Who are you, what is your main goal and why did you decide to have a coach?
Chris: mid 50's. Was something of a fat lad until my mid 20's until I started training at a gym. Moved to marathon running and then onto trails, fells and mountains - still love the mud and outdoors. But hit the point where needed to back off the running for the sake of my body so drifted into Triathlon. Decided to get a coach as whilst I have no problem being mediocre as a triathlete I do want to be the best I can be - and as two of the sports are comparatively new to me that's not going to happen by itself
What do you value about the coaching that you that you didn’t have before - and how is it going so far?
The structure, diversity of workouts which keeps it interesting and the changes in pace and intensity that both shake me out of a rut and occasionally make sure i back off and get some recovery. We are focussing more on swimming at the moment - starting to see some improvements but still on the journey
What was the most difficult thing to get used to when you started the coaching process - and how do you feel about it now?
That some of the old things I used to do - longer rides - are not part of the programme for now; felt a little twitchy at first as FOMO hit - but after a month or so I can feel small changes in fitness and capability that result from following a plan. Needs patience and commitment to the process
How does the coaching fit in with your lifestyle – and do you have a lot to balance in your life?
I work full time - though lockdown working from home does make training a bit easier. In addition I am a Trustee for an Educational Trust and am trying to improve my French so I have a bit on. My wife has bought into me doing this programme and so puts up with the early wake ups as I go to the pool for another session. It does take time and focus to do properly - not impossible but needs the focus to know when in the day you are going to train - and if that means getting up early or having a couple less beers at night so you are fresh enough the next day then that is what you decide to do
What are the main things you have learnt in you time as a coached athlete with Ali?
Focus on specific aspects of technique - one at a time - then combine and repeat, repeat and repeat. There are no short-cuts but equally no mystery - just well balanced plans and commitment
Do you feel like you have developed as an athlete since starting the coaching process, if so, how?
Swimming is certainly better - in last Triathlon of 2021 was commented on by friends I was competing with. My consistency is also better - no junk sessions
Why did you choose Ali to be your coach and what do you think about him?
My daughter worked at one of the pools Ali teaches at and knew I wanted to improve my swimming so put me in touch. I did two months swim sessions where I got used to his approach and tested out for myself whether I would be able to get it to work; after this moved to being a coached athlete. I find the whole process really interesting - clear and consistent communication, ease of access if you have any questions that need to be answered, but also real trust that as an athlete I will also do my bit. It is a very supportive way of working which Ali carries out really well