Beth Potter has never been one to fall victim to complacency.

But this year, more than ever, she’s constantly reminding herself that although she’s proven herself to be the world’s very best female triathlete, she must approach both training and competition like she’s yet to scale those heights.

“I really don’t focus on the fact that I’m world champion because I’d never want to rest on my laurels,” the 32-year-old says. 

“So I’ve been training like I’m a number two but with the confidence of a number one.”

Potter had the year of her life, in a sporting sense anyway, in 2023.

Having only switched to triathlon from track and field in 2017, the Leeds-based Glaswegian achieved something that, to outsiders anyway, seemed an impossibility; she became world champion, winning the World Series Finals last September to clinch the world title.

There are, of course, innumerable up-sides to winning a world crown; the huge boost to Potter’s self-belief for one.

But even six months on from that incredible win, Potter is still coming to terms with her achievement and she admits that becoming the very best in the world can bring its own challenges.

“It still feels odd to think of myself as world champion and I’m not sure if it’s sunk in even yet,” she says.

“I have been worried this winter that I’m not training hard enough or I’m not doing enough training – I found that I was getting myself into a real comparison mode where I was comparing everything to exactly what I did last year and I was getting so bogged down with that. 

“But the world title has given me the confidence of knowing that, when I’m standing on the start line, that I can do it, I can beat anyone.”

The Herald: Beth Potter is the new world triathlon champion

Potter’s winter has been typically demanding; after all, no one becomes world champion in one of the most physically testing sports on the planet by taking it easy.

Two stints in Spain have allowed Potter to escape the UK winter and with her season beginning today, at the World Series event in Abu Dhabi, Potter will soon find out if the hours upon hours of training she’s put in over the past few months have translated into her race form. 

Having found a tried-and-tested formula in terms of what exactly works in training, however, Potter resisted the temptation this pre-season to make any significant change to her training plan, particularly as she knows that in Olympic year, the room for any slip-ups is negligible. And as a result, she’s optimistic that she’s moved on yet further from 2023.

“My winter’s been great – it’s been more consistent than last year which is a good sign,” she says.

“I’m going with the approach of not changing too much. My team and I know what’s worked over the last couple of years and with this being such a big year, there’s no point doing anything too differently. 

“The evidence shows I’m better than I was. It’s always hard to know exactly where you are when you haven’t raced but overall, I feel like I’m in a good position and I’m looking forward to racing.

“I’ve been feeling a bit nervous so it’ll be good to get out there and shake those nerves off.”

Potter is one of the least diva-esque world champions you could ever hope to meet and for all the glitz and glamour that come with a world crown, she’s never lost sight of what’s put her in this position, and that’s training.

Which is why, despite the myriad of offers that have come her way over the past few months, she’s turned down countless numbers of them.

Despite her resistance to getting caught up in anything resembling a celebrity lifestyle, though, Potter admits her life still has changed since being crowned world champion.

“Day to day, I’m still exactly the same person – I still do the same things and still hang out with the same friends,” she says. 

“But my outside life has accelerated in that there’s now so many more demands on me. 

“For example, on my recent training camp in Spain, of the 21 days, I only had five days where it was just me with no media or anything like that. 

“That side of it is a lot, and I’ve had to say no to offers because my goal is not doing those things, my goal is doing well at the Olympics this summer. 

“I keep getting asked to take day trips to Paris, but most of the time, it just doesn’t fit. I’ve done one which was really cool but I can’t be everywhere, do everything and train as well.

“So it’s about trying to find the balance.”

With the new season beginning, Potter has the luxury no other female triathlete in the country has in that she’s already been selected for this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris, which are now less than five months away.

And so while she remains unclear as to what exactly the next five months will look like in terms of competing, she’s remains laser-focused on the one day that matters - the day of the Olympic triathlon.

Potter knows that, as world champion, all eyes will be trained upon her for this entire season but that’s something she’s come to terms with.

“I feel ok about having a target on my back,” she says. 

“I’m obviously nervous about it and it’s going to be hard but I just keep reminding myself to go back to the evidence – I’ve done all the training I can do.

“It’s nice to know that, for me, there’s only one day this year that really matters and that’s the Olympics – I don’t need to worry about anything else.”