professional coach Melanie McQuaid

Hi, I'm Melanie McQuaid

My athletic career started as a Canadian national team mountain bike racer competing on the cross-country mountain bike World Cup while at University of Victoria finishing my BSc in Chemistry and Biochemistry.  Since then, I competed in (and in some events won!) cross country mountain bike, mountain bike, road, XTERRA, and Ironman races.   Add to that minor successes in gravel, trail, road running and ITU format racing.

My core values are growth and health.  These values shape both my coaching and training philosophies.  Training for a rad life is a longitudinal experiment.

I coach athletes using experiential knowledge underpinned with a solid grasp of current science.  Athletes are not machines and as such, communication and a coaching eye are strong tools in assessing an athlete’s needs. 

Whether you choose objective or subjective monitoring of your training, the MelRad approach will give you the confidence you are moving in the direction of your best self.

I enjoy working with athletes who want to train for THEIR rad life: pursuing big goals, personal challenges and exciting adventures.

In Her Words: Hear Podcasts With Mel

Why MelRad?

My program fits your strengths, lifestyle, goals, and ability.  It will revolutionize your training and your entire athlete experience. Today Mel’s RAD RACING TEAM, which was the FIRST triathlon age-group team in the US and Canada back in 2009, now includes athletes racing mountain bikes, Ironman, XTERRA, gravel races, trail runs, road races, time trials and swim events.  The MelRad Squad is a versatile and diverse group of athletes training according to their experience, goals, and needs.  The Squad is built to support and encourage each other in reaching the objectives laid out each season while having fun and enjoying the process.  Whether you sign up for the squad or choose to join a weekend camp, you’ll learn how to become a better athlete.

I have coached a male athlete to an ITU Multisport World Championship title and the podium at XTERRA Maui in M 30-34, coached a F40-49 to an XTERRA Canada victory and a trip to Maui her first year of mountain biking, coached a M45-49 to multiple age group IM 70.3 wins and IM World Championships, coached a F45-49 to her first podium ever in her life, and have helped athletes find personal bests across all disciplines of triathlon, cycling, and mountain biking.   I coach athletes of a variety of ages, disciplines, and experience and all of their goals are meaningful and exciting to me.  Whether it is a championship podium or a backyard challenge, I coach athletes to their potential.

I’ve coached athletes since 2004.

Since then, I completed NCCP Level One cycling and Level 2 triathlon coaching.  I am an XTERRA Certified Coach with comprehensive coaching experience in this discipline.  I also have PMBIA Level One certification for coaching mountain bike skills from PMBIA – Professional Mountain Bike Instructors Association.  

In 2020, I completed the Altis Apprentice Coach Program. Learning from world class coaches like Stu McMillan, Dan Pfaff, and Kevin Tyler (and others) about an Olympic training environment, planning, sports medicine, running mechanics and overall athlete development has been invaluable to my coaching development.

I continue mentorship with Dan Pfaff at Altis today and am furthering my education in Strength Training, Biomechanics and training fundamentals.

Professional athletes are immersed in sport.  They work with the top coaches, therapists, psychologists and interact with the best athletes in the world.  This experience is invaluable.  I took my personal experience and started applying it to coaching athletes in 2004.  Since that time, I have learned so much as a coach.

I was lucky to learn from the best ITU, Ironman, UCI and development coaches.  This wealth of experience has shaped my approach to triathlon coaching which is my own.  I have my own philosophy and approach which is an amalgamation of the knowledge I took from years of mountain biking, road cycling and triathlon racing.  Training science is universal and sports are specific.  Training for so many different sports has shaped my understanding of how general preparation leads to specific fitness for any sport.

It doesn’t matter if  a coach actually was a pro, or even a good athlete.  However, it matters what that coach knows, how many years of experience, how well he/she communicates, and whether the coach is curious to know more.  I have over 20 years in PROFESSIONAL endurance sport.  Over the years I have seen a number of training FADS come and go and have seen the fundamental principles that stand the test of time.  There is a lot of misinformation available on the internet.  There is no magic workout and there is no revolutionary training system.  What you need is a program designed for you that is motivating, inspiring and effective!

