Friday, 3 February 2012

Coaching - A New Direction

Over the last couple of years, I've become really passionate about the sport of triathlon. As my career path has made some twists and turns, I've wondered about what I want to do with my life. It's great to be racing as an elite triathlete but let's face it, being a "professional" triathlete isn't paying the bills, at least not yet...

Super coach and mentor, Bjoern Ossenbrink, w/ his wife Stephanie.
Since I started getting coached by Bjoern Ossenbrink a little over a year ago, I realized the advantage of having a personal coach design a tailored program for me. As a self coached athlete, I did fairly well but I used to push myself too hard at the wrong times and didn't take enough time to recover from my workouts. If you don't recover properly, you don't get as much out of your training as would otherwise be possible and you become more prone to injuries. Also, the variety and technicality of the workouts have helped me bring my skills to a new level that I could not have achieved without help. Something that might take me two years to learn on my own might take only two days to learn with a coach.

High cadence spin set during one of the West Point Multisport spin sessions.
I've become so keen on coaching that I decided to start coaching myself. I became a certified triathlon coach in 2011 and I recently started coaching spin sessions every week at West Point Multisport. The fall program was very successful and I really enjoyed coaching the sessions. Since Jan 3rd, 2012, I have been coaching three sessions every week. Tuesday evening, Wednesday evening and Sunday morning. The classes have become very popular and have been selling out every week (make sure to call ahead if you want to book a spot!).  Here's the link with all the details if anyone is interested in training with me. West Point Multisport Spin Sessions. The workouts are 90 minutes long.

Coaching the Friday evening LifeSport track workout
I've also signed on as a personal coach with Lifesport Coaching and, effective immediately, I will start working with athletes to help them achieve their triathlon goals. I've been really lucky to have such a great and successful coach as Bjoern to coach me and mentor me. I've learned a lot since I signed up with him in 2010. I pay very close attention to details and have picked up a great deal of information from him. To be a successful coach, you need to have a positive attitude and also an understanding of what athletes are experiencing. I intend to coach age group athletes who are looking to sign up for the Performance Program which consists mainly of a uniquely tailored personal training schedule. But that's not everything, in the words of 11 time Ironman Champion, Lisa Bentley, "the most important fact about coaching and being coached is that there is definitely more to it than receiving and executing a program of scheduled training sessions. Coaching is a vehicle for inspiration, motivation and information".

We use an online program called Training Peaks. All of the workouts are uploaded onto the software and can be accessed by any computer with an internet connection or on your mobile phone. You can upload the data from your device (it recognizes 90+ devices) and leave feedback about the workout. The whole concept of Lifesport Coaching is to be able to balance life and sport. I understand the difficulties involved in trying to balance family, work and training and I look forward to working with athletes to help them achieve their goals. I started racing in triathlons in 2008 and I still remember what it's like to be starting up. It can be intimidating getting to the start line. It didn't take me long to realize though, that triathletes are really a great group of people and very supportive of each other. With proper mental preparation and a structured training program tailored specifically for you, you can achieve your goals.

Coaching the Friday morning Pacific Spirit swim practice
Lifesport also offers several training camps which are a great way to improve on your skills and meet like minded athletes. I will be coaching at some of the local camps this year. A great early season camp is the Spring Tune-up Camp in Vancouver. It's a perfect way to get ready for the race season or learn about triathlon if you are just thinking about getting into the sport. If you're signed up for Ironman Canada (or thinking about signing up in the future), I highly recommend the IMC Prep Camp in July. I was there last year and we had a great time training on the race course in Penticton. The "Ultimate Camp" in June is also an amazing value. Located in Victoria, BC, it's lead by Olympic Gold Medal and Ironman Champion Coaches Lance Watson and Paul Regensberg. It includes swim video analysis, lactate threshold testing, bike fitting, nutrition seminar and open water skills and training as well as coached workouts over a five day period leading up to the Saunders Subaru Victoria Triathlon. Here's a link with more information on all of the LifeSport camps: LifeSport Training Camps.

If you have any questions about coaching, or would like to sign up for personal coaching, please don't hesitate to contact me. You can reach me at:

Next post: Shawnigan Lake Race Report - Staying Positive


  1. hey Andrew
    great site
    I'll pass it along
    Ralph Havens
    San Diego and Vancouver

    1. Thanks Ralph! I'm glad you enjoyed it, I really appreciate the support. :)