The Propello riders have had a lot of success this year. Great finishes at Velothon Wales, Tour of Cambridgeshire, La Marmotte, Maratona, Etape, Haute Routes, CAT races, Time Trials and many more. I don't shout my praises every time one of my athletes has a good day because that is my job and it is THEIR achievement to share with their friends and family.
However, the story with Ed is different because it was a first for both of us. First for Ed because it was his first Ironman event. First for me, as I had never coached anyone to do an Ironman.
Back at the end of last year, Ed came to me for some help with his cycling. I had ridden with him a bit over the preceding year and had a pretty good idea of his capabilities and skills on a bike. He asked me if I could help him with the bike training for Ironman Wales. And so we started. What soon became clear to both of us is that training him for just the bike leg was only part of what he needed. Our journey has been transformational for both of us. We have both learnt a lot and become good friends in the process.
Here is Ed's story in his own words.
"Almost 4 years ago to this day, I discovered IronMan. I was one of 30,000 spectators for IronMan Wales, cheering on my friend Jon and another 2000 or so of, what I regarded then, as a bunch of elite athletes, attempting to complete a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a full 26.2 mile marathon run, back-to-back, in under 17 hours. Crazy. The thought of achieving such a challenge baffled me then, as much as it still does today. But the IronMan motto of “Anything is possible” got me thinking.
Inspired by the achievement of my friend Jon and the incredible atmosphere of that day in Wales, two years ago, aged 45, unfit and 3 stone overweight, I entered (somewhat irresponsibly) a 10 mile running race. I came almost last. That same year, I got on a bike, rode 10 miles and had to phone my wife to pick me up. My legs were shot. 18 months ago I could not swim more than 2 lengths of a 25m pool without having to stop with exhaustion.
Last Sunday 18th September 2016, on Tenby seafront, I crossed the finishing line of IronMan Wales in 13hours, 23minutes and 46 seconds. As I ran down the finishing line, the MC shouted out over the booming music and crowd, “Ed… You are an IronMan!” It felt good. Anything IS possible.
If I can do it, anyone can. The most important thing at the start of a journey to becoming an Ironman is that you should REALLY want to do it. Sort of wanting to do it won’t work. Secondly, they say that IronMan is all about the bike. Thirdly, the most coherent advice I read about and listen to was 'get a coach'. So that’s what I did.
Rob started coaching me last year and has played a huge role in my success last Sunday. He’s taken me from being a somewhat rubbish cyclist to a half decent one. This has been priceless because... as they say.. it’s all about the bike! He created a full triathlon training programme for me, incorporating power development on the bike, combined with building endurance and the right technique and strategy. The results have been amazing. Within months, I was able to ride harder for longer and have fuel in the tank for a long run after.
Not only has Rob taught me to become a much better rider but, as my triathlon coach, he has been a constant source of encouragement, balanced my work/life/training load, pushed me harder than I thought was possible, and kept me injury free. It’s all too easy to think ‘maybe I’ll skip this workout’ but with Rob behind you, that isn’t an option!
I already have IronMan Copenhagen 2017 in the diary. It’s addictive. Copenhagen is different from IronMan Wales because it’s flat and fast. And I’m not fast. Rob’s role in our next challenge has just begun."
Ed's success is his. He did all the hard work. I just provided the tools. He is a model client in that he listens, but most importantly, he engages with every aspect of what you are telling him. He learnt how to use the technology to his advantage; he learnt how to analyse his own performance with a thorough understanding of all the metrics and analytics; he asked a lot of questions and gained a huge understanding of how his body reacted to training - I love coaching people like this.