Our Case Studies

Triathlete: Barry Maskell

Coach: Carol Young

Athlete Goal  

Initially To get into top 15 - 20 in 30-35 AG

More Recently to Qualify AG OD European Championships 2016 or 2017


Barry decided he needed a coach in September 2014 and started on his

coached programme in October.  This was an excellent time to start a coach: athlete relationship building a base of consistent and structured training through the Autumn and Winter months whilst evaluating goals and expectations.

Barry had a background in playing football at a high level but following a football related knee injury had made the transition into triathlon as his main sport one year previous to seeking a coach.  Being a person who is motivated to perform at a high level Barry wanted to understand more about structured training for triathlon and saw the need for a coach to help with this and prevent the consequences of over-training.

Light Bulb Moments

As Barry has a demanding job and a young son it was important to utilise his available training time as effectively as possible and allow necessary downtime to spend with his family.  Each session has been clearly identified with a main focus on technique, endurance, strength or speed and targeted towards standard distance competition. It has therefore been unnecessary to schedule sessions beyond 1.5 hours other than longer base rides to develop leg strength and to cater for enjoyment in this discipline. 

Swimming was Barry's weakest discipline so this has required a more forensic approach to discover what aspects needed the most work, and how to address these in unsupervised sessions.  Although shared video footage can be a very helpful medium, it proved most valuable having face to face pool sessions with Barry and discussing key points to address his breathing pattern, position in the water and establishing a more consistent kick beat and effective catch.  Explaining and demonstrating swim drills and putting them into practice straight away had immediate effect, reinforced with video footage, and built into progressive swim sessions.  Further breakthrough took place in the sea during a winter training camp, where with a few pointers on open water swim technique and sighting in rough conditions Barry made massive improvement and more importantly gained in confidence to swim in sea conditions.  An additional breakthrough has been in the use of yoga to facilitate flexibility and promote better sleep.  Barry was already practicing home yoga but has gained a better understanding through 1:1 and attending classes.  Regular communication has also been a lynchpin of maintaining focus and specificity

Achieving the Goal

So far, Barry is stronger and fitter in all three disciplines.  Swimming has made significant progress with technique changes and understanding the principles behind swimming faster.  So far Barry has had one race this year and has already improved on last years time however it is still too early in the season to for achievement of the identified goals but with some key races in the pipeline performance can be evaluated

This is still work in progress on the programme

Triathlete: Matt Nelson

Coach: Dave Green

Athlete Goal  

National Elite Level Racing.



Matt came to me in September 2013,age 21, a great swimmer with personal best times of 1:55 for 200m freestyle, and 4:12 for 400m freestyle. The run was his Achilles heel, with an injury history of lower limb problems. Also Matt was working full-time in the leisure industry which meant long shifts, weekend work and frequent shift pattern changes. So the scenario was of a very talented, and highly motivated, but frustrated triathlete, we just needed patience, and trust in each other, to form a strategy and plan that we both would buy into and believe in. We combined Matt’s talent with my experience!


Light Bulb Moments

As Matt was relatively new to triathlon, but with a good swim background, we needed to work on a solid bike/run endurance base during our first autumn/winter of working together,as a platform for his off the bike run. His adaptation to the varying levels of intensity on the bike were quite special, and within a season we had both the swim and bike fitness at a premium level, yes, up there with the best, but the run took a little longer! It was coming but frequent niggles hampered our progress. In our second autumn/winter period we aimed to build on our initial endurance and stamina base, but give the run extra focus, sometimes running up to 5 times per week, alongside his 4 swim sessions and 4 focused bike sets. After around four months this consistency began to pay off and pbs over 10km continued to come as the winter progressed, and as of March 2015 in around 33.30 shape! and NO INJURIES since last summer! Matts balance over threshold/10km/5km pace sessions is now spot on and this, allied with longer endurance and stamina sessions, and planned recovery throughout the programme, it did the trick! I would now say that this coming season, we are ready to race, for the first time, in our best shape ever, both physically, and mentally.

I think that Matts willingness to put his faith in me as his coach, straight from our first conversation, paved the way for success, and credit to him for that, his feedback is precise and to the point,  prompt and regular. I always say to Matt and any athletes I work with] that If I cant give you a satisfactory reason for doing a certain session or changing something, then dont do it!   Fortunately this situation has never occurred!

Achieving the Goal - Comments from the Athlete

‘’Since Dave and I started working together, we have begun ticking of my goals one by one as the seasons progress. My 5km personal best is now 15:50 as opposed to 16:52, and my swim and bike are rock solid and consistently up with the best. This is only my second season in triathlon, and already I have won my first National Age Group title and a 4th place in the AG World Championships. Every time we have sat down, discussed and then agreed a goal, we have achieved it! And now our new goal is to make European Cup qualification.’’ Matt Nelson 2015.


Triathlete: Andrew Tapson

Coach: Kelly Crickmore

Athlete Goal  

GB  Age group qualification


Andrew first took up triathlon as a challenge when he turned 50.  He did some races in that year before deciding that he needed a coach if he was to improve.  Andrew found the running part of triathlon to be hard work and felt he needed to work on getting this quicker.  He needed a structured programme that could be fitted around a busy work schedule and also not losing out on spending quality time with his family.

