The first thing I seek to learn about my athletes is the “why.” Why do you want to complete a triathlon? Additional questions lead to the implementing the “how” of accomplishing that goal. What distance are you hoping to complete? A sprint or all the way to Ironman? Are you new to the sport or are you a seasoned competitor? What are your physical weaknesses? What is your nutrition plan? What sports are you using to cross-train?
After establishing the athlete’s goals, I lay out the building blocks for success and we discuss the significance of each: rest, nutrition, yoga, the right equipment, and listening to your body. The other piece of the sport which is less understood by those new to it, is the amount of time that is required to train for an event of this nature. Even sprint triathlons – if the athlete has never participated in one – requires a certain amount of training time, primarily due to the many moving parts of the event itself. There a race rules to understand, warning signs to look for during the event itself, and TRANSITIONS TRANSITIONS TRANSITIONS.
Having laid this solid foundation, I then work on a training plan for the athlete – is there a particular event (date specific) that they are training towards? Then I will work backwards. Otherwise, I focus on building a very strong training base that we can build up as the athlete moves closer to the event date or into higher mileage.
I’m a very hands-on coach – whenever I can, I like to participate in my athlete's training. This includes being in the pool for swims (if necessary), biking with my athlete, and most certainly running with the athlete. So much of triathlon is getting to a place of mental strength, and that only comes from building trust both in the sport and in your abilities.
I’m a big believer in assessing movement to make sure the athlete is wearing the right shoes or is fitted correctly on the bike. And after countless injuries, I also believe in infusing walking into the run (train like you race!) and NEVER STRETCHING COLD, and if you don’t have a foam roller now, it will become your best friend! Rest and recovery are every bit as important as ticking off the programmed training swims/rides/runs.