I’m a lifetime student of sport.  My degree (chemisty and biochemistry) taught me to think analytically.  My career is entirely documented as a gigantic science experiment on how to optimize  performance over time towards shifting goals.  I have complete training logs and physiology studies from the late 1990s.   I had one of the very first Powertap powermeters. There are few coaches in the sport who have as much personal and professional experience in sport that I have had the opportunity to acquire. Using a record of everything I’ve done since training with the National Cycling team, I taught myself how to train myself and others to optimize potential. When I started in XTERRA there were NO COACHES that understood the sport.   Learning how to train (coming from cycling) was an invaluable experience.  Taking what was relevant from great ITU coaches, it took two years in triathlon before I started finishing first or second in nearly every race for a decade (before turning my attention full time to Ironman).  Self coaching was only successful because I could access advice, mentorship, and education from amazing coaches.  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 turned my attention to IRONMAN, ensuring I had a broad scope of experience and education to serve any triathlete who turned to me for advice.  I asked many coaches about their philosophy, tried a variety of approaches and had some real personal success. During this time, I 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.  There is a lot of mental coaching required for athletes going through injury and that experience is priceless.
It is pretty awesome coaching an athlete to the podium!  But there are equally exciting and fulfilling coach/athlete relationships in MelRad Racing that have nothing to do with actual placing or race results.  I love that no matter how fast athlete in MelRad Racing are, every single one of us is TRAINING FOR A RAD LIFE!  You don’t need a start or a finish line to challenge yourself, train as an athlete and feel good about how strong, fit and powerful you are.  Coaching is about finding the potential in a person and that potential is born in committing to an athlete LIFESTYLE.  Feeling Fit is FUN!   Let’s have fun getting super fit.

Some of my coach education

ALTIS Coach Mentorship
Mountain Biking Coaching Certification Program
Triathalon Coach Certification Program

Coaching Successes

My Athletic Experience


XTERRA World Champion
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ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion
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1994/96/97/98/99 UCI MTB XCO World Championship

2000 UCI Road World Championship Team

Sea Otter Short Track Champion

BCBR/PISGAH/TR3/Furious 3 MTB Stage Race Champion

Coaching with World Champion Melanie McQuaid


6x PRO IM 70.3 Champion
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IM/IM 70.3 top 3
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5150 Champion

2000 Tri BC Series Champion


2009 3rd Place XTERRA Trail Run World Championship

2019 3:13 IM marathon

2019 18:14 Road 5km

2020 10:39 Road 3km


What Athletes that Work with Me Say

I came to the triathlon scene with little biking and running experience and no prior swim experience. Melanie coached me from the bottom 20% of my age group to standing on the podium in 3 seasons with her coaching style that I understand. I live in Ontario with lots of local coaches to work with near me but I choose to work with Melanie in British Columbia.
Jason Pace
IM Athlete
Melanie has changed me as an athlete. I used to be content to “exercise” a lot and race by looking around and enjoying the scenery. She taught me to find the fierceness in working hard, the enjoyment in racing hard, and that it is pretty damn fun to get on the podium. She has made me see the value in being a balanced triathlete instead of relying on strengths. She also understands balancing a stressful job with training.
Alison Keple
IM Athlete
I’ve been coached for two seasons of XC mountain biking and XTERRA with Melanie. During that time I have gone from a “middle of the pack” XTERRA competitior to placing 6th OA amateur and 2nd in the 30-34 AG at the 2010 XTERRA World Championships finally to ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion. Melanie structured a program that balanced my work and home life with my desire to reach the highest possible level in sport.
Fred Smith
XTERRA Athlete
Having Mel as my coach this season was an incredible experience! As she states on her coaching page "if you want to put in the work, I will show you the way" and she did that plus much much more! She delivered me a detailed tailored training program. I found that she was constantly tweaking and updating my program to find a healthy, realistic balance between my work and home life yet pushing me to be my very best in all my athletic endeavors.
Patrick Nesbitt
Mountain Bike/XTERRA Athlete