Julie Whaley

By Kevin Henderson, June 29, 2020


Why would a coach want a coach?

Objectivity, support, guidance, learning and so much more…

Having a background of triathlon coaching, training and racing from 2011 to 2016 as well as a plethora of academic qualifications in sport, one could easily assume that I know exactly what to do to reach my full potential as a triathlete. Coaching and being coached are two very different experiences which can compliment each other so long as there is immediate openness and honesty.

Not having formally trained or raced since the summer of 2016, and having already been successfully coached from 2012 to 2016 in a different area of the UK, I decided I needed help with the restructure and refocus of my training. I knew I needed a complete revamp of my current training patterns and therefore set about finding someone to whom I would be accountable and would quite frankly kick my sorry ass into being a bit more productive; that’s when I found Kevin!

Right from the outset I was impressed with Kevin’s professional and holistic approach as well as his work ethic and clear training plans. I explained to Kevin that I wanted to get back to racing in 2020 with a view to seeing where I was in the field of triathlon. Having no real performance goals meant that Kevin could focus on settling me into a new routine of training whilst I settled into learning how to work with a coach again and, more importantly, with power on the bike. Working with power was a new concept to me as an athlete but with Kevin’s guidance and patience I started to enjoy seeing my power output improve on outdoor rides. I was immediately, and continue to be, very impressed with Kevin’s in-depth analysis and feedback for all training sessions. Kevin is quick to provide positive feedback for sessions which have gone well but equally he provides constructive feedback for ones which may not have gone quite so well; hence the continual learning.

Working harder than I have for a good number of years, my body and mind has had to adapt to new training. This is where Kevin’s objectivity, support and guidance has been most apparent, adapting my training instantly and using his expert knowledge to ensure I don’t overtrain. Each week I look at my plan with excitement and maybe a little trepidation, Kevin most definitely pushes me harder than I would push myself without his accountability. However, the difference is that Kevin knows when to pull back and lessen training to adapt to life’s ups and downs, constraints and unforeseen circumstances, again evidence of objectivity rather than the all too common emotional attachment athletes tend to have to their training.

Due to the unprecedented spring of 2020 regarding the global health pandemic, I decided to rethink this years’ racing plans. Together, Kevin and I have worked on keeping motivation high in order to train as consistently as possible. With the uncertainty as to whether races would even go ahead, Kevin’s approach remained as professional as ever, keeping a close eye on developments and adapting my training accordingly. Hopefully I will get to race towards the end of this year, and if I do, I know I will have trained as consistently as my lifestyle has allowed. I will also have been closely monitored by Kevin. So, regardless of the outcome, I will at last have made the leap from “I used to do triathlon” to “I am a triathlete” under the guidance and keen eye of a coach who not only wants me to perform to the best of my ability but also cares about my emotional well-being as an athlete.

Julie Whaley Athlete