Interview with Elite athlete, Scott Cadby
Scott Cadby profile
Scott Cadby is an elite triathlete, a father of two and a psychotherapist. In his long career, he’s competed in countless triathlons and cycling races and won many of these, especially as a junior. Here, we talk to Scott about his athletic career, what success means to him, and how he’s stayed motivated during multiple lockdowns.
How it all began
Scott’s love of triathlons dates back to 1995. When he’d just turned 13, his swim coach encouraged him to enter a local triathlon, even though the youngest age group available was U17.
“I did that event, won, and was hooked,” Scott says. “Triathlon became a big passion and I quickly became obsessed with my training.”
A couple of years later, he was selected as a young athlete with potential to attend the Olympics in the sport of cycling. He underwent physiological testing in a lab at the Victorian Institute of Sport and his focus turned purely to cycling.
“Alas, school and then university got in the way and I did not make the Olympics, but I continued to ride and race for fun and fitness.
The road back to triathlons
Scott’s focus on cycling endured for almost 20 years. “It was only about four years ago that I decided to return to the sport of triathlon and I am so glad that I did.”
Since then, he’s competed in every single race in the 2XU Triathlon Series. “It is such a fantastic series that is super inclusive, fun, well run and close to home.” But in 2021, he also set his sights on completing his first marathon, a distance that previously “intimidated him”. While it was originally scheduled for October, it has been postponed due to COVID-19 lockdowns, and will now take place in the middle of the triathlon season.
This means Scott has found it challenging to find time for both marathon and triathlon training. That said, “the marathon is my A race of the year so it has been the priority.”
Motivation during lockdown
It may not come as a surprise to learn that Scott didn’t find it difficult to stay motivated during the lockdowns of 2020/21.
“My training is consistent every week of the year. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have an almost unhealthy obsession with exercise and training. I actually find it more difficult to take a day off from training and, for me, a day does not feel complete or satisfactory unless I have trained and pushed myself physically.”
Scott found 14 days of home isolation the most challenging part of the pandemic. Initially, he experienced anxiety and a low mood because he thought he couldn’t train.
“But then I decided to run each day up and down my 20-metre driveway. The great thing about this was that my kids could run with me or cheer me on from the front doorstep.” Scott says the furthest he could run in the driveway was 5km at a time because the constant stop-start nature when turning was brutal on his joints. This is still 250 laps of his driveway, so quite the accomplishment!
More preparation means more fun
“The most important part when preparing for any event is the training. The more physically prepared you are, the better you will do and the more fun you will have.”
Scott recounts the Peaks Challenge ride he did five years ago, which involved 235km of cycling and over 4,000 metres of vertical elevation. He did the race with a friend, who was not sufficiently prepared and “suffered all day” as a result. Scott had to push his friend’s bike towards the end of the Peaks Challenge race just to get across the finish line.
“I think most relatively fit and healthy people could push themselves to complete various events, but they may find it difficult or not enjoy it if they’re not adequately prepared.”
Balance is key
Scott knows that more training and preparation equates to an easier and more successful event. But these days, there are limits to how much time he’s willing to invest in one event.
“My highest priority is my children, so I set out to fulfil every one of their needs and everything else comes after that. Athletically I train as much as I can (10-12 hours a week) to perform as well as I can – these days I rarely race to win, but I am okay with that.
“I enjoy pushing myself to the limit and get great satisfaction out of that. I could perform better if I dedicated my time and effort into my training but I am not willing to do that as that would take away from my ability to be as present and involved in my children's lives.”
What you put in is what you get out
Scott’s ethos for life and training is, 'what you put in is what you get out', and this helps him in the leadup to any event.
“When it comes to competing in a race or event, my motivation is very much personal. For me, I think about my children when things get tough, both in training and races, and this spurs me on big time.”
“Being an athlete is just a small part of who I am”In addition to being an elite athlete, Scott is a father of two and works full-time as a psychotherapist.
“I wear many hats and spend the least amount of time training or racing compared to working full-time and being a father, so being an 'athlete' is only a small part of who I am,” he says.
Scott has worked in the mental health field for almost 20 years, and as a psychotherapist in a high school for 13 years. He focuses on adolescent mental health for students aged 12–18. He sees this age group as having “the greatest need and potential for positive change. Our young people are going through more these days than any previous generation and as such need great support and guidance.”
He says there is “some crossover” with the resilience he’s developed as an athlete and his work with adolescent clients. “I also often encourage many of my clients to get active, as it can be a great way of managing mental health issues.”