We’re doing things different with this post! I’m opening up this newsletter for a guest post written by the intelligent and talented athlete, Milly Wade-West, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working. Actually, I’m not coaching Milly full-time, instead we do regular consultations (and have been since last year). Consultations are a great idea if you don’t need full-time coaching but you still need an expert to help guide your training, provide feedback and suggestions, be that objective voice of reason, and so on. (Consults may also save you money!) If you’re self-coached, good on ya, but even I know from experience that we all sometimes need to step outside our own head to make sure we’re doing things “right” and not being stubborn in our subjective viewpoints.
So anyway, Milly herself is a longtime endurance athlete, personal trainer and has a college education in exercise science — she knows her stuff. In fact, her work ethic and personality honestly remind me a bit of Chrissie Wellington. So why does she need me? For every reason I just stated in that first paragraph! I took one look at Milly’s training, her data, and listened to what she was saying, etc, and I saw exactly what she needed to tweak in order to get to that next level. She implemented those changes over time, and ya know what? It’s working. In fact, we saw her achieve a HUGE personal record (PR) at the half-Iron distance in particular. But enough of my blabber, read about it in her words below….
How Coach Tawnee helped me PR my 70.3 By 1 hour
By Milly Wade-West
I have been intrigued my triathlons and particularly Ironman for years and after being an avid competitive runner since college, decided to impulsively accompany a friend to Syracuse 70.3 last summer. I was hooked, and after being accepted to be sponsored for the Florida Ironman that November I was well into the swing of Ironman training my first year of triathlon.
This year I decided to pick things up a notch. With my background in exercise science, and my occupation as strength and running coach I knew I had the tools necessary to put together a solid training program for myself considering I was so new to the sport. But, I needed someone to bounce ideas off of, to tell me when I was doing too much and to point me in a direction I might not have always headed. Cue, the talented, knowledgeable and charismatic Tawnee Prazak.
I had been listening to podcasts during my long training rides and was particularly fond of Endurance Planet. When I went to the site and found that Tawnee did phone call consolations I couldn’t believe my luck. I already knew Tawnee knew exactly what she was doing and had a passion for health and wellness as well as fitness and performance. She was just the sort of person I was looking for, so I sent in a request to chat and in a timely manner we had our first call a few days later.
Tawnee not only took the time to get to know me as an athlete, she got to know me as a person, my background and what my history was. We instantly clicked and I knew that she was going to be an integral part of my development this year. She allows me the freedom to play around with my own ideas and training philosophies and reigns me in when I am being a bull in china shop. Simultaneously, she can effortlessly tell when I am not pushing myself hard enough and is not afraid to tell me so.
The biggest development I saw this year was in my bike time, which I owe so much to Tawnee. Somehow, thousands of miles away without ever having face to face contact or meeting each other she was able to pin point my weaknesses and gave me suggestions for workouts to try which significantly improved my ability to hammer. She suggested I try VO2 Max intervals with recovery in zone 3 instead of casually spinning, this made such a difference to my “tempo” speed. We are now working together to piece my next training block leading up to Ironman Boulder, avoiding long slow bike rides which are a point of diminishing returns for me (I need someone to tell me that though!) And instead opting for back-to-back harder effort rides, with medium quality rides throughout the week.
In June, things really came together nicely when I set a half-Ironman PR of one hour at Eagleman 70.3 (where Tawnee was there to cheer me on throughout the entire day, in fact)! You can read my full race report here.
I look forward to working with Tawnee throughout the rest of this year as a buildup for Boulder and finally my “A” race Ironman Maryland. I’m not sure what is in the cards for me next year but I do know whatever it is Tawnee will have a say about it and how I handle my training! I look forward to working with her for years to come. It is a testament to her that even someone like myself (also being a certified coach) can benefit from coaching. She has had such an influence on my training, and more importantly I know not only think of her as a coach, a mentor but also a friend, and everybody can use more of those!