I’m a full time professional coach and I came to the glorious sport of triathlon at the ripe old (young!) age of 45. I’d always enjoyed being active whether it was walking, racket sports or a bit of running or cycling. I had a friend who was doing some triathlons but figured I could never take part in one as I couldn’t swim front crawl (nobody told me it was ok to do breaststroke which I was already pretty good at). After the 2012 Olympics I decided to get some front crawl lessons, buy a “proper” road bike and entered my first event the following summer which I absolutely loved.
After that first race, I definitely got the bug and it coincided with my children being a bit older and I therefore had more time to train. I took a fairly sensible approach and built up from Sprint distance to Ironman over four seasons. By 2017 I had completed 2 Ironman events and multiple races at other distances. I’m generally a “middle of the pack’ finisher but leave a race knowing I’ve given it all I’ve got.
At the start of 2018 I had a serious accident on my bike which I was lucky to survive. I broke my neck, fractured my back and wrist and spent 12 weeks in a halo and it was a full six months before I was able to run again or cycle outdoors. It was during this time that I started being more intentional about coaching and gaining qualifications.
The road back to training and racing following my accident taught me a great deal about how I “tick” but also made me realise that each of us respond to situations in different ways and that only a truly individual approach and methodology will produce the best results.
In 2019 I qualified for the GB age group team at the European championships standard distance race. Given this was just over a year since my accident, I felt it rubber stamped my return from what could have been the end of triathlon all together. Over the last few years I’ve raced as part of the GB age Team on a number of occasions.
I’m a Level 2 diploma British Triathlon coach and am currently undertaking the High Performing Coach Programme (used to be called the Level 3 award). This means I’m fully qualified and insured to provide individual coaching and training plans for triathletes. (I’m only putting this in bold to stress that sadly, not everyone that offers coaching for triathlon meets this standard. Whether you choose to work with us or not, I’d advise you check that the coach you do work with has the appropriate credentials). I’m also a qualified Strength and Conditioning coach and have undertaken additional training with British Triathlon to facilitate Open Water swim coaching.
Also in 2019 I won the Triathlon England North East region Coach of the Year award and was runner up in the national category. The fact that I’d been nominated by people I’d coached meant far more to me than the award itself.
I’ve spent most of my adult working life in training and education and so coaching triathlon always seemed like it was going to be something that I’d enjoy. This has definitely been the case, to the point that I gain more satisfaction from watching others’ achievements than I do from my own. This background in education has also led to me becoming part of the British Triathlon coach development team – facilitating training courses for new coaches.
I simply enjoy coaching and that’s why I do it. Whether it’s a group of runners on a hill session, a bunch of first timers taking on a challenge like the Coast to Coast bike ride or “encouraging” a swim group through a tough pool swim set, I love watching people achieve what they maybe had thought was not possible.
Working one to one with athletes takes that “buzz” to a new level. In that one to one context I get to work with the athlete in real detail. I’m fascinated by what makes each individual athlete “tick” and there’s so much to consider. Things like how triathlon fits into their lives, what their individual goals/dreams/struggles/challenges are, their motivations, their lifestyle, their strengths and weaknesses, their injuries, their disappointments, their successes. It’s like getting a whole load of cooking ingredients and working out what’s the best meal you can make with it.
Anyway, I’ve probably typed way too much about myself. Probably better to read what people I’ve worked with say if you want to know what I’m really like.