I am probably best to start by explaining my journey. Two years ago I had a BMI rating of obese and I didn’t like what I saw in photos. I got worn out playing with the kids! So, I decided to start swimming to lose weight and I joined the swimmers of a local triathlon club – just for the swimming mind!
I did this for a number of weeks and got to know a few other members that swam in the slow lane with me. One morning I was asked to help out at a local triathlon event and, knowing nothing about triathlons, I agreed with some trepidation. On the morning I arrived early, feeling nervous, as I had no idea what to expect. I took up my post and shouted encouragement to the competitors. What struck me with the event was the inclusive nature – they weren’t all elite athletes and you could see the sense of achievement from everyone finishing. I was hooked…!
I joined a Couch To 5k Group, bought a second hand bike and entered a Sprint distance race for the following season (2015). I worked through the winter and in May 2015 completed my first race. That year I did two more races. By now I was properly hooked on the sense of achievement and the weight loss that I was seeing too. In the close season of 2015 I joined a local gym and met Phil who ran the Triathlon Club within. We discussed a more structured plan and approach to my training, however, I thought this was for the more elite athletes and really not something I would benefit from.
As my fitness developed at the Triathlon Club sessions, I re-evaluated my goals for 2016 and I decided to enter a local middle distance 70.3 race. At this point decided it would be a good idea to employ some help and I had no hesitation in turning to Phil. My goal at this time was to just get round and complete the race. Since then, I can only describe the support I have received from Phil as “truly exceptional”.
Phil structured a programme around my fitness levels and the Goal. I sent him Heart Rate fitness data from fitness tests he asked me to conduct and he worked out training zones for me to work at. Previously, I had grabbed training sessions where I could and went as hard as I could – every session! Phil, however, was starting to ask me to train the majority of the time at lower intensities. This took some time to adjust to and was something of a leap of faith. I questioned the benefit of only training at higher intensities once or twice a week, however, on reflection, I was wearing myself out with what I was previously doing and having an expert to guide me has been a revelation!
Phil sets my training plan around my lifestyle. I tell him when I am busy at work or have family commitments and he works out the plan around this. He is always mindful of building in recovery time from the higher intensity sessions, meaning I can go at them harder on those days; knowing that the lower intensity sessions will allow me to recover fully and re-charge the batteries. It’s been great to have the plan set out – all I have to do is look at the week ahead and do what I have been set out. The sessions are always well structured and there is clear guidance of what I need to do or how I need to do it. I then send the data back to Phil and he reviews my progress.
I have also found Phil to be really caring. He really cares about my progress, well-being and achievements. He wished me well on race day and went out of his way to re-enforce my confidence.
So, this is all very well – but what about results? If you pay for a coach you want results…
Since working with Phil I’ve lost a further 2 stone (4 ½ in total), admittedly my diet has changed a great deal too, however, I decided if I was going to put the effort into my training I should ensure I fuelled that training as best I could. Most importantly, I completed my first 70.3 in 6 hours – beating my revised goal of 6:30 by some margin!
I feel fitter, stronger and healthier and have now decided to enter the full 140.6 Ironman Weymouth – something I never thought I would have the confidence to attempt. With Phil as my coach though, I am confident that at least the plan will be effective and that all I have to do is follow the Plan!
If you feel, like I did, that you are not at a level to employ a coach, reconsider! Your efforts are worthy of the extra support that Phil can bring, whatever your goals might be. The structure, discipline and support he provides will, I am sure, transform your performances and achievements. Moreover, if you’re as lucky as I’ve been, it will transform your life too!