Some Things I Learned From My Coaches About Being Ready For A Triathlon

Hi folks!

Well! I’m ready for the Eagleman Half Ironman, my first post-AAA stent race, where you’ll find me in the 65-69 year age group. Some bits and pieces of the wealth of advice that I have received from my coaches and other ‘spiritual guides’ over the years are running around in my head. For instance:

Coach #1, Nigel, my son: Forget your instruments when you race, Dad, go on feel.” When I asked him for his advice on hill descent, he said, “just go as fast as you can!” No hills at Eagleman! When he saw me running about 10 years later, he said, “Hey! Dad! You don’t run like a loaf of bread anymore!” That’s kids for you!

Coach #2, Dan Shugars:Hang onto your wattage over the top of the hills, and don’t relax to take in water and food until you are going fast down the other side, and don’t forget to go through your list of things to bring, including a roll of toilet paper.” Great athlete who pushed me a long way down the road towards full Ironman races.

Coach #3, Diane Shugars: Try to relax and don’t think so much all the time.” This is really good advice for a very left-brain person like me.

Coach #4, Chris Haute (AIMP): Don’t just look around, focus, and remember that if you EVER feel comfortable at any time in the race you are going too slow, and hang on to your momentum on the rollers.” This was some of the best advice ever, as I now push the whole time and try not to enjoy the scenery too much, though some of the scenery is too good to miss! Chris’s coaching resulted in my qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2009, taking 1 hour and 20 minutes off of my best time at the Lake Placid Ironman 2010, and he would have got me to Kona if I had gone to the roll down in 2009, or not had an aortic aneurysm in 2010 (so essentially, Chris did get me to Kona!). Great coach, but I was a bit scared of him when I saw him coming in my mirror on the bike in training sessions, as I knew that pain was on the way and that there was no way that I could run away!

Coach #5, Eric Bean (Fast Forward Triathlon):During the swim stay high in the water, locking in your stroke to pull your body past your arm and shoulder but initiating it from the hips, relax on the bike, and remember to engage your glutes on the bike and during the run.” Eric’s training has involved a lot of high effort, short workouts, directed towards increasing my cadence and other aspects of neuromuscular programming, so I will be interested to see what effect this has on my race.

Then there are lots of other things about nutrition, race psychology, technique and equipment, none of which I would have known about without my coaches. In addition to that, there were my yoga instructors, massage therapists, physical therapists, surgeons, Feldenkrais and Gyrotonic instructors, my bike builders, and training partners, the list goes on and on. And now there is Continuum with Rebecca, who is showing me how to dance through the race (and she made me cry today, which was apparently a good sign!) – I plan to give dancing a try during the race! It clearly takes a village to raise a triathlete, and old dogs can learn new tricks!

All these people and their insights are very much appreciated. One day I’ll get to Kona, Chris Haute, you’ll see, and then I can focus on enjoying the view.

– k Your Medical Mind



  1. Matthew Morgan says

    Good luck, and I agree with the advice about going on feel.
    The best hill descents are done with brakes off, brain off!

  2. R.Puratchimani says

    Kevin,All the best for your race. It is true everyone is a teacher/coach in this world,if we listen to them.

  3. Kevin Morgan says

    Hi R!, Yep! You can learn from anyone and everyone – out of the mouths of babes and sucklings and all that. Race went fine as a preparation for Lake Placid. I’ll write about it a little bit in my post today. Thanks for the best wishes. -k

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.