The beauty of coaching is the diversity of working with an array of different athletes all of whom not only have their own goals and agendas, but also wish to experience the coaching journey in a variety of different ways.
I knew instantly when I first sat down with Paul Taylor in August 2015 that his journey was going to be completely different to any other of my athletes. I first met Paul whilst coaching at David Lloyd's triathlon club and although he was quite new to the sport of triathlon he was very focused and really wanted to enjoy the coaching process more than the racing outcomes.
Having already completed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the Himalayas, thus from a mountaineering background, I knew that Paul was very much suited towards endurance sports. However it was only when I started to really focus on Paul's goals that I began to discover just how resilient and maybe even stubborn Paul can be!
Paul's 2016 season was a great success not only outcome wise but also in terms of training with mates, travelling to new places and engaging wholeheartedly with the coach-athlete relationship.
I was really pleased with the way in which Paul engaged with all of his training and recovery in order to deliver a really good 2016 season. However if truth be known, Paul was a little disappointed with one of his outcomes, the Outlaw Half. As Paul's coach I take full responsibility for this as I truly believe that we got a little bit excited with his training progress. As a result of that we overstretched his "stretch goal" in that Paul at the beginning was looking just to finish the race strong and happy! As he continued to make more and more progress on approaching his first ever middle distance race I knew that he was in a very strong physical and mental position. I therefore asked Paul to re-adjust his goal finish times according to this; school girl error! The pressure of achieving a much more time/outcome focused race put too much pressure on Paul which meant that his run was not as strong as it had been in training brick sessions. Therefore on the day Paul was not able to deliver the newly sought after times. In discussions with Paul post-race, he expressed "I don't think you need to take responsibility for my outlaw time. But I do now agree that the pressure of the stretch time meant I over cooked the bike and hence delivered below par on the run - simple as that." More recently, Paul has reflected on his 2016 season and stated "...looking back at it now I'm very proud of what we achieved in a relatively short time."
We evaluated Paul's outlaw half race together and decided for Paul's next race, which was to be completed in Snowdonia, that this would be a process based and non-specific outcome race for him. Result! Paul absolutely loved this race and couldn't wait to get back to being strong and enjoying both his training and racing. I believe it to be on the back of this race that Paul started to search for his 2017 race of the year! Paul had already muted the fact that he desired to do a full ironman distance race in the year in which he was going to turn 50. As his coach I would have preferred for him to have stuck with the middle distance racing for another year in order to maintain and enhance his strength, power and endurance in that particular distance. However, I knew how much Paul had researched several different Ironman distance races and therefore when he sent me through the link to his desired triathlon race I could not say no…
And so the journey to Triathlon X on Saturday, 17 June 2017 has begun. Paul is embracing the training for such an event completely, I think probably because he hasn't really realised what he is letting himself in for, tee hee…
I have watched the video, looked at the race profile, listened to many other triathletes talk about the extent of this particular race, and I feel it is going to be such an amazing event for Paul to take part in that that we want to share his journey with you as the wider Triathlon community. Paul has been laying down the foundations over the last couple of months through lots of technique and aerobic training as well as working with a fantastic one-to-one strength and conditioning coach at David Lloyd. We have been considering increasing his power which he will need for the bike ride as well as ensuring that he is strong enough and resilient enough to be able to maintain the amount of training he will need in order to complete this amazing event.
And so the journey towards becoming a triathlon X Ironman has begun for Paul Taylor in his 50th year. I cannot wait to share this journey with you to give you some insight into Paul's training how this impacts on his family and work life, the food he is eating to maintain his energy levels, his key training sessions, the required recovery, the training sessions which imitate the profile of the race, race simulations, build-up races, his tiredness, grumpiness, excitement, the highs and lows of becoming an Ironman etc. We will cover them all over the next six months as we progress closer and closer to this amazing event!
There is no putting your feet up now Mr Taylor you have registered for this event, time to think strong, powerful and exciting thoughts! Your journey has only just begun...
Triathlon X - http://www.wasdalex.co.uk/
Outlaw - http://www.osbevents.com/