Meet Jason Pohl: professional Ironman with sights set on World Championships 2020.
What do you achieve in your 8 hour work day? Maybe you send a few emails, sit through a few meetings, get a bit distracted by social media, take lunch break, do a bit of work, flirt with your office crush, do a bit more work and head home feeling like you've had a productive day. Well since you sat down with your morning coffee Jason Pohl might have swam the equivalent of 76 lengths of an olympic sized pool, cycled 180 km (112 miles) and added an afternoon run to top it off. A full marathon to be exact: 42,2 km (26.2 miles). Jason's the kind of guy who considers pushing himself to near coma-inducing levels of exertion the 'best experience of his life'. He's a professional Ironman Triathlete, and while he may not be a Marvel superhero who flies around in a mega-tech suit, we'd say he's probably as close to superhuman as it gets. We're delighted to sponsor Jason with SOLE custom moldable footbeds to make sure he has the support he needs to do his job at the highest level of his ability, and we caught up to get to know him a little better.
The Lightest Tread (TLT): First off, tell us a bit about yourself.
Jason Pohl (JP): I am 28-years old and was born in Red Deer, AB, Canada on a small farm. I grew up playing elite hockey as a goalie until the age of 22-years old. My hockey career became less serious after undergoing major lung surgery and battling lung issues for an additional 2 years. Once I got better, it gave me the motivation to challenge myself. I signed up for my first triathlon in 2013 and haven’t looked back. It has been an incredible journey of pushing past limits, finding new potentials, and working my way up the pro ranks. I am now entering my 4th season as a professional athlete and making a serious push to win Ironman Canada in August of 2020 and get back to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, where I've been before as an amateur, but this time as a professional.
TLT: So what exactly is Ironman and what are the distances involved?
JP: Ironman Triathlon is considered to be the most challenging sporting event that takes place in a single day. The Ironman distances are a 3.8km swim (2.4 miles), 180km bike (112 miles), and a marathon (42.2km/26.2 miles). Pros race it in anywhere from 8hrs to 8hrs 30mins depending on the course where we compete for prize money. I have the honor to race it internationally, with races all over the world. The big one (the super bowl of triathlon) is the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii every October. This is my main goal for 2020.
My heart was beating irregularly and I almost ended up in a coma. Once I was revived, in the middle of the night in the Kona hospital I made the declaration to myself that I would become a professional ironman athlete.
TLT: Tell us about your path to turning pro.
JP: After completing my first triathlon in 2013, I fell in love with the challenge and sport. That winter I used a bit of my student loan to buy my first triathlon bike. In 2014 I dove head first into the sport and signed up for my first Ironman in Whistler, BC. Not having much of a clue about the sport and new to endurance sports, I completed the Ironman in 10hrs 20 mins which was good enough to get second in my age group. I had qualified for the Ironman World Championships as an amateur and did not know much about the World Championships at that time. In the fall of 2014, I had the honor of racing the Ironman Worlds in Kona, Hawaii, which was the single best experience of my life at that time. I ended up in the hospital after the race, almost unconscious due to low potassium levels. My heart was beating irregularly and I almost ended up in a coma. Once I was revived, in the middle of the night in the Kona hospital I made the declaration to myself that I would become a professional ironman athlete.
Over the next 3 years as an amateur I was able to get my professional card and start racing as a professional. I had also spent that time building up my own wealth management practice. It was a great life building both careers, but In the fall of 2018 I made the decision to leave my wealth management career and sell off everything to take a leap of faith and pursue my dreams as a professional athlete.
TLT: Give us some insight into your training routine.
JP: I train anywhere from 30-40 hours per week of swimming, cycling, running, strength & conditioning, and yoga. My typical week volume is about 25km swimming, 15-18hrs on the bike, and 70-100km of running. It is 7 days a week.
TLT: So what does 2020 hold in store for you?
JP: Looking ahead for 2020, I am racing twice in Mexico (March & May), in Texas, and in Brazil at the end of May where I will be going for my World Championship qualification. In the later part of 2020, Ironman Canada is on the docket to push for the overall win.
TLT: What special precautions do you have to take to care for your body when you’re putting it through such a lot?
JP: Massage once per week, proper equipment, stretching and yoga, and proper rest/sleep for recovery.
Since making the switch to SOLE insoles I have found my feet can tolerate a lot more, I can relax my feet into the shoe when running and cycling which has enabled me to be more efficient.
TLT: And what role do insoles play?
JP: Insoles are so important to our overall well-being. Our feet are our foundation. Lots of issues come from lack of support or stability within the foot and ankle. With all the mileage I put on, I have found out how crucial insoles are. I use insoles in my running shoes, cycling shoes, and everyday shoes. This gives me the proper comfort and support I need. Since making the switch to SOLE insoles, I have found my feet can tolerate a lot more, I can relax my feet into the shoe when running and cycling which has enabled me to be more efficient. Having a custom insole allows me to pronate in my run much more effectively. It has taken A LOT of pain away from my joints. Also with insoles on my everyday shoe, I don’t get back pain when standing for prolong periods of time.
TLT: But it's about both training and recovery, correct?
JP: Recovery is huge and one of the most important aspects of training. If you recover faster, the more effective training you can handle. And if you are training more effectively, you are becoming much stronger. That is the game! I love the Catalina Sport Flip for recovery! It takes the stresses of walking out of your legs post training when you are trying to recover.
TLT: Why SOLE in particular? What attracted you to our company?
JP: I approached SOLE because of your products & who you are as a company. I have been through different insole products but the diversity of SOLE’s products, how they mold to your feet, and how they have different insoles for different activities really helps. Since using your products and really testing them out, I can say they are doing something great! I also love that SOLE as a company has a dedication to impacting the environment with your ReCORK program. Seeing your company’s dedication to impacting our planet’s environment in a positive way is something I really value and appreciate.