So you want to be the best you can be…..?

Geoff WilsonLet me start by saying, I am by no means athletically gifted. I’ve always been into sport and specifically cycling and running, but basically I’m just an average Joe, who works full time. I’m also a husband and father of 2 young children. But that doesn’t stop me wanting to be the best triathlete that I can be, given what free time and ability will allow me to be. So, although I’m nothing special, I love to compete and be competitive, it also certainly makes training more fruitful..!!

I started Triathlon back in 2011 doing a rather miserable 2hr 35mins for the test event of the Olympic Distance triathlon in Hyde Park, London. Unperturbed I persevered although making very few time improvements. Then I had a chance meeting with Sione Jongstra, in Muscat, Oman in 2014.

Just a short coffee (and a piece of cake) later, just hearing her talk I could tell there were better ways of training and that form over function would give me better results than just knocking out kilometer after training kilometer without knowing what I was aiming for. So at the tender age of 38 I picked my target event (New Zealand 70.3 in 2015) and set about being the best I could be for the day of the race.

At the same time, I threw away all my previous self taught learnings and laid bare my schedule to Sione and asked her to do her best. The way I looked at it was, I’d played around for 3 years making little gain – what have I got to lose… I’m now 14 weeks through a 20-week training programme and I can tell you resolutely I had nothing to lose. What I am now achieving in just 14 short weeks is nothing short of amazing. I’m honestly starting to hit Heart Rates and Power levels for durations I never dreamed of before. How? Dunno, ask the coach!! Sure hard work pays off, but more importantly, every week Sione just dials in the numbers, adds her own personal experience magic and hey presto another weekly schedule comes across to me that keeps it fresh and pushes me on further still – and some of those weeks are lighter weeks than the week before.

I’ve always known that working with a coach would probably have its benefits but this has even exceeded my expectations. The other thing with it is that it’s so easy (in terms of following the plan – the training sessions themselves are liable to leave you bloody knackered!!). As an additional incentive though I asked the coach to come and see me for some 1 on 1 training here in Oman (and to give her a break from the European winter weather). Yet again, spending personal time training with her, has taken me to another level – let me give you an example. I’m not a great swimmer (1m 40sec for 100m would be pushing it!!). In walks Sione and not 2 technique sessions later in the pool, she has me thrashing (smoothly(ish)) a 1m 35sec – not once, but 8 times. As I said to my friends – she knows how to get every last drop out of you. Added to the fact that she is such a nice person, you just don’t want to let her down. The same is true on the bike and run. Even being an experienced runner, Sione was able to look at my form and make adjustments to make sure everything was working in my favour.

Last but not least Sione works the details.. She knows exactly when my starts wave is. She knows exactly what I need to consume before, during and after the race. She has me practicing transition routines once a week (man it’ll surprise you what school boy errors you make) and she has a wealth of experience that she is happy to pass on.

So, you wanna be the best you can be? If you do, take my advice, get a coach – preferably Sione, she’ll make you feel like a professional and if you’ve got dedication and an ounce of talent, you could well become one!