Coaching athletes takes time and i don’t just mean on a daily basis. It takes time to build the right relationship, understand their personal lives and how triathlon can be fitted into their lives without it taking over. It also takes time to work out what training works for each athlete and also lay the foundations so that future success can be enjoyed.
Most athletes don’t want to wait and are switching coaches every 6 months or a year hoping for that ‘magic’ ingredient they rarely find. So when you do get an athlete that is in it for the long term, buys into the process and sees it as a two way partnership then as a coach it’s great.
When that athlete continues to improve but also have massive enjoyment from what they are doing then it’s even better. Here are a few words from them following a race last weekend.
I don’t like running. For me, running was always supposed to be the thing you did at the end of a triathlon so you went home with a medal! So you might ask why I’d be writing a report on a running race. The thing is, I never learn! I’ve done more than double figures of half marathons, Ashby 20 previously in 2017 and several marathons along the way too. I’m certainly not a natural runner and when I watch good runners run I’m always amazed at how they do it. I simply can’t make my body do what theirs does and it makes me envious of their ability.
Earlier this year I did Dubai Marathon. I trained really hard for it, did all my sessions and was in a good place for the race day. I wasn’t even too nervous, which is another of my undesirable traits! That race went completely to bits on me as the sun baked me senseless and instead of the expected 20 degrees, we had nearer 30. I don’t have the genes for that sort of temperature! So, as soon as I got home, I did the natural thing for a non-runner and entered Ashby 20 and Manchester marathon!
My training went well except for a 3 week period where I had some sort of bug that wiped me out but other than that my sessions have been good and I’ve covered a good distance. I arrived on the start line in good shape and unusually, relaxed. I had run 2:57, 2 years before so I was keen to beat my time. Realistically, I thought I might get 2:50 or so.
When the race started I seemed to relax into an even pace. A significant number of my interval training sessions leading up to the race had been about running at my race pace, then running faster and then returning to the target pace at the end. I was confident that if I stuck to the plan, I’d be able to get my pace right. I also concentrated on my heart rate for the first 10 miles of the undulating course and at halfway I was only 4 seconds adrift of my target time – and, importantly, I was still relaxed and happy.
I allowed my HR to rise a bit over the second 10 miles, but never let it go crazy and at mile 19 I was nearly done, which was handy in a 20 mile race! The last 800m are downhill or flat and as I came into the finish chute I couldn’t believe how well the run had gone. I crossed the line at 2:44:02 for a 13 minute pb at the course and a 2 minute pb over the distance which I’d achieved on a totally flat course (10 times round a local reservoir!!).
To say I was pleased with my performance is an under exaggeration and although I’m actually looking forward to Manchester marathon on the 7th April, please don’t tell anyone as they might think I’ve started to like running!