About 7 years ago while hanging out with some friends, one of them suggested we should come do a triathlon with him. It sounded interesting so of course I said, ‘I’m in”. My friend looked at me and said, “are you sure?” “Do you know what a triathlon is?” I said “no”, but the challenge was on.
Knowing nothing about the sport, I got on the internet and started searching. I quickly find a plan for beginnings. As I started doing the workouts I realized, I might be over my head, especially with the first swim workout. (pun intended) Over the next twelve weeks, I continued to follow the plan and researched all I could on the internet. In those 12 weeks I was able to go from stopping every lap of a swim session to swimming continuously for 1000 yds. And being able to run a 5k without walk breaks. Race day came and I crushed it. Well, ok I finished, somewhere near the back but I finished! I finished my first sprint triathlon. 700-yard swim, 14-mile bike, and 3.1-mile run. I did it!!
But wait, that really hurt but it also was fun. I was hooked and over the next couple years, I continued to learn about training and racing from the huge amount of information online. I put together training plans and I got decent at the sport, finishing towards the front of local races, with occasional podium and top 10% in some 70.3 events. 70.3 events are 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run.
In 2017, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship was to be held in the US. Having a couple friends already qualified for the event, I set a goal of trying to qualify myself. However, my performances have left me just short of getting a spot. During the winter of 2016 an opportunity opened for me to get a coach. Since, I just could not seem to get any better I decided to give a coach a try. I started working, Nick, a coach with Superfly Coaching, in preparation for IM 70.3 Chattanooga in May 2017.
Race day finally came, and you might have guessed, I had my best race ever. I placed 7th in my age group (AG) which was good enough to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. Two weeks later I did 70.3 Raleigh and had the fastest bike for my AG and came in 6th in my AG. And later that year, at Ironman 70.3 World Championship, I went on to have an amazing race and experience.
With a great 2017 now behind me, Coach Nick and I sat down to set new goals. In 2017 I just missed the podium at 70.3 events, so of course the new goal was to get on the podium. Nick set out a plan and off we went. In the spring of 2018, I finally got my podium spot with a 3rd place at 70.3 Raleigh, and I continued to get better.
Things changed later that year when I had a nasty bike crash while training and had to take about 12 weeks off to recover. During that time, I lost my motivation for the sport. I was not sure if I would continue with triathlons so, I decided to part ways with Nick
The Tri bug got me again early 2019 and I signed up for some races and got back to training. But now I was armed with all Coach Nick’s knowledge. All I needed to do was repeat that training that Nick taught me and I would be back on the podium in no time.
2019, was a good year. I was writing my own training plan, which I enjoy, having fun in the sport, and even took a 5th place at a 70.3 event. 2020 all my races got pushed to 2021. 2021 was going well, I qualify for the 70.3 World Championships. But my racing was flat and was hit or miss on performance. Like before I felt I had plateaued. Wanting to do my best at 70.3 Worlds I gave Nick a call.
With about 12 weeks until the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, Nick laid out a plan and away we went. And within a few weeks I started seeing results and improving again. I went on to have one of my best races ever at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. I hit some of my best power numbers in a race, both on the bike and the run. If only I could swim. I finished 50th place at the world championship!!!
I followed that up 2 weeks later at 70.3 Memphis. Still can’t swim and came out of the water in 52nd place in my AG, I then had the fastest bike and run in my AG and finished 2nd place AG.
So, is a coach worth it? For me it still depends. It depends on my goals at the time. If I want to perform at my very best, yes. If I get stuck in a rut, yes. But I think other times, when I am not as focused but just more enjoying the sport, I can get decent results writing my own plans and continuing my learning of the sport.
Coach Nick or any good coach are not a miracle workers but they can get you to that next level, that little more speed, that extra bit of fitness, or get you out of a plateau to help you to reach your goals.
Thanks Coach Nick, and Superfly Coaching.
Thanks to all3Sports for making sure I have all the equipment I need, and the best bike fit in the industry to optimize aerodynamics and power output.
Dream Big, Dream Fast