Year one of being coached – my experiences so far

I started to get into triathlons around 2014 and up until december 2018 I had just done my own thing with regards to training and what I was doing within those sessions, it was very haphazrd really.

The way I found my coach was by accident really, I got a friend request on facebook from Paul, who had mutual friends and obviously did triathlons so I accepted it.  He contacted me about meeting up as I was currently doing some swim coaching at David Lloyd sports club and he was good friends with the manager there, we eventually met up and talked about all things triathlon and I felt very comfortable in his company. Post meet up Paul contacted me about trailing some coaching with his company Tri Fitness Triathlon Coaching and I thought, what have I got to loose. Going into it I had doubts about having someone telling me what to do, I can be quite stubborn and set in my ways and find the more someone gets on at me the more it makes me rebel and not enjoy things. Anyway the first few weeks went well, I loved not having to plan my sessions or the structure to what the sessions were, they were easy to understand, it gave me accountability and it wasn’t to pushy and took into consideration my work and lifestyle. I eventually signed up with the company and it really has been a fantastic year with the team.

Paul and Russell are triathletes themselves so they understand the struggles of trying to balance life, work and training and their approach definitely suits me, it’s a more softly, softly approach than , ‘you will do this’ and ‘why haven’t you done that’ type of method which would push me away and not motivate me at all. I have weekly coaching calls with Paul and we discuss the weeks training, the following weeks schedule, how I have been feeling generally and he is also great at nutrition and relationship advice as well ha ha!

A good coach really does need to know everything that is going on within your life, relationships, menstrual cycles as mentally and physically this has an effect on how you perform and how you train. For that reason you need to feel comfortable and trust your coach which is something I felt I could do with Paul from the very start really. This was reiterated when we were competing in Majorca at the Ironman 70.3 triathlon. Tri Fitness had a big team out there and we were made to feel very welcome and part of the team from the outset. We met up socially before and after the race as well which helped to build on the relationship we had with the coaches.

Paul has been fantastic throughout the year, when I have been struggling he has been there at the end of the phone to help pick me up and offer advice and another viewpoint on things, and also there to celebrate success, it really has opened my eyes to coaching and the many advantages of having one.

So if you are wanting to take your triathlon training and performance to the next level I highly recommend paying for a coach, they don’t have to necessarily be a company near you, in fact Tri Fitness coaching is based in Guernsey, so no where near Chester! Online options also make it slightly cheaper in some instances but it depends whether having the face to face contact is important to you or not, I personally think it wouldn’t make any difference to me because the training schedule is through Training Peaks and we FaceTime each week which is as close to face to face as you can get really.

Tri Fitness have completely taken my triathlon performances to the next level and what is more exciting is there is still so many areas I can improve on, which is something we are working on during the off season, I can’t wait to see what next year brings!


Tri Fitness coaches Paul De Garis and Russell James Smith can be contacted online and via Facebook and Instagram and come very highly recommended by myself, why not check them out!

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