Athlete of the Month, July 2008 - Matt Given

Triathlete in aero position on the bike course
February 1, 2017

Mike Ricci



Celebrating Matt Given as he qualified for and is headed to the Ironman World Championships this fall!

D3: What prompted you to get involved in triathlon?

MG: I had been a mountain bike junkie in the early 90's. In 2001, I bought a road bike and shortly thereafter, my next door neighbor dared me to the Boulder Peak. Both he and his wife beat me.

D3: Who is your coach and how long have you been working together? 

MG: Mike Ricci. We started about 6 months before IMAZ in 2006. I believe my first email to him went something like this, "Help"

D3: Favorite distance to race and what is your best race to date?

MG: Favorite distance is definitely Ironman. That short stuff is way too hard. Best race to date has to be IM coeur d’alene this year. I had hoped to have a good day, race the whole race, go under ten hours, and qualify for Kona for the first time. I some how managed to do all of the above.

D3: What is the single hardest workout you've ever done? 

MG: I have two that are tied for first (or last). First is mile repeats on the track. I'll build up to nine prior to an Ironman and try to run them all at around 6:10 pace. Number six or seven is probably the worst. I'll say to myself, can't do three more of these. The other one is a high intensity swim set. 9 x 200 on 3:00/right into 9 x 100 on 1:30/right into 9 x 50 on :45. Barf.

D3: What workout do you like the least, but know you'll get the most out of?

MG: The mile repeat set from above. I think it lifts my speed and teaches me how to suffer at the end of the marathon.

D3: How does your wife and family put up with all the training? I know you coach a few teams for your twin boys so how do you work around that? 

MG: I am lucky enough to have a very flexible career. I can do long rides and other workouts during the week. I'll do workouts on the weekend but nothing too long. I also get up really early to go workouts. I try to make it as little an impact on them as possible. Also, I don't do a lot of extra stuff. I cut out TV. I don't go out with "the guys", etc. I am usually either training, working, hanging out with the family, or doing stuff around the house. Everything else can go. I also make sure we do lots for the kids and wife when it is not training time. All that being said, it's still hard. They sacrifice for my habit. I try and acknowledge that as much as possible; in little ways.

D3: What does a typical training week look like for you?

MG: During an IM build, I'll shoot for over 20 hours/week. That'll be 1 long ride/1 long run/1 over-distance swim. Then I'll also do one high intensity interval set for each sport. For the bike, I like to ride on the trainer with a Spinervals DVD. For the run, it could be hill repeats or the track. Then I fill the rest with two hilly runs of up to 90 minutes and two to three bikes that are 2:30 4 hours. Then two or so swims if I have the time.

D3: What foods do you hate giving up to get to race weight? 

MG: Desert: Ice Cream (Glacier on the Hill) and cookies. My late bowl of cereal I love it.

D3: What is your dream job?

MG: Working on my own, consulting with different businesses on business development and sales organization development issues. Giving sales seminars to companies and individuals; and working with several startups at one time to help them make it. Wait that is my job. I made it! (

D3: Who is the triathlete you'd most like to emulate?

MG: I am jealous of all the ber-bikers. My strength is the run so I am always playing catch up until the end. As far as pro, I love Faris attitude. He just lays it all out there. He also doesn't get into all of the science around the sport regarding power and nutrition, etc. Just lace 'em up and go! I unhooked myself from the HRM for coeur d’alene this year and I think it helped me race faster.

Also, there are lots of great personal stories in triathlon in the back of the pack. From Jon Blais to Sister Madonna, and the Hoyts. If those stories can't get you going, I am not sure what will.

D3: The three people you'd most like to meet?

MG: Will Ferrell, Adam Smith (the economist) and My Dad 40 years ago.

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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