The goal was always to be a psychologist working for the Red Cross all over the world. Never bound to a single chair for the whole day. That changed a bit when I started lecturing psychology at university level, moving the goal from trauma units to campus lecture halls. Then, a complete 360 to a triathlon coach. Didn’t see that one coming right? Neither did I. But here we are. I have been coaching athletes since 2016 and those hours spend studying my way up the psychology ladder is coming in pretty handy when working with endurance athletes.
Why endurance sport and athletes? According to Encyclopedia.com, the definition of an endurance athlete is as follow:
“Endurance is the ability of an athlete to withstand external physical pressures over time, or to maintain competitive and training focus under pressure”.
This definition really accentuates the role of the physical and mental capabilities an endurance athlete should have to be successful in their race attempts. That is my “why”. It is absolutely incredible to see an athlete realise their true potential. But as inherent these capabilities might be, it does take some guidance and mentorship the to really help an athlete dig deep to access that inner strength and I truly love it.
What makes me a good choice to coach Jarryd through his TriMaster journey? Well, if you look at my racing history you will be hard pressed to find an ultra event. I don’t end up on podiums regularly and I do not qualify for World Championship races (well, not yet anyway). What I do bring to the table is a different kind of experience.
I have juggled training with 15hour work days, I have had work and training burnout (before I started training with my current coach). I have experience in races going really great and races that has gone horribly wrong. I understand the pressure of doing something big, but having to manage your own life and business in between all that. I know the highs from good training sessions and the lows from those sessions that just want to make you curl up in a ball and cry. I also know the sacrifice it takes to do the long hours of training, how it feels being surrounded by people that do not understand your drive and the time spend away from loved ones chasing your dreams.
All of that said, I know that I cannot train him alone for this challenge. To make sure that the way we plan to train and eventually race, I have brought in the help from my own coach, who has been inducted in to the Ultraman Hall of Fame recently. So he knows a thing or two about stage and ultra racing. I have also roped in a physiotherapist, a massage therapist and a performance nutrition coach who all understands the demands of triathlon. It truly does take a village…
TriMaster is not only an endeavor that will be a physical challenge, but a mental challenge as well that will in the end, be a bridge between his physical capabilities and his mental strength. As his coach I am hoping that my knowledge and intuition will help prepare him and as his friend I am honored to be part of this amazing endeavor.