Friday, February 22, 2019

New Year's Honours List

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As triathletes, we're all too aware that triathlon is a solo sport. Whether you want to beat your fellow competitors, beat the clock or simply beat the finish line, the difference between having a great race and one you'd rather forget is pretty much down to us on the day.

But we also know that often we wouldn't even get to the start line without support, in one shape or another. Perhaps it's just a loved one's encouragement, perhaps it's a whole team of professional coaches all focused on getting us in the best physical and mental state possible for race day.

I suspect for the majority of us amateur triathletes, it's somewhere in the middle. And so I wanted to take a couple of moments to recognise the efforts and contributions of those who don't necessarily race, yet still invest in our success.

Not that I want to get too misty-eyed! Coaching isn’t cheap and makes up a significant proportion of my already substantial financial commitment to triathlon (I really should have taken up darts or tiddlywinks, it would have been so much cheaper!). But, what I have found is that many coaching ‘contracts’ go far beyond the simple delivery of services purchased and demonstrate that many coaches have a true passion for the success of the athletes they coach.

So this is my very tongue-in-cheek New Year’s Honours List.

I ‘met’ Mark Shepherd (Twitter: @gobi_one) through a running forum and from that encounter he has become my primary training coach. A duathlete, ultra distance runner, athletics coach and self-confessed ‘crap swimmer’, Mark is the guy that has changed my outlook on training, introducing periodisation and helping me to understand that going flat-out 100% of the time isn’t necessarily the most effective training regime.

Where Mark is responsible for my physical training, I’ve been fortunate to work with Kim Ingleby (Twitter: @kimingleby) from Energised Performance on the mental side of things. Kim has taught me how to think positively, use mind maps to prepare for my race and viusalise the outcomes I want. I think the best description of what she does is a ‘brain ninja’ (not my words, but very apt).

Perhaps not the most obvious ally to triathlon, but I’m also excited to start working more closely with qualified Yoga instructor Nancy Braithwaite (Bubalu Bristol) in 2011. I’m excited to see what effect a more concerted effort towards core strength, flexibility and stability might have on my triathlon results. I’m also interested to see what a full biomechanical assessment reveals and how we might go about redressing any imbalances, weaknesses etc.

I’d also like to give a quick shout out for Andy Bullock (Twitter: @andybtricoach) at Endurance Sport Coaching. Although he offers a full range of multi-sports coaching (you will, no doubt, have read his blog before), I’ve just started working with Andy on my swim technique. Very early days, but already we’ve pinpointed an area for improvement and I’m looking forward to seeing how it benefits me as we get into the 2011 tri season.

And finally, there are the people I don’t pay a penny, yet are always there with words of encouragement, praise and occasionally a sympathetic ear. These are the family, loved ones, team mates and even the huge triathlon community on social media sources such as Twitter (@nuuutymel, @rach_e, @bungleduck etc etc).

So there we go, my New Years Honours list for 2011. If you’re looking to take your racing to the next level, give these guys a shout. But not if you’re male and in the 35-39 age group; I don’t need the extra competition! ;-)

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Matt Fisher runs - so it's all his fault! He pretends to be a triathlete, but really he is a husband, father and company VP. But he has raced for the GB Age Group squad a few times and is a two-times qualifier for the IM70.3 world champs