Last month, James Gardner from Danville, San Francisco (California) conquered the 140.6 mile Coeur d’Alene course in 12 hours to become a first-time Ironman.
Like many age-group triathletes James had never followed a structured training plan before but knew he needed to if he was to juggle family time, career, business air-travel and a house move, if he was to make the successful leap from short course and half-iron distance racing to a full Ironman.
“As a family-man time is precious and I just needed someone to take care of the planning and make the necessary adjustments to my training should something come up”, said the 39 years-old marketing vice president. “Toby kept my training consistent, which meant some creative sessions given the limited facilities in some hotels. Communication was key, I told him in advance when issues arose and he tweaked my plan to keep me training.”
Training consistently is key to a achieving success no matter what the distance. If you don’t train consistently then a coach can’t plan appropriate progressions and you won’t continue to make the necessary adaptations to increasing training stimulus.
If you’re trying to juggle family, a busy working life and your training, cheap off-the-shelf training plans don’t work. A coach is there to revise your plan when your circumstances change.
“Long distance training can be quite a challenge. It’s good to know someone’s got your back, has managed training and a stressful job himself and is there every step of the way with you. I’d often just pick up the phone and chat just to make sure I was on the right track. You can’t expect your family and friends to understand what you go through if they’ve never followed a proper training plan before.”
Achieving that Iron dream is a team effort and like all successful teams, two-way communication plays a key role: 1-2-1 training and meetings are not always possible, but email, Skype, videos of training/racing, data uploads and qualitative feedback all go towards tailoring a plan that works for each athlete.