I first met Mark when he attended the ADF Triathlon camp in January 2018. I’d entered Ironman Port Macquarie late in 2017 but training had been unfocussed and compromised at times by work and I was still 50/50 as to whether I’d actually make it to the race. I was impressed by Mark’s no-nonsense approach and practical tips and so at the end of the camp I expressed interest in getting coached in order to give some focus in the lead up to Port Macquarie. Despite a solid endurance background and reasonable success since transitioning back to multisport, I didn’t have any real idea about how to prepare for an Ironman. From late February Mark guided me as I built from the solid but unfocused base towards the Ironman with specific programs and detailed workouts and targets across the three disciplines. There is no doubt in my mind that without Mark’s guidance I would not have had the knowledge about how to train optimally for the Ironman. Mark was always available to guide and reassure with regular feedback by email and message
With a lack of swimming in my background, and having occasionally in the past been given workouts that seemed designed more to highlight my incompetence than to build my confidence and ability to get through the 3.8k swim comfortably. I felt I gained a great deal from the simple and practical swim sessions that focussed on building strength and endurance rather than trying to apply perfect technique.
At all times Mark was responsive to my feedback and adjusted programs to accomodate my life and work circumstances. That said, there was still times where I needed a push to get me through and there were few shortcuts when it mattered. The long Saturday’s helped hone endurance and nutrition plans with emphasis put on ensuring I tested and practiced eating and drinking strategies. The race simulation workouts also helped determine pacing plans and built my confidence as the race approached.
By race day I felt that the training and discussions had honed the race plan and allowed me to focus through the race on hitting the targets we had decided on. Some of the simple mantras and key points of advice—like doing what you should, rather than could—helped me to keep on schedule through the bike, focussing on my own race without getting caught up racing others.
The race result of 9hrs 26 min for my first IM probably exceeded my expectations and the plan and defined work rate Mark developed helped me to keep on track and build the effort as the day progressed. Rarely have I raced where the race went to plan to such a degree and I think the credit for this really goes to Mark.
We arrived in Brisbane in 2012; with me a frustrated triathlete having just turned down a Kona spot.
I was looking for a “real” Aussie coach to help me improve and do it again; lucky for me I met Mark Turner and 4 years later looking at the list below I can safely say we smashed it!
2 Kona qualifications with a sub 10 hour finish on the big island
Ironman and 70.3 podium finishes
3rd in my age group in the Australian long distance championships in 2015 and 20th in my age group at the 70.3 worlds on the Sunshine Coast in 2016
Plus PBs at Olympic, half and full iron distance
It has been a great athlete/coach partnership because of the following:
Honesty – Mark says it like it is, so if something isn’t likely to work it gets binned.
Understanding real life – Mark knows triathlon, whilst important, comes behind family and work in the list of priorities.
Flexibility – with a young family and hectic work schedule, Mark managed to find a training plan that worked
Listening – plenty of feedback both ways is essential to make the partnership work.
It is a shame to be leaving Australia and Mark’s coaching care – however I came looking for a real Aussie coach and am leaving having made a real Aussie mate!
Thanks Mate I’ve had a blast!
I had always admired triathletes and would say that I wanted to participate in triathlon but the thought of riding a bike with such skinny tyres seemed far too scary, not to mention the fact I couldn’t swim (…I barely scrapped through my bronze medallion).
It wasn’t until I ran for a team at Mooloolaba Tri in 2015 that I quickly came to the conclusion that I wanted to be back there competing as an individual. At this point I was focused on running with the Melbourne marathon being the next goal…I got there and just managed a PB after nursing an injury through training and into the race. So the idea of “triathlon training” also seemed sensible to mix things up and avoid running myself into the ground.
Resorting to trusty google I searched “triathlon clubs” and found Tri Nation who offered a beginners course with the next one starting in September of that year. So I signed up and bought a bike…only a road bike, I mean I didn’t know what a TT bike was or why I would need one. The bike shop “fitted me” with my first question being “how do I clip the shoes in?”…about half-a-dozen falls from a standing start later and I think I’ve got it now!
The 6 week Tri Nation beginner’s course was such an awesome introduction to triathlon – about 12 of us, no egos, understanding and patient coaches, and then a welcoming transition into the club and squad training on completion.
It should be mentioned that this all came at a very welcomed time in my life. I had never loved living in Brisbane and only being on contract with work at the time meant I didn’t have any real ties to Brisbane and was seriously considering moving. Joining Tri Nation was essentially the reason I stayed – the most amazing triathlon family. And to also quote a fellow Tri Nation member who recently said “Tri Nation somehow have turned an individual sport in to one of the greatest Teams going around” So true!! #triathlonisateamsport
When I say I admired triathletes it was/is Ironman that I held in highest regard so I decided early on (before having done an Olympic distance or 70.3) that I was going to do Cairns Ironman. I bought flights, eventually registered and well obviously bought a (Felt) TT bike – another humorous encounter at a bike shop: me having never even heard of Felt before “ill take it”, bike shop guy “umm I think you think about it”, next morning: me “ill take it” ?
Now: love my bike, love cycling.
So from here Tri Nation head coach Mark Turner (who takes several of the squad sessions) suggested we work together. Having never had anything more than your club level basketball coach, I really had no idea what this would mean. But I can certainly tell you now.
Mark has been one of the most influential people in my life of late and needless to say I’ve never been happier. As a coach (and in a little over a year) he has taken me from a beginner triathlete to podium finishes at all Triathlon distances and an Ironman World Championship. Working around my full time work schedule that often includes weekend and on call work, insisting on some sort of a social life and forever checking in on how I’m holding up mentally and physically. In saying that it has been a balanced approach in that Mark has been very conscious of the fact I am new to the sport- Ironman specifically and no matter how much I pester him to give me more he keeps it restrained and reminds me about our long term goals. I should point out that despite the pestering, I have the utmost faith and confidence in Mark. With his guidance and belief I have come to believe that anything is possible