To start with I had Andrew completing 2 swims, 2 bikes and 2 runs per week.  It was about getting consistent training in and this was the right balance for Andrew.  His running significantly improved in a short amount of time just from doing a balance of specific effort sessions and easy runs that gradually progressed in distance.  Times came down in all 3 and running then became the strongest of the 3 disciplines for him. 

Light Bulb Moments

In 2013 Andrew achieved his goal of qualifying for the age group sprint champs in Kitzbuhel for the following June (2014).  Knowing the bike course was going to be quite hilly I included a phase of race specific hill training for his bike.  He had a fantastic race and finished 34th and moved up to being 8th Brit (qualified in 20th).  In 2014 he also qualified for the World Sprint Champs in Edmonton but unfortunately was unable to go at the last minute.  This year sees Andrew hoping to qualify for the worlds at Olympic distance.


Achieving the Goal - Comments from the Athlete

I know for sure that this result wouldn’t have been achieved without Kelly’s invaluable input and certainly continues to prove the theory that one’s success in triathlon comes from a structured consistent training programme.

Kelly always ensures that she has a clear understanding of my goals for the triathlon race season and builds a structured programme of coaching designed specifically for me – this program always feels flexible and the sessions are both interesting and challenging.

Last year in particular the biking sessions were specifically structured around the expected hilly course in Kitzbuhel and it was noticeable how much this benefited both my bike results and also my run times.


Triathlete: Lisa Smailes

Coach: Louise Hanley

Athlete Goal 

 To Complete her first 1/2 Iron distance event - Challenge Wanaka, New Zealand


Lisa knew me when she lived in Leeds but had in the past few years relocated to New Zealand. Having known her from climbing circles initially, she enjoyed having a go at sports and as a result got into triathlon. This was with very limited cycling experience, in fact a number of years agoLisa could hardly ride a bike!  She  is very determined and completed a number of sprint triathlons and built up to Olympic distance. She decided the next challenge would be to do a half  IM distance in New Zealand.  Lisa felt pretty scared by the whole idea and felt she needed a proper training plan but didnt really know how to do this.  We worked from October and the race was in February so we had 5 months to put together a structured programme to build on the training she had already been doing.

Light Bulb Moments

 We  agreed on a weekly structure that worked for Lisa and knew that the programme would need to be adapted along the way to fit in with days she was on call and trips away on holiday with family and friends. Lisa was able to ask questions and any hiccups were addressed. Initially, there was some confusion with pacing and some uncertainty about her abilities but I saw her confidence grow as she realised she was making progress . Lisa had a race that was targeted to practice some elements such as open water skills, transitions, hydration and nutrition.

‘The race was a real positive. I was surprised how great my transitions felt, no mess ups at all. Don't think that has ever happened before. I am feeling more confident about the whole thing now. Last week I was having a few doubts. I have feeling more confident about the swim and the run but not so much about the bike’

Lisa was able to list the positives and highlighted the areas where she still needed to feel more confident.

Achieving the Goal - Comments from the Athlete

As with most athletes, Lisa had doubts and concerns about a number of things  and we had  a few challenges along the way such as a sprained ankle, a cold, her partner broke his collar bone, work and on call duties. However, we were able to manage the training around these things so that Lisa didnt lose sight of her targets and goals . Lisa was excellent at recording her training and sending feedbackand this was done remotely as she lives in New Zealand.

Lisa knew what she had to do on the day and came away completing Challenge Wanaka Half  in fine style.


"Race all done, I finished in 6:37:05 so pleased and all went to plan!"

"I'm not feeling too wasted now so nutrition must have been about right"

"Thanks for being such a fab coach, definitely couldn't have done it on my own. Thanks so much for all your help and not only getting me to the start line but also the finish!

Triathlete: Claire Shea-Simonds

Coach: Jack Maitland

Athlete Goal  

To qualify for the IM/70.3 world championships


I started coaching Claire in May 2008. She had done one Ironman a couple of years before in 11hrs 50mins and wanted to prepare more thoroughly and get her time down to under 11hr 30mins in 2009.

There were a number of issues with her training at the time:

  1. Working very long hours (up to 70hrs/week) in a job that she didn’t enjoy.
  2. Consequently only able to train 2xS, 2xB, 2xR per week with a total volume of about 9hrs.
  3. She was doing almost no Strength and Conditioning and her core and glutes were weak to the point of non-functioning on her left side.
  4. Her immune system was weak and she suffered from frequent colds and allergic reactions.
  5. Many of her sessions were non-specific and there was a general lack of quality and appropriate structure.

On the positive side she liked to race and had a real will to change things in order to achieve her goals.

