JONATHAN MCALISTER is a member of the Tri4Him Junior Elite Team and recently finished first in the 15-19 male division at the 2016 USAT Age Group Sprint National Championships. He is completing high school through Liberty Online University and lives in Argyle, Texas.
When did you begin triathlon and what attracted you to the sport?
I began triathlons in the spring of 2013. In the fall of 2012 I had started cross country and got injured. Then my cousin told me about triathlons. At first I was a little skeptical, but the cross training allowed me to stay fast on the run without running as much as I had in cross country.
How many races have you competed in? Which ones?
I have competed in about forty races. The main ones have been the USA Triathlon Junior series races, Lifetime Austin and Dallas, and USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals.
How did you find out about TriDot?
I found out about TriDot through my coach Jeff Booher.
How did TriDot form/change your training philosophy and racing strategy?
The TriDot format has changed the way I train. I can train less and be more effective.
For you personally, what is the most valuable aspect TriDot provides?
I believe the most valuable part of TriDot is all the analytics behind the program. TriDot is truly personalized training.
Do you have a coach? If so, what benefits and values does he provide?
Yes, I believe the value of a coach is the fact that Jeff can watch me when I am training. Jeff sees my technique in all three of the sports and coaches me on whatever I may need. Each of us needs someone to objectively assess what otherwise would just be personal opinion.
What has been your greatest obstacle to overcome in triathlon training and racing?
The greatest obstacle by far is finding balance. Triathlon is a time consuming sport. Effective time management is essential to do well in it.
What brings you the greatest sense of satisfaction in triathlon?
My greatest sense of satisfaction is when I cross the finish line and know I did my best—all for the glory of God.
How has triathlon influenced other aspects of your life?
Triathlon has increased my discipline in my life. I believe my time management skills have increased greatly. Also, triathlons have allowed me to make a lot of new friends my age that participate in the sport.
Which of the three triathlon disciplines is your strongest? Which is the most challenging? My strongest discipline is the bike. I enjoy going fast, especially on a technical course. Swimming is the most challenging for me. I just started to swim in the spring of 2013. I had never swum competitively or really swam much at all before that.
How do you mentally handle/address pain during a race?
During a race I try to think about catching the person in front of me. I try to take the pain of the race one step at a time.
Tell us about your recent success at the USAT Age Group Sprint National Championships.
USAT Age Group Sprint National was a whole new experience for me. I competed in USAT Draft Legal Youth and Junior Nationals three times coming into this race. I had never participated in a non-draft legal national race. The bike leg was faster than the draft legal races. The bike leg in this race made it much harder for me to run afterwards because I was not able to draft. Once I got into the run, I just tried to hold on and do my best. In hindsight, I probably should have let up a little on the bike to have a faster run. However, as my swimming coach, Tom Radam, says, ”Lessons learned, lessons applied.”
How has your faith influenced/been influenced by your involvement in triathlon?
My faith has allowed me to influence many people on and off the triathlon course. I would not have made it as far as I have in the sport if it was not for God enabling me.
What would you say to encourage other youth who are thinking about trying triathlon?
I would say that triathlons can be a blast as a youth, especially if you’re part of a team. The sport is a lot easier to do when you have teammates by your side persevering with you.