Richard Monk, 29
Expectant Father currently working as an Architectural Assistant but studying to become a RIBA Chartered Architect, also a keen Triathlete looking to qualify for the Age-Group World Champs in the Sprint distance. So time to train is limited which means it needs to be top quality when I do.
I got into Triathlon after competing in an X-Trail Tri series where the Swim was replaced with a Sea Kayak; this was great fun but not the challenge I was looking for. I went to watch the Blenheim Triathlon to see if I wanted to make the transition and signed up for the following year’s event the very next day. Since then I have completed 5 Sprint, 4 Olympic and a 70.3 Triathlon. I joined AVTC after moving to Oxford where I was introduced to Ali Hollest.
From what I have observed, most Triathletes look to the subsequent distance up when seeking their next challenge, which I was the same until I completed a 70.3 Tri last year. I realised I enjoyed my warm-up race far more. So, instead of trying for a Full Distance/Ironman I decided to focus on getting my Sprint Distance Triathlons faster which meant that I needed to improve my speed in all 3 disciplines. With a strong Bike leg under my belt the key changes to concentrate on were the Run and Swim.
I have been attending the Run Squad at Tilsey Park Wednesday evenings and the Swim Squad Friday mornings at Abingdon Boys School. I have had a Swim Video Analysis from Hollest Coaching and Ali is also a coach for AVTC where he is a well tapped resource.
My targets for the Run and Swim were to improve by around 2 minutes in each discipline. In the warm-up race my Swim was around 13minutes for 750m and my Run was 22minutes for the 5KM. Through the Swim squad and the Video Analysis my swimming has improved in a very short space of time with measureable improvements (CSS down 1 minute) and I only expect this to improve as I fine tune my technique with Ali. My running has also improved following the Run Squad sessions (knocked 2 minutes off a 5KM route I ran before joining the squad).
Ali is extremely knowledgeable, and a very attentive coach; even in a Squad session it can feel like a one-on-one coached session. His observations of my technique and how to tweak it to perform better have been priceless to achieving my goals.
The facilities which Tri Swim Coaching use are brilliant and I feel very comfortable there, which makes a big difference when your main concern is improving your Swim/Run.
Ali’s enthusiasm for Triathlon is infectious and this translates into his coaching. Great Coach who clearly enjoys my successes as much I do.