18 things a triathlon coach should really teach you

Inspired by a friend, our Brunty explains what he thinks a tri coach should teach their athletes…as well as the usual, run-of-the-mill, swim, bike and run stuff


Recently, a friend of mine announced that he had qualified as a ‘Level 2 Triathlon Coach’. My first reaction was to laugh like a hyena on meth-amphetamine because this particular individual wouldn’t make a decent coach if you took all his teeth out and put 52 seats in.

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Yet my derision gave way to curiosity about what precisely it is he’s now qualified to teach. Disappointingly, it seems to focus entirely on ‘swimming, cycling and running’ – I say disappointingly because, as we all know, there’s an awful lot more to tri that that. In fact, I’d go so far as to say these aren’t even in the top three most important things a triathlete needs to learn.

This got me thinking that maybe, at last, I’ve found my niche in the sport. As tri’s number one idiot-savant with proper tri-skillzzzz forged in the furnace of endless blundering, I could set up as a coach and offer my boundless knowledge on the stuff you need to know, like:

1. How to balance your kit box on your bike while walking to transition without dropping the box and scattering your kit everywhere or cracking your shin so hard on a pedal you feel like you’ve just kicked an engine block.

2. How to remove number transfers from your arm while retaining skin.

3. What body language and facial expression to adopt to stop your bike-racking neighbour from encroaching onto YOUR transition space.

4. How to perform bike maintenance using only Allen keys and swear words.

5. Preparing for a pre-race-season diet by emptying the entire contents of the fridge into your mouth.

6. How to make your race results sound much better than they are, i.e. ‘I was first in my age–group, from my club’, ‘I was slightly slower than last year but conditions were much windier’, and ‘If I was in the age-group above I’d have finished in the top-10.’

7. At public swims, which lane to select so that people don’t get in your way or are likely to get out soon.

8. Which race T-shirt to wear to your next race so that you look simultaneously experienced, modest, and not a knob.

10. How to put your swim hat on without it pinging off your head like a North Korean rocket.

11. How to remove energy gel from your hands and handlebars.

12. How long to leave your transition/race wristband on your wrist before you start to look like a tit.

At this point my train of thought became a bus replacement service and I ran out of ideas, so I took to Twitter to test the water with other triathletes, and lo! They proved popular enough for people to start offering me monthly direct debits for my wisdom. Not only that, I had a whole heap of additional suggestions that I’ll now claim as all my own ideas. These included:

13. “Removing permanent marker from your skin. My colleagues are often confused by Monday morning calf numbers.” Felicity Caddick

14.“How to be as silent as a sparrow fart when creeping out of the house to go training in the early hours so as not to set the dog off.”

15. “How to stand in the water at the start of a race and not look like freezing water is coming in through your zip.” Sophie Wetherall –

16. “Effective mobile toilet tactics. Which one to choose and which to avoid without having to open the door and be exposed to the potential contents therein.” Sam Robson

17.  “How to remove your wetsuit without hopping around on one leg and slipping on your arse.” TriLinds

18. Angela Harris – “How to stop yourself immediately needing to go to the toilet the moment you’ve zipped your wetsuit up.”

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As you can see, there’s a gap in the market for someone to offer this expertise, so stand by for my new venture into the world of coaching with ‘Brunty’s Useful Multisport Skills’, perfect for the athlete who’s fed up with being at the rear

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