Here is a recap of why my coaching, my athletes and I have been up to in Quarter One of 2019. The quarter 2 recap will be out (hopefully) sooner in early Q3. No promises but maybe I’ll then get into more regular short podcasts. Ideas welcome.


The only race I did in the first quarter of 2019 was the Strathpuffer and it took until mid May for me to do another race. The two are not linked.

Strathpuffer was a great experience, once again. This being my 6th visit to the event, having been part of a support crew once and raced it in various incarnations the other 5 times.

For those who don’t know, Strathpuffer is a 24 hour mountain bike race in the far North of Scotland, held in January, thus allowing for very little daylight over the 24 hours.

This time it was to be as a pair of 2 with my mate Alan. Conditions on the day were ‘perfect’. Calm, clear and very cold. The very cold being the tricky bit for riding conditions as it did make some of the rock rather slippy. Thankfully I had studded tires which helped keep me going over those testing patches. The course was rideable without studded tyres though as Alan proved.

After an early plan of riding 2 laps at a time we switched to 3 laps at a time during the night giving ourselves more time to sleep and rest between stints. Overall we were very pleased with the result having covered 21 laps together and finishing well inside the top half of the male pairs race.

My training after Strathpuffer was focused on bike and run with no specific target but just enjoying the time in the outdoors. Fiona – my wife – has been getting more into mountain biking and we have been heading out together with a longer term view of being able to do a bike packing trip together. Current plan is to do one of those in June this year.

First 2 laps ; Next 2 laps ; Triple laps ; 2nd set of triple laps

One of the bigger rides that we did was down in the Borders taking us from Innerleithen over Minch Moor to the Three Brethren and Selkirk then back via Breadmeadows. Part One and Part 2.


DZF Athletes Racing

This being quarter one all the racing was more around preparing for races later in the year. A couple of our athletes started the year with a go at the New Year’s Day Triathlon. Linda in particular took chunks of time out of all the disciplines on in comparison to her New Year’s Day race in 2018.

Also on the calendar in the early part of the season was the Monikie Duathlon Series. Ian and Linda were both taking part and finished second and first respectively in their respective categories which was a nice confidence boost for both.

Final early season race worth mentioning is Alloa Half Marathon which Jen, Matt and Linda took on, more as a bit of fun than as a serious test but all of them got a solid result to take home.

Angela went out of her depths with some of her early season events taking part in her first ever cycle road race, the Lake of Menteith APR and also doing the tough Lasswade 10 Mile Road Race (running). Lastly Emilio took on the tough Glentress Trail Marathon and put in a strong performance. He wasn’t entirely convinced of my description of the course though as my suggestion ‘it was all downhill from here’ didn’t seem to materialise.



One of the main changes in Q1 was that the option to do swim video analysis session came back online with Dalry Swim Centre reopening at the end of January. Since then we have done a number of video sessions helping athletes improve their swim. If you are interested in this service then please get in touch or check the availability of sessions on the website.

The great advantage of these sessions is that you get to see your swim stroke from all angles and we’ll have a good chat about what we are seeing and what changes can be made to improve the swimming.

We offer either one to one sessions (£40) of session with 2 people (£25 per person). Sometimes it can be beneficial to see others swim – good or bad – and learn from their corrections as well as your own.

Along with the online coaching I offer, you get the ability to do 1to1 coaching sessions in any of the three triathlon sports plus transition work too. Again keep an eye on the website to book into a session for a technique check and an improvement of your skill level.


At the end of February I attended the Triathlon Scotland Coaching Conference which gave me new insights into OW swim coaching in a pool environment, sports psychology and communication.

I have since applied some of the ideas learnt from the conference in the swim coaching. Communication is always a testing one for coaches as this needs to be individualised for each athlete as every one of them has their own way of communicating. If I want to get the most amount of info out of the athletes I work with then I need to adapt the way I communicate with them to suit the way that works for them. I play this in both ways in adapting myself and suggesting ways how I would like it to work. This allows us to come to a working system between myself and the athlete.


Pyrenees Training Camp

Early in May we had our 3rd Training Camp in the Pyrenees. A full report of this will be in the Quarter 2 roundup. We had 4 people sign up for the camp this year. What I would be keen to know is what is holding people back from signing up for the camp. Ideally I’d like to take 7-10 people with me on the camp. I have some thoughts as to what have been the stumbling blocks but it would be interesting to hear from those who would like the camp but didn’t sign up.


In the next quarterly update we’ll have a review of the Training Camp, a report from the European Championships and a look ahead at a very long run.

I’d like to have more blog posts on here so suggestions on what you would like me (or someone else) to write about would be great. Looking forward to hearing your ideas.