or from what you might see on social media. Let’s be honest, social media is never the full truth. The programme must be tailored to what’s best for you, your life, your commitments. My other half, Bex, is also my coach, which helps. Once you start to string consistency together, you start to see the small improvements – and the self-confidence grows.
Personally, I take so much from being an open book and sharing my experiences with the triathlon community, from the highs to the lows, to nutrition and training, through to the female time of the month and everything else we deal with in life on a day to day basis. I take so much inspiration speaking to the triathlon community on and offline and have developed friendships for life. I feel so supported and love to give back any way I can. I think we all have the power to inspire each other and achieve so much when we believe in ourselves, commit and be consistent in our actions.
I’m fortunate to have athletes and friends to train with and some of the best facilities in the UK on my doorstep in Loughborough as well as support from sponsors and access to experts in performance sport. Ultimately, though, it’s my family and friends who are the rocks, they are the ones who are always there no matter what, they are the foundation to the life I lead today. If you can surround yourself with the right support network, happiness and success won’t be too far around the corner.