Why did you decide to set up your own club and become a coach?
Viceroys was set up originally by a group of likeminded people in 2006 looking to train together and share their stories along the way. At the end of the first year through lack of direction the club faded away.
As my own personal results progressed over the next couple of years so did the questions from friends or people around me. So with that in mind I decided to restart Viceroys and provide people with a club to join to be proud of but wasn’t intimidating to join in. Clubs can put people off with the over competitive nature of a few, however Viceroys was designed to be warm and friendly and if you wanted to attend all the sessions to improve you could or if you simply wanted to meet up for a coffee and cake ride or chat down the lake after your swim then you could do that too. Zero stress.
Being a passionate PE teacher, coaching was a simple extension to what I was doing and I greatly enjoyed group coaching and tailor making specific, individual coaching programmes and helping people achieve their goals. I have around 30 – 40 athletes on my programme who are looking to either complete their first triathlon through to those wanting to improve or gain selection to represent their country.
Getting guidance through 1-2-1 sessions down at the lake for example or a training program is key to achieving those goals. It’s like having someone with you all the time and many of my athletes with call me or drop me an email about a forthcoming session, race or kit advice. Knowledge is about it being passed on and as a coach and experienced triathlete I see this as one of my key roles.
What would you say have been your best achievements to date?
Personally or as a coach? Well personally I’ve been fortunate enough to win a number of races. I’m not the fastest of runners, but can swim and bike well, so if I ever win it would be because I’ve turned myself inside out over the first two disciplines to give myself sometime to play with on the run. Winning the Olympic distance race at Windsor and then winning the sprint distance the following year would be up there. I’ve come 6th overall at two world championships having been in a medal position on the run. One day, one day.
As a coach I have no achievements, they all come from my athlete’s achievements and their own hard work. I simply show them the way and give them the confidence both mentally and physically to achieve their goals. Of course they will hate me at times when they are completing a nasty bike session, but it’s all money in the bank in terms of training. Every week someone will email or call to say how they did in a race and I’m always smiling for the rest of the day. 2015 was however a good year as I helped get 21 athletes selected for either the European or World Triathlon Championships.
Thanks Mark. Over the rest of the year Mark will be providing us with regular blogs to help you have the best season ever. If you have a question for Mark, tweet them to @CycleSurgery and we will regularly answer them in our ‘Ask Coach’ blog series.