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Ted's Season - Part I - Coaches

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By Ted Treise

Social media is tough. I don’t know what to post unless it’s a monthly thing about my partners that supports me. You want me to show you some picture of a run I did 50 times before? What’s the caption? “Another run banked”. Yup, great job, Ted. Glad to see you’re exercising. But BUT.. I can write. I feel like this is my medium. So with that, here’s and update on what’s been going on my end in 2023 to date. It will be long winded though because, well, it’s my post! Hah!

Nate

2023 actually started in 2022 when my long-time coach, Nate Dicks hung up the whistle and ended his coaching endeavors after my final race at Ironman Waco 70.3. Nate and I started working together in 2015 when I was a student at Mankato and he was a professor. His students were doing a dissertation on Vo2 stuff and needed a subject. I was stoked to get some free Vo2 work then after the test he recommended some training to help build my engine. We went from there and ended up being my coach for about 7 years.

It was tough seeing him go, but I understand when family and his teaching demands rise, somethings got to go....



David

What do they say? With change comes opportunity? So there’s also another aspect of getting a new coach and it’s the excitement of having someone come at your training from a different angle. It’s exciting to think, ‘OK, I got to a level where I race against world class people, let’s see how someone who coaches the world’s best can get me to compete against those individuals.” Just fill in the holes with some spackle, put a fresh coat of paint on it and boom – a new me!

So that’s where I wanted to go. Someone who knew what it took to compete on a world class level and could try their best to get me there. A few names came up on my short list, talked to some while others didn’t email me (name rhymes with Hat Fixin), and read Ruth Brennen Morrey blog, The Non-Negotiables of Finding a Coach, about 100 times.

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Before I talked to anyone, I spent hours listening to various podcast they’ve been on, reading interviews and watching any on YouTube I could find. I didn’t want to waste time with stupid questions like ‘how did you get into triathlon coaching’. Or ‘tell me about your coaching philosophy’. It just drives me nuts when people do that – like, spend 30 minutes on the internet. I wanted to know things like how would they structure a 3 year build to getting close to a world class level. What’s worked in the past for improving swims? How does new training techniques get incorporated in their tool box? Am I going to be their test subject for the super star’s on their roster paying their bonus? I mean it makes sense but, ah, you want that temperature sensor to go where..?

In the end, I went with David Tilbury-Davis. He had worked with Ruth’s prior coach, Dr. Phil Skiba, at a prior partnership they had and in my opinion, a bit more pragmatism to his ideology pairing with this research based methods. He is British based in Finland so there’s the time change factor, but we navigated just fine during the interview process and that seemed like a non-issue. A did have a brief panic that everything will be prescribed in kilometers but thankfully we’re sticking to freedom units.

So what’s it like having a world class coach? World class results, right? All I was missing was another long bike and voila- front pack baby!

It’s actually, well, it’s actually very vanilla. I get my planning in month blocks with the same schedule each week. There’re slight variances here and there with maybe the Sunday long ride progressing, but otherwise, not much change. Just a grind, but the magic comes in with his communication. Each week we’re checking and having a 15-20 minute phone call. Going over sessions that went well, ones that I am improving on, what I am having issues with and thing’s he's noticing. It’s like each week I am being pushed in the right direction a little bit more. Sometimes things change in a big way as you’ll read later, but most the times it ends in ‘welp, keep plugging away’

I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without Nate and I think this coaching change came at the perfect time in my triathlon ‘career’. One year before, I wouldn’t have been ready. Another year from now, I think it would been too late. The world has a funny way of gifting opportunities like this.

 

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