St James Mountain Man Xtreme
Pre event background: Coast to Coast Longest Day, Ironman, 4x GODZones. I’d raced in teams with Karen, so I know she knew her stuff and that we were compatible
Why did you decide to get coached: Tackling a new event, it’s good to have a coach for accountability and someone who gives objective feedback
Event: St James Mountain Man Xtreme (2k swim, 103k MTB, 50k run)
What the coaching helped you with most: A structured training plan that fitted around my other commitments, plus a focus on nutrition and hydration
Event Highlight: Racing hard, winning my category and nailing my nutrition and hydration plan
Pre event background: Years of netball and basketball Coast to Coast tandem team, XTERRA off-road racing.
Why did you decide to get coached: Karen had coached me for many "first-time" events in the preceding years so she already had a fair idea of what makes me tick and how to get the best out of me. It's quite a journey simply to get to the start line of the Longest Day in one piece - I knew Karen would create a training programme that would be fun and full of adventures, but one that would also prepare me mentally and physically for the event. Karen also drew on her own experiences in racing Coast to Coast to give me valuable tips and advice.
Event: Coast to Coast Longest Day 2.2kmRun/55km Cycle/30.5km Mountain Run/15.5 Cycle/1km Run/70km Kayak/400m Run/69.5km Cycle
What the coaching helped you with most: Since getting stuck in to multisport a couple of years ago having fun with being active has really become part of my lifestyle - instead of training just being another thing to fit into a busy schedule. Coaching gives me direction and focus for my activities and adventures in order to best prepare me for the event.
Event Highlight: having such a positive mindset all day (something that Karen and I had worked on in the months leading up to the event). This meant I was able to truly enjoy the race all the way from the start to the finish line - headaches, sore tummy, swims, headwinds and all!
Coast to Coast Longest Day
Jemma Wells Photography
Pre event background: An ambitious run for my level of fitness and experience in mountain running. I wanted to do this event alongside traveling with my family to experience Patagonia.
Why did you decide to get coached: I was new on mountain running, I needed support around my running technique, training regime and advice on locations for the long training runs
Event: 42km Mountain marathon with 2847m Ascent
What the coaching helped you with most: Technique, emotional and practical support when training was difficult, especially towards the end!
Event Highlight: The challenge of the long steep downhill after reaching summit.
Patagonia Mountain Marathon
Pre event background: UTA 100km, Great Wall of China Marathon, plus a whole heap on NZ trail events
Why did you decide to get coached: I find it motivating having to answer to someone otherwise I would keep putting off the training until tomorrow
Event: Big Red Run. 250km, 6 day Stage Race
What the coaching helped you with most: Finding the balance of training and family life and not over training also the experience the coaching brings on all the little things if you can get them right the big things fall into place
Event Highlight: Hard to single out one highlight on a event this big but it would be the way everyone knew no matter if you were at the front of the field or the back at some point we were all hurting, there was a unspoken respect for what everyone set out to achieve.
Big Red Run
Fred Whitton Sportive
Pre event background: I started road biking late but once I started, really enjoyed it. Having returned to the UK, this was an event I had completed before – on that occasion it was just about finishing but it had taken me over 10 hours and the feeling as I crossed the line was simply relief. After a gap of 3 years I wanted to go back and feel like I had truly nailed it; I wanted to see what I could do with the knowledge that I could finish it and had an idea of what I was up against… the highlight is a 30% hill 160km in!
Why did you decide to get coached: Initially it was because I genuinely didn’t know where to start having entered a big event – before being coached I thought it was all about having to run or cycle a certain distance as fast or hard as I could. I regularly got injuries and lacked the self-belief that someone like me (I did no real exercise before turning 30) could ever do a big event.
In short, I needed some expert guidance as well as help with my technique. Karen had coached me for a number of years and never flinched when I announced what I had entered – she always said that I would be capable of doing something as long as I did the training and had a good race plan…. She also took my goals seriously and always provides honest feedback and advice – something that I find invaluable.
Event: Fred Whitton Sportive – 180km, 3900m ascent
What the coaching helped you with most: lots of things including my physical technique and mental strategies but the best thing for me was knowing that Karen could put in place a training plan that ensured I was at my peak at exactly the right time – this meant that I had invested time in the right things and allowed me to balance a busy work life with what I wanted to achieve with my cycling.
Event Highlight: I enjoyed the event so much and felt so strong and prepared for whatever got thrown at me. The best bit was probably the last 5km when I was tired but knew my legs had a final burst of energy in them (we had worked on this during training)… after non-stop hills the run in to the finish was flat and I overtook lots of people whilst repeating my ‘finish strong’ mantra again and again in my head – I crossed the line in just over 8 hours and didn’t stop smiling about it for at least a week!
Pre event background: I previously ran a couple of ½ marathons (slowly) but always got sore
Why did you decide to get coached: I wanted to follow a properly designed training plan with the aim that I would get to Race Day without getting sore or injured along the way. I needed the accountability and bar raising that a professional coach could offer whilst being confident that Karen understood my capabilities and limitations
Event: 25km Trail Run
What the coaching helped you with most: I had a race plan, first time ever, and this made a massive difference. I felt prepared and confident that I could do the distance and deal with any issues along the way, including the ‘why on earth am I doing this’ mental wrangling issue. I stuck to my plan and the event was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. This removes the guesswork and uncertainty and means I can actually focus on, and enjoy, the running
Event Highlight:The sense of achievement from being able to finish the event strongly and not be at the back of the field. Loved it!
Loop the Lake
Pre event background: I was a runner as a teenager and young adult, but took a number of years off, and started running again in my mid 50's
Why did you decide to get coached: I was following programs similar to what I followed when I was a lot younger, but found they were not working well. I did some research on the internet to try and find a program for someone my age, but I found it very confusing because of a multitude of ideas and opinions
Event: Multiple events - walking and running
What the coaching helped you with most: A balanced program, Posture and Core strength
Event Highlight: Having 3 podium finishes in 2018 in both walking and running events