If I were to choose a coach, I would want one who has been there… and done that. It doesn’t matter if a coach actually was a pro, or even a good athlete. However, it matters what that coach knows and whether the coach is curious to know more. I have NCCP Level One for cycling and am certified as a Community Coach through Triathlon BC but I am not sure either of those can reflect what I know about cycling or triathlon coaching. However, I endeavor to have more accreditation to my name. Here is a bit more about how I became a coach if you are interested.
I have been a student of sport my entire life. I have a science degree (chemisty and biochemistry). My career is documented (by me) as a gigantic science experiment on how to optimize female performance over time towards shifting goals. I can show you training logs and physiology from the late 1990s. I kept a record of everything I have done since I began training with the National Cycling team.
When I started in XTERRA there were NO COACHES that understood the sport. I taught myself how to train (coming from cycling) and after two years in triathlon finished first or second in nearly every race I entered-for almost a decade (because I then switched to Ironman). But coaching myself was only successful because I sought advice and education from other coaches I respected and admired. Every coach has learned from someone. I believe I understand how to train for offroad triathlon as well as any coach in the sport but I gained that knowledge by actively pursuing the knowledge from others.
In 2012 I decided to learn everything I could about IRONMAN, to ensure I could serve any triathlete who turned to me for advice. I asked many coaches about their philosophy, tried a variety of approaches, and along the way learned for myself what it is like to come back from a devastating injury. This type of experience is worth more than any coaching course could possibly offer. I can thank Kelly Guest for the guidance in the “injury comeback” department. There is a lot of mental coaching required for athletes going through this and that experience is priceless.
I finished Level 1 NCCP cycling certification in 2001 in while working with and mentoring under Level 5 coach Houshang Amiri of www.pacificcyclingcentre.ca. I have enormous gratitude towards Houshang for teaching me about periodization, specialization, individualization, and long term athlete development. I would not have had elite professional results past 40 years old without the knowledge and experience I gained working with him.
In 2014 I began mentoring with Kelly Guest, arguably the best junior development coach for triathletes in the country. Kelly’s superpower is communicating technique in all three sports, a key component to long term success. Learning from Kelly, and adapting these techniques for “mature” athletes, had formed my approach to adult triathletes.
As a successful self-coached athlete (albeit strongly advised and influenced by coaches like Houshang Amiri, Kelly Guest, Cliff English and Joe Friel’s book) for every major title of my career including XTERRA World Champion, ITU World Champion, Ironman 70.3 Champion, Challenge Champion, BC Bike Race winner, TR3 Champion, BC Triathlon Series Champion (haha!! just making the point that I’ve been there… done that… even ITU draft-legal races).
Since my start in coaching, I have coached athletes to age group titles in XTERRA, ITU World Championship titles in cross triathlon, strong finishes in multi-day mountain bike races, and personal best splits and finish times in both half and full Ironman races.
I hope to have my certification reflect years of coaching in the near future. Watch this space as I further my knowledge and certification as a coach.