The Golden YearsBy Amy Kloner
Since we are active, fit, and healthy in our 20s, 30s, and 40s, we certainly don’t expect it to all go down the tubes as we age. But traveling the world, racing triathlons, and training hard with athletes half our age isn’t necessarily how we envision life in our 70s, either.
Meet the anomaly: Jon Adamson, age 72. This isn’t your ordinary grandpa.
First, let’s get some statistics out of the way:
- Jon has participated in 8 Olympic World Championships, taking home a bronze three times and a silver twice. Due to a pesky German friend (who’s a great swimmer), Jon has never won, but he is quick to clarify: He hasn’t won YET. He is gunning for Hungary 2010.
- He has raced too many Age Group National Championships to count, with several 3rds and a couple 2nds, but the highlight for him was winning his age group the past three years.
- Ironman? Yeah, he does that, too. Jon has raced Kona 7 times, with two 4ths, two 3rds, and one world title in 2003. He hasn’t been back since. Three hour runs are not his favorite way to spend a training day.
- Jon has raced Clearwater since 2006, winning the World Championship title for his age group all four years. This year, he beat the course record. . . which of course was HIS record from the previous year!
In 27 years of racing triathlons, Jon has never missed a season and has stayed relatively injury-free. He is a firm believer in increasing with age, and really forcing the speed work . Jon says, “It gets harder as you age but it pays big dividends . . Ask Lisa (Marshall), we do bike intervals just about every Tuesday. I do most of my run intervals on the treadmill.”
Jon has been coaching triathletes for over ten years, and is one of The Sport Factory’s most talented coaches. While he has a soft voice and kind demeanor, don’t look for a softball workout plan from Coach Jon. He is, admittedly, a tough coach, and believes that there is no substitute for hard work. Jon also believes in using every available metric. In his own words, “You just cannot manage what you don’t measure. This is true in business and in coaching. With out good feedback on important metrics, it is like driving a car without a steering wheel.”
A lot has changed over the years: newer technology, different coaching methodologies, pointier helmets, and more aerodynamic race wheels, among others. Jon embraces the new technology with the enthusiasm and intelligence of a GA Tech geek. He is a firm believer in training and racing with a power meter. In fact, Jon Adamson and Sport Factory Head Coach Matt Russ are the only coaches in Georgia to be certified by USA Cycling in Coaching with Power, and among only a handful in the country.
Even though it was never his strategy, Jon has coached more Ironman athletes than any other distance. Over the years, all 30 of his Ironman clients have finished what they started. I suppose it’s hard to deliver an excuse to a man who is busting out speed work on the treadmill at age 72. When asked to summarize his approach to training, he simply stated: “I do today what you won’t, so that I can do tomorrow what you can’t.”
Jon Adamson is not slowing down anytime soon. He is looking forward to Age Group Nationals, Olympic distance Worlds, and 70.3 Worlds again as highlight for a 2010 season. There is no doubt that he will continue to put the GOLD into the golden years. Congratulations to Jon on not only another age group world championship title, but a lifetime of achievement and inspiration in the sport of triathlon. The Sport Factory is honored to have such a fierce competitor on our team, as well as a highly skilled, dedicated coach on staff.