Light Bulb Moments

Key points about how we worked:

  1. Importantly we worked together with Claire the athlete leading on some changes and me as the coach working on other aspects. It is obviously the athlete’s responsibility to decide on changing their job, it is equally obvious that it is the coach’s responsibility to tailor the training programme to include the necessary conditioning.
  2. It was mainly a remote relationship so we used experts local to Claire to take care of the face to face consultations and examinations that I couldn’t provide from afar.
  3. Consistent balanced training has been of paramount importance. Staying healthy, not progressing too quickly and setting realistic goals were all emphasised.
  4. To optimise Ironman performance within the constraints of a full-time job we concentrated on quality training at a volume that was sustainable year round. This built a base fitness that we could then make more specific in the run up to each target Ironman race by including weekly key sessions that didn’t stretch the overall training load far beyond what we knew she could tolerate.
  5. We used races for motivation, training, measurement and fun.

Achieving the Goal - Comments from the Athlete

The sub 11:30 IM was achieved in 2009 (Challenge Barcelona in 11:29:22)

In 2010 Goals were in Olympic and Middle distance races.

In 2011 Claire targeted Ironman Roth and smashed her pb with a time of 10:35:19

In 2012 Main goal race was the Inferno – a tough long distance quadrathlon (Added mountain-biking) in Switzerland.

In 2013 Ironman World Championship qualification was targeted and achieved with 2nd place in her age-group at IM Lanzarote.

In contrast with her training back in 2008 she was now training 16hrs/week with 3-4 swims, 3 bikes and 3-4 runs plus 2hrs worth of S&C. She was still working full-time but recovering much more effectively, training very consistently with almost no time lost to illness and was much more efficient and protected against injury.

Subsequently Claire has gone on to qualify for Kona in 2015 via IM Wales 2014.


Triathlete: Rob Cunliffe

Coach: Fiona Hoare

Athlete Goal  

To Complete ironman Lanzarote


Rob came to me in March 2012 after purchasing and using one of Simon’s Winter Training Packages. Rob realised that due to the pressures and time constraints of his life and work, he would need a more tailored programme.

Rob is a fireman and works shifts, he has his children most weekends and generally leads a busy life.

Rob had a varied sporting background along the lines of running various distances up to a 100 km race many years ago but more recently long distance cross country ski racing 90km.

As a fireman working shifts, this brought the challenge of fitting his training in around a 2 days, 2 nights and 4 off rota whilst also getting enough rest and recovery.

Before starting his training, Rob and I had a long chat about his shift rota, the physical and mental effects that this and how best to plan his training. The first couple of weeks were spent finding the best schedule allowing work, training and recovery.

In March and April 2012 Rob had a couple illness issues which hampered his training. During this period Rob and I very carefully planned out what if anything he could do whilst still being able to work. By the time these issues had cleared Rob was getting pretty close to the Ironman. After a good chat we decided that he should go over to Lanzarote on a training camp. He put in about 30 hours of training and came back fit and healthy. This didn’t leave much time for a taper.

With careful planning and good communication between the two of us Rob achieved his goal of completing the Lanzarote Ironman.


Light Bulb Moments

Some of the key points of Robs training during all of this period was his ability to listen to his body, he embraced his strength and conditioning, his stretching and we made sure that every session had a purpose / goal and he focussed upon these. 

My work with Rob is going and over the years we have worked our way through various challenges that life has thrown at Rob including illness and injury. Good communication has been a key to all of this and for me to get to know my athlete properly.


Achieving the Goal - Comments from the Athlete

"Being coached is absolutely vital as Fe has a wealth of experience and can pull on resources of TTC and of past experiences to guide me through the periods when the training has been difficult" 

"Information around taper is so important as getting it wrong can damage many months of training".

"Also, ease of not having to design your own training sessions".


Triathlete: Lucy Nell

Coach: Louise Barron

Athlete Goal

To break through into the UK and European elite triathlon



Lucy came to me having trained on the British Triathlon performance squads as a junior. Having chosen a career in medicine, she prioritized this at university. Now in her early 20s with a busy medical career she had been pursueing her elite triathlon goals but struggling to balance training and racing with her career. As well as struggling to find time to train in her working week, she also wasn’t sure whether she was doing the right balance of training across different disciplines as well as within each discipline. She was suffering with fatigue and was struggling to balance all the aspects of her.

Having recently been given some opportunities to race elite this coming race season and with further opportunities in the future, she wanted to deliver herself into races in the best possible shape and see how far she could get as an elite.


Lightbulb Moments

Taking into consideration Lucy’s extensive background in the sport, we looked at what training she could fit in around her shift work and redressed the balance that was lacking in her training - both across disciplines as well as within each discipline.  We set her up with a programme that her optimized her time off from work. With a structured training week, she found she had more energy to train, recovered better and was getting fitter. As she didn’t have to plan her own training sessions she found she had confidence that the training she was doing was quality and what she needed to be doing to help her reach her goals. This also freed up more time to spend with friends and family.


Achieving the Goal

2 years into our coaching, Lucy is effectively juggling work and her elite athlete goals. She’s been able to qualify for the European Cup and place top ten in the British Super series as well as race for a French Grand Prix team where she has gained experience of International racing and on home soil win the RAF champs.

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