We are delighted to introduce YouCanCoaching athlete Gary Smith who has been working with us over the last 2 seasons. He tells us a bit about himself as a triathlete and how he has benefited from triathlon coaching.

Tell us about yourself as a Triathlete

I sort of fell into multi-sport events as a result of my eldest daughter who as a competitive swimmer was struggling to hit any of her targets one y

ear.  So I talked her into trying Triathlon as a temporary alternative as she was still a good swimmer, not bad at Cross Country and ok on a bike.

After her first event at which she came 3rd in her AG she decided she wanted to do more events and also wanted to join a club. Knowing that as soon as I signed Abi up to the club her siblings would also want to join I opted for the family membership and that was the point I fell into the sport and that was about 4 years ago now.

What is your proudest Triathlon related achievement?

Qualifying for the Duathlon World Championships in 2016 and being able to race in the GB trisuit.

What are you training for at the moment?

My immediate training is focused on a Middle Distance Triathlon in May next year but also keeping one eye on the European Duathlon Championships in October next year which I have qualified for earlier this year. Oh and a little ride Coast 2 Coast In a day  (150mile) somewhere in between the other 2 events just to keep my coach on her toes.

What are your favourite training sessions and why?

Any training that includes being in a group and training together are far more fun. And of course these sessions can be quite challenging depending on the competitiveness of the members of the group.

What are your least favourite training?

Swim sets… God I despair at swimming… Splashing up and down relentlessly with other members of the great unwashed around you getting in the way or trying to swim over you. The only way through these sets is to break them down into smaller chunks and go head down and think about the long term benefits of the sets that will help with achieving your goals.

What are the biggest challenges that you face being a triathlete?

My biggest challenge is currently injury issues that don’t let me train to my fullest potential for running. An ongoing hip issue is holding me back slightly but not stopping me totally and I’m managing this through what seems to be a constant regime of stretching.

Stretching is the way forward kids… Stretch first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening for at least 20 mins.  This seems to be helping in keeping me going currently.

Oh and when you think you have stretched enough… stretch a bit more to be on the safe side!

How have you grown as an athlete in the last few years?

I have learnt so much along the way about the sport and myself, made some amazing new friends and achieved things that I wouldn’t have thought possible just over 4 years ago.

The greatest thing I have learnt is that it doesn’t matter how old you are or what your current ability is there are people out there that you possibly haven’t even met yet that will inspire you and encourage you to push yourself harder and further than you thought possible.

Providing you are willing and have the desire to be inspired and pushed, you too can achieve things you didn’t think possible.

How has coaching helped you reach your goals?

Coaching is possibly the most invaluable resource I have in my arsenal.  Those very expensive wheels I own also help, but pound for pound the greatest value for money is the coaching.

There’s no point owning all the flashy kit if the engine that powers it is rubbish. We can all choose off the shelf internet based training schedules but what happens when the wheels come off slightly, who will lift you from the ashes to rise again, encourage you to carry on and tailor your training plan to ensure you don’t just throw in the towel.

Without coaching I possibly would not have achieved 3 x 10k PB’s and a similar amount of 5k PB’s in the last 12 months.  This has assisted me in qualifying easily for European Duathlon Championships both this year (2017) and next year and winning the coveted Coventry Triathletes parkrun league this year with a time of 18.11 at the age of 49!!!  Yes I ran my little legs off that day.

Coaching has helped me more than I ever imagined it would.

 What are your future ambitions and dream goals?

My goals shift and are not really set in concrete due to the ever changing condition of the vessel that propels me along… yes my old (ish) occasionally failing body.

So I tend to set myself achievable goals and targets but I don’t get too uptight if something happens along the way that stops me from achieving that specific goal as I have alternative targets (mini goals) which I set for myself along the way to the main goal.

Having said that the main focus for 2018 is to come top 10 at the European Duathlon Champs… achievable? Yes, but if it doesn’t happen… well there is always the next one and I will have a fabulous family holiday in Ibiza and the ability to race once more time in the GB team trisuit… what more can anyone ask for really?

Life is good, live it to your fullest potential every day.