Why would a coach want a coach?
Objectivity, support, guidance, learning and so much more…
Having a background of triathlon coaching, training and racing from 2011 to 2016 as well as a plethora of academic qualifications in sport, one could easily assume that I know exactly what to do to reach my full potential as a triathlete. Coaching and being coached are two very different experiences which can compliment each other so long as there is immediate openness and honesty.
Not having formally trained or raced since the summer of 2016, and having already been successfully coached from 2012 to 2016 in a different area of the UK, I decided I needed help with the restructure and refocus of my training. I knew I needed a complete revamp of my current training patterns and therefore set about finding someone to whom I would be accountable and would quite frankly kick my sorry ass into being a bit more productive; that’s when I found Kevin!
Right from the outset I was impressed with Kevin’s professional and holistic approach as well as his work ethic and clear training plans. I explained to Kevin that I wanted to get back to racing in 2020 with a view to seeing where I was in the field of triathlon. Having no real performance goals meant that Kevin could focus on settling me into a new routine of training whilst I settled into learning how to work with a coach again and, more importantly, with power on the bike. Working with power was a new concept to me as an athlete but with Kevin’s guidance and patience I started to enjoy seeing my power output improve on outdoor rides. I was immediately, and continue to be, very impressed with Kevin’s in-depth analysis and feedback for all training sessions. Kevin is quick to provide positive feedback for sessions which have gone well but equally he provides constructive feedback for ones which may not have gone quite so well; hence the continual learning.
Working harder than I have for a good number of years, my body and mind has had to adapt to new training. This is where Kevin’s objectivity, support and guidance has been most apparent, adapting my training instantly and using his expert knowledge to ensure I don’t overtrain. Each week I look at my plan with excitement and maybe a little trepidation, Kevin most definitely pushes me harder than I would push myself without his accountability. However, the difference is that Kevin knows when to pull back and lessen training to adapt to life’s ups and downs, constraints and unforeseen circumstances, again evidence of objectivity rather than the all too common emotional attachment athletes tend to have to their training.
Due to the unprecedented spring of 2020 regarding the global health pandemic, I decided to rethink this years’ racing plans. Together, Kevin and I have worked on keeping motivation high in order to train as consistently as possible. With the uncertainty as to whether races would even go ahead, Kevin’s approach remained as professional as ever, keeping a close eye on developments and adapting my training accordingly. Hopefully I will get to race towards the end of this year, and if I do, I know I will have trained as consistently as my lifestyle has allowed. I will also have been closely monitored by Kevin. So, regardless of the outcome, I will at last have made the leap from “I used to do triathlon” to “I am a triathlete” under the guidance and keen eye of a coach who not only wants me to perform to the best of my ability but also cares about my emotional well-being as an athlete.
I was looking for a coach as I knew cycling was my weak point and I was lacking structure in my general training. I had qualified for the Sprint Duathlon European Championships and when I went to Kev my goal was clear – to win at the European Championships the following year. Kev always believed in me and was supportive yet still pushed my limits. I have struggled with injury niggles, so Kev also built specific gym workouts to address my weaknesses and as a result, I have never been as strong. Within seven months of training, he had taken 37 minutes off my bike 70.3 time and as promised, I won the gold at the Europeans! I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have achieved these results without him.
This was my 5th year of Triathlon and as the years have passed I have been improving every year. After recently moving in 2016 from an onshore workplace to being back offshore on a 3 weeks away and 3 weeks at home rota I had no idea how to be able to train properly after working 12 hours every day.
I entered Exmoor 70.3 in 2016 and only had a few months of offshore life to maintain a good level of fitness that I had. The course should have really suited me and I finished 3rd in age group. I was pleased with result but not with performance as I knew I could have done much better. I also missed out on a qualification spot to the World Championships by 1 place. So I had unfinished business in Exmoor and decided for the first time in my Triathlon Career that I was going to an event with a specific Goal.
’’ I want to qualify for the World 70.3 Championship’’
With no idea how to train properly offshore, I decide I needed a coach to help. I looked at many different options from online to personnel trainers and finally came across Black Zone Coaching. A couple of things stood out in his webpage when doing my research.
1. If you are looking for an easy fix you won’t find it with Kevin, but if you are serious about your goals and willing to commit to his guidance you will achieve what may have previously eluded you as an athlete.
2. Kevin has a 100% success record with his athletes reaching their goals. (’’Bold Statement’’)
I started working with Kevin in September 2016 and the fresh approach to training gave me a new lease of life. He was very quick at knowing what I was capable of and the training programs are constantly changing which helps enormously with motivation. During my offshore rota, he has been able to adapt the cycling training plan to get the most out of a Watt Bike and Treadmill with High intensity, Short duration workouts. (If you call 1 ½ hours on a treadmill short) at times of high fatigue he can quickly adjust the programs to get me back on track, I honestly feel at the age of 48 I am fitter now than I have ever been in my life.
Next step is Chattanooga on the 10th September to put myself up against the best the World has to offer. I have no idea what to expect or what I would be happy with. I will continue to follow Kevin’s cycling training plan and try and execute the race to the best I have to offer and see what comes from it. Most importantly I’m going to enjoy the whole experience.
