What a terrific month we have just enjoyed! This year has certainly had its share of ups and downs, however, whilst recognising that it is not quite over yet for some, September saw the culmination of this year’s hard work for many of you.
Despite the disappointment of two athletes not making the start line at the ITU Powerman Zofingen World Long Distance Duathlon Championships – always a hard one to take after months of arduous preparation – race day arrived with perfect conditions and an extremely challenging alteration to the run course. Despite the lack of mercy shown on this revised second run, the racing was outstanding and the performances equally so. In my capacity as Team Manager, I did a lot of pacing up and down throughout the day watching and cheering the competition, a form of vicarious racing, and, although I was slightly frustrated by being on the sidelines, it was a pleasure to watch duathletes, both old and new, finishing this iconic race.
No sooner had I arrived home than I was seeing another group of athletes off to the ITU Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships in Rotterdam. Sadly, I was unable to attend this race, however, in my capacity as Team Manager for Glasgow, the following weekend I attended the sprint distance qualifier at Thorpe Park for next year’s ETU Championships. Yet more fantastic racing resulted in a successful day for a number of our athletes. Up against stiff competition, both coached and supported athletes were among those who have successfully qualified for next year’s European Championships and our thoughts are already turning to designing the appropriate training and testing to make the most of this opportunity.
So, I had the fortune to watch live racing at two fantastic events and was able to share the moment of success with the athletes concerned on both occasions. For the race in Rotterdam however, I had to settle for our creaky broadband connection and the even less reliable live timing updates. I don’t usually go into too much detail about specific athletes, however Vikki Voysey and I have shared a very productive last quarter after a mixed period of training throughout the winter. Vikki had worked extremely hard at the spring training camp and, in particular, on refining her swimming form and further developing her bike performance.
Sadly, for several months, her running progress had been more troublesome and, after isolating the injury, Vikki is to be congratulated for remaining patient whilst her running form and fitness slowly returned. This self-discipline was never more present that at the European Championships in Kitzbuhel where, after coming off the bike in 4th, she had to let half her category run by her instead of challenging for the medals. The patience began to pay off in mid summer when Vikki retained her National title and finally, in Rotterdam, she got her reward.
A finely executed draft legal race saw Vikki come off the bike with the leading pack of four athletes and, with all to play for, she set about the run. Despite not knowing exactly where she was in the mix, she gradually got up to speed and Sarah and I were delighted to cheer her over the slightly pixelated finish line in third position!
This has been quite a journey for Vikki and, thankfully, her hard work and patience has been rewarded. Our reward, other than a moment or two of personal and professional satisfaction, was to add this to our tally of international athlete medals which now stands at 28. Not a bad haul for 15 years of coaching services!
Thus primed, Sarah and I headed off in very high spirits for a two day conference which was our long overdue review of the coaching services we currently offer. It has been 3 years since we last looked closely at the structure, and over 5 since we reviewed the pricing. The key driver for the review however, was to find a solution to the increasing and sometimes conflicting demands on my time, and the need to budget for a new business facility from which to offer our athlete testing services.
After much debate, we have decided to keep the costs of the main charging structure – the Bronze, Silver and Gold packages – the same. We feel that we are currently offering a service that represents good value for money whilst successfully developing our athletes and wish for this to continue. The additional costs of the facility will therefore be borne by athlete testing. However, with the increased fixed costs of the facility and other associated charges we do have to improve our cash flow. We have been blessed in that many of our athletes are or become our friends. This makes for very good athlete-coach relationships, however, as our business interests broaden we need to control our interests a little more tightly.
To accomplish this, from the 1st January 2018, we will be moving the coaching services to payment in advance by Standing Order. We have also revised our operating Terms and Conditions which now more accurately reflect our operating procedures and are available to view on our website http://www.appliedtri.co.uk/coaching/
Also new for 2018 will be the withdrawal of the General Coaching package for multipsort. This rate will still be available to our runners, however, the time required to create individualized triathlon and duathlon training plans has made this unsustainable. Should anyone have concerns with these changes then please do not hesitate to contact me.
Other, additional services have also become available including a premium option for those who require some closer support during specific periods of the year, coach and athlete mentoring services and, a soon to be launched, set of generic training plans for the wider audience.
So, as the racing season almost comes to a close, we are already setting our sights on next year. Well done to all in the recent weeks and good luck to those who still have key races and qualifiers to come. More details about the facility will become available next month when the contracts are agreed, and we look forward to welcoming you there for testing sometime soon.
JC and Sarah