Race, Triathlon & Lifestyle Training


Blog 10: Interview with Fillnow Coaching’s newest addition, Matthew Russell

FC: Matt, thank you for your time today. We are thrilled to have you as a part of our team!

MR: Anytime! Happy to be on board!

FC: So how did you get started in triathlon?

MR: It was a gradual transition. I started running in high school. I started cycling in college and continued to run. After I graduated in 2007 with my Masters, I did duathlons for a number of years. Then I needed a new challenge and that was swimming. It certainly was a challenge for me and in 2010 I did my first triathlon (Florida 70.3.)

FC: You had immediate multisport success, winning your debut professional duathlon (2008 ITU Duathlon National Championships) and then qualifying for your pro card in your second triathlon. Quite impressive! What is your favorite workout and why?

MR: My favorite workout is either a long ride or a long run exploring new trails and roads. I love the adventure & exploring side while testing the limits of my body on those long endurance days.

FC: There is nothing better then getting lost on new trails during a long run!! So what is your daily diet like?

MR: I normally eat 5-6 meals a day. I eat granola with almond milk in the mornings.  Followed by lots of snacks. Guacamole with chips, some type of nuts, PBJ, protein shake, banana, etc.  I am not super strict with my diet though.  If I’m hungry and see something in the refrigerator, I’ll eat it! I probably eat 6-8,000 calories a day.

FC: That is awesome! I think you need to challenge Michael Phelps to a swim/eating/bike/eating/run/eating contest. I can train you. The highlight of my coaching career is preparing my client for a 34:03 5 miler while eating a dozen donuts along the way. He holds the North Carolina Masters record. As we are on the topic of food, what is your favorite splurge?

MR: You can’t go wrong with Ben & Jerrys! Phish Food or Half Baked

FC: Yum! You must try the Peanut Butter Half Baked — gobs of peanut butter mixed in with cookie dough and fudge brownies…..I guess we must move on from salivating over ice cream flavors…What’s the craziest race schedule you have ever completed?

MR: Back to Back Ironmans. In 2012 I raced Ironman Mont Tremblant and finished 3rd. That next weekend I flew across the country and raced Ironman Canada. Everyone thought I was crazy but I ended up winning it! I kind of shocked myself and everyone else.

FC: A podium and a win in back to back weekends – wow that is fabulous! Will you be recommending back to back Ironman races for your clients?

MR: Ha, ha.

FC: What drives you?

MR: Knowing that today is a gift so I try to live each day as my last. I learned that lesson at a really young age when I lost my mother to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) when I was 13.

FC: I am so sorry for your loss. It is wonderful to see how that tragic experience has shaped you into the man you are today. So how did you meet your wonderful and beautiful fiance, Gillian?

MR:  match.com haha! No it wasn’t that way.  Gillian and I met through mutual friends…through triathlon.  Gillian used to do triathlons but now she supports me and I wouldn’t be the athlete I am without her!

FC: I think she deserves the Sherpa-of-the-Year-Award. What is a quote you seek to live your life by?

MR: “The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

FC: Love that quote, and what a great book! So what do you love about coaching?

MR:  I love helping people achieve their goals! It’s rewarding to know that you’re part of a dream that became a reality.

FC: We cannot wait for you to be a part of those realities! What most excites you about being a part of the Fillnow Coaching Team?

MR: Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by you girls?! Haha.  All of you are great and it’s important to be with a good group of people who you can trust and rely on as well!

FC: Ha, ha, we are beyond thrilled to have you aboard! Welcome aboard Matt!