Rowan Foster – 5th IM Western Australia 2013

I sought out Mark Turner at Tri Alliance to coach me on my return to triathlon and IRONMAN racing after a few years away from the sport. I’d previously raced four IRONMAN events without feeling I’d achieved the result I wanted; largely due to not having a dedicated coach to guide my training and performance.

Mark has strong credentials coaching IRONMAN athletes and from the first goal setting session it was clear he focuses on understanding the athlete and individualising the training program to get the best results. It was a smart program with structured, specific sessions across all three disciplines, backed by regular one-to-one feedback and guidance.

I took a lot of confidence away from the sessions as the weeks went by and entering IRONMAN WA I knew I was in the shape to put together a good race. Mark has such a strong passion to see his athletes succeed and that gives you a lot of confidence. Importantly Mark’s approach covers off those things that can make or break you in IRONMAN racing – nutrition and pacing. Together we developed a nutrition strategy with Shotz and a race strategy that would work to my strengths. Those are the extras that make you feel confident toeing the start line.

Racing IRONMAN WA I set PBs across all three disciplines and finally executed a strong marathon to achieve a 34 minute IM personal best of 9hr 32min. I’m disappointed in myself for taking so long to link with a quality coach but it goes to show if you want to get the best from yourself you have to invest in the right coach. Mark is that coach for me and I fully recommend him to anyone wanting to get the best from themselves as an IRONMAN athlete.  

Mick Ryan – First IM Cairns 2013

I joined Tri Alliance in January 2013 as I was preparing for my first full distance ironman event.  Having done quite a few triathlons, marathons and a half ironman I thought I had a pretty good idea about what worked for me.  That was extremely naïve and after just a few sessions I realised the benefits of training with Tri Alliance.  Within just a couple of weeks I was kicking myself for putting off joining for so long.  The expert coaching, training programs, support, camaraderie and even competition within the group pushed me to levels I could have never hoped to achieve training on my own.  The thing I like most about being a member of Tri Alliance though is they make it fun to train, sure they push you to your limits, and at times past your limits, but the improvements and results speaks for themselves. 

Mark, Suz and the whole extended crew take a genuine interest in making sure each athlete gets the best out of themselves and they quickly work out how best to deal with individuals.  They are extremely welcoming, whether you are a first time starter or someone trying to get to Kona or the world titles.  The team support for the Cairns ironman entire campaign was unbelievable.  The training sessions were tailored to slowly build up our strength and endurance, the long course sessions in particular one at Redcliffe when we did a long course swim, ride and run were the ideal workouts for everyone. 

I can’t speak highly enough of the crew at Tri Alliance and my only regret about joining them in January this year was that I hadn’t joined much earlier in my life.  

Adam King – First IM Cairns 2013
A number of years ago I got into the sport of triathlon like many others by introduction through a friend.  I trained with a couple of other guys but not through a club or coach.  We shared what we knew, didn’t put a lot of thought into it and used what we read in every ‘tri mag’ we could get.  None of this provided any great benefit but we persisted.

 A couple of years later I set a goal of completing (not competing in) an Ironman, it was something I remembered watching as a child and always had a dream of completing.  I started training harder doing more races and set a plan to work up to the ironman that included completing a number of olympic distance events and one 1/2 Ironman before tackling the big event (still not knowing I could complete it).  After another poor performance in the 1/2 Ironman and another injury I was convinced by my Physio to join a Tri-squad and do some ‘proper training’.

 I was very daunted when first joining the squad.  I doubted I could keep up with all the others, they all looked so good and well ahead of my level of fitness.  Very quickly I was put to ease by the encouragement of the other squad members and the introduction by the coaches.  I was put with other people close to my level and given very quick technique advice that at least kept me from embarrassing myself further.  After an couple of months of conditioning with the squad I felt more confident to take on the training required for the ironman.   

I chose one of the many training options Tri-Alliance has to offer and opted for a structured training program by one of the coaches.  My coach had a lot of personal IM experience and this was a key in getting thought not only the race but the 20 weeks of training.

 One of they key benefits for me in being able to keep up my training goal was the flexibility and personalisation of my program (I travel a lot for work, so it had to fit in with where I was and what equipment I had with me).  Tri-Alliance QLD has a large number of squad training options in Brisbane and the Gold Coast and living and working between the two cities meant that I could train with the different squads in any number of sessions.  The squad session also vary as much as possible with regards to locations so you are not always riding and running at the same spots, this really breaks up the training and makes it more challenging and engaging.  Another plus is the fact that nearly all the coaches taking the squad sessions have IM experience and the sessions were trailed to suit the distances individual athletes were competing in. 

One big turning point in my training was my first Tri camp.  Tri-Alliance QLD run a number of camps trailered to upcoming events in the state our our Cairns IM camp was perfectly trailered to what we would expect.  Not only the physical and technical training, it included tactical race advice, nutritional and dietary information for before and during the event but even specific sweat testing to understand your personal fluid replacement strategy if you wanted to take it up.

 After the camp I went from ‘hoping’ to completing my first IM comfortably to knowing I would complete it comfortably.  The support, assistance (from both coaches and squad members) as well as the comradery in the squad made all the difference in having the confidence to complete my goal.  Anyone can complete an Ironman as long as they have a good coach and a great squad to train with.  I can prove that.

 I’ve been so pleased with my progress now since joining the squad that I can’t wait to complete my next IM, where if I struggled through one more event and had another poor result I think I might have given the sport away.  I set my own personal target time 8 months before the race on what time I was currently doing in training.  I was planning on finishing the Cairns Ironman in about 12:30 – 13:30 hours. That was best case! 

I completed my first event in 11:30 and I had plenty of energy left at the end.  This is my motivation for my next IM event and how much better my time could be…

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