How did you get involved in the sporting industry?
From a very early age I have been training and competing as an athlete on a national level. I spent eight years on the Australian Swim Team, competing at two Olympic Games, in Atlanta and Sydney. My introduction to business in the sporting industry comes from my days as an athlete when I used to test these types of devices.
Before joining adidas in September 2009, I ran my own consulting company, specialising in strategic brand marketing and sales distribution, and prior to that I worked in Polar Heart Rate Monitor distribution in Australia. At adidas I am the global marketing coach for miCoach, a small device that delivers real-time audible coaching as you exercise, via headphones or combined with your own MP3 player or smart phone. I am currently based in Germany, a very different place to my home country. The Germans were proud to tell me it is the furthest place in central Europe from a beach – not the nicest thing to tell an Australian!
What does a day in your life look like?
The last 12 months have been extraordinary because of the working demands. The European culture allows for longer lunch breaks and I take advantage of this time to do some training. The weather is obviously very different to Australia, so I try to do a lot of trail running during the winter and some cycling during the summer months. We have to practise what we preach, so it is important for us to have some exercise time during the day.
Why are you so passionate about what you do?
I know training concepts such as the miCoach work. It gives you feedback and controls intensity, which will help make you a better athlete and add to the quality of your life. We have a unique concept and yes, we need to do business, but our product has the opportunity to influence people’s lives in a positive way. Working with a global sporting power such as adidas is a unique opportunity!
Most memorable moment in your career and in sport?
It has to be the Olympic Games in Sydney! Representing your country in sport is a wonderful honour, but doing so in front of a home crowd is an amazing experience! From a business perspective, I had some wonderful experiences through the business I was managing in Australia. Managing a company at the age of 26 meant a significant amount of pressure, but the success that followed was memorable.
What does your current training look like?
My running career started as a swimmer when we used running as cross-training. Swimmers only use about a third of their body weight in the pool. Running is a great way of cross-training because the impact forces your body to cope in different ways. I started running more after the Sydney Games, when I retired.
The season determines how much I run. I am not training as much as I should because of work demands, but I try to run at least 30-45 minutes a day. I keep the sessions short and sharp, and clear my mind when running. I usually run on my own and I love to run with music, and of course, the miCoach pacer. When the weather is good I do more endurance bike rides over the weekend.
Has running influenced your career and work ethic?
Without a doubt! Sport teaches commitment and discipline. Sport has also afforded me opportunities to travel and to be exposed to different cultures. That has helped in my work environment where I am constantly working with different international companies. Sport teaches you to be social – though swimming is an individual sport, we travelled and operated as a team. That is very similar to how we operate in business; we all have our own little patch to work in, but we operate in a big corporate structure where everything adds to the success of the company.
Any memorable running races that stand out in your mind?
My father-in-law organised a trail running event in Adelaide. On the morning of the race, I cycled 130km and was late for the race. To get to the starting line we had to climb about 600m and the first three quarters of the race was uphill! We lined up and the gun went off! Needless to say, it was a painful start!
What would you say to someone who says that they don’t have the time to start running?
There is always time for exercise and you have to hold yourself up to that commitment. One can get significant results by doing small amounts of exercise often! It takes discipline and self-talk, but you need to find that level of commitment.
What is the first thing you do after a run?
I lie down and focus on my breathing. I use it as a form of meditation. Over the last couple of years I have used this is an important part of life in general.
Any advice to novices?
There is no level of fitness too low to start. Paralysis is caused by fear and many people feel intimidated walking into a store and asking advice on gear and how to start an exercise regime. We all have to start somewhere. You don’t have to strive towards finishing a marathon; it is just about doing something and keeping active.