Finally, Thank you Kevin for being a big part in the Jigsaw in helping me achieve my Goal.
I started training with Kevin in November 2018. I wanted help to try to improve my run off the bike in middle distance triathlon, as I felt generally OK with my swim and bike up to that point but my run was always painful, slow and really disheartening. I had never had any coaching before and had always considered myself a (below) average triathlete! I was really happy with Kevin’s initial quick, business-like and professional approach and this really helped me stick with my new training plan.
As the weeks progressed I really began to love the routine of my training programme; Kevin is really good at pushing you just enough, I have never been injured whilst working with Kevin. Workouts that were at the beginning of the training cycle eye-watering difficult, by the end of the month, were achievable which gave me huge satisfaction. I find Kevin’s bike training particularly effective – using a smart turbo and Zwift in conjunction with Kevin’s tailored interval sets saw huge improvements in my bike times over both standard and middle distance triathlon this year.
I am someone who tended in the past to over train with a lot of junk miles, however, with Kevin it felt like I was actually training less than I used to but with much quicker and more noticeable gains. This meant on my downtime I could actually relax and enjoy spending time with my friends and family without the guilt that I should be training more. Kevin is always on hand to help me and is lightning quick with responses on text, phone and email. I was so happy to take 16 minutes of my 2018 time at the Cotswold Classic triathlon this year and in a major twist that I did not expect I actually now enjoy running the most out of the 3 disciplines with my newfound confidence and fitness.
I absolutely love being coached by Kevin and the structure, support and confidence his training gives me. I have found the courage to sign up for Ironman Copenhagen in 2020 and with Kevin’s help hope I can do the training justice.
It has been a lifetime ambition of mine to enter and complete an IRONMAN. I had trained 1-2-1 with Kevin before so asked him to help. His meticulous approach to my training plan meant it was carefully tailored to my busy work schedule. He continually readjusted my power and heart rate zones as I progressed. Sometimes work and family commitments got in the way and Kevin would adjust the plan to make sure I was hitting the key sessions and continually improving.
My FTP rose by 40 watts over an eight week period and my swimming, cycling and running all improved considerably. I went into the race confident that I was in the best shape I’ve ever been and was able to enjoy the experience. Without this approach I would have been haphazard with my training. I never worried about what to do. You can trust Kevin to get you race ready whatever your goal is.
Kevin is exceptional! My main sport is road bike racing as a veteran and I also ski and play tennis. I was getting frustrated at being dropped from the bunch in too many Cat 3/4 bike races and wasn’t getting much better despite following one of the many generic training programmes available in the cycling mags & books. To commit to another season my training had to be specific to my needs particularly for intensity & volume, specific workouts and rest days. I didn’t trust generic training programmes to provide this.
Kevin’s sports-specific knowledge, coupled with his enthusiasm, motivational skills and long experience with modern training techniques makes him the perfect coach/trainer. Exceptionally gifted at analysing training needs he gives me a personalised power meter-based training programme that he updates on a weekly basis taking account of the season, need for progression, my form and race plans. He achieves this through regular 1:1 personal training sessions for core and strength coupled with analysis of uploaded training sessions.
Training with Kevin removes the doubts I’ve experienced previously about the specificity of my training and I can take take on a greater volume and intensity without fear of burnout. It is great fun to train like a pro with the confidence that the gains are being maximised from each block of training. I’ve been sporty and fit all my life but probably have never been in such good shape and love the feeling of seeing my fitness and form improve on the bike, in my other sports and in normal daily life.
Thanks for all your help – couldn’t even swim 2 lengths before you started training so I’m delighted with a 23 minute swim! I know I can improve on that and can also improve the cycle and run with some more training. But delighted with where I’ve come from at the start of the year.
I had seemed to hit a plateau with my cycling and results in TT events and I really wanted to achieve much more so I set about the task of finding a coach. After emailing and chatting to Kevin I decided to go with a months trial and to be honest I have never looked back.
Kevin sends me over my structured training plans for the week through training peaks and initially I was saying to myself that there wasn’t any rest days! I started the training riding some days for only 50 minutes but the sessions Kevin has given me over the past two months have helped me achieve my first sub 20 minute 10 mile TT and the belief I have now with Kevin’s continued training plan is a sub 50 minute for 25 miles is a real possibility.
Kevin and I live at opposite ends of the country and have never met but with regular contact by email, texts and phone calls we have made this arrangement work.
Just completed the Marmotte Alpes 2018 on Sunday in a time of 7h 27. That’s an hour quicker than last year and this year’s conditions were harder because of the hot temperatures. I improved my ranking from 2212 out of 7500 last year to 508 out of 7500 this year.
Really pleased with the result and improvement in just 11 weeks of following your training program. I’m looking forward to carrying on with my program and getting under 7hrs next year.
I knew what I wanted from my training and I knew I was going to have to focus to reach my targets, and whilst I was making steady progress on my own when I was recommended to Kevin at Blackzone training I thought I would give it a bash and see how it would affect my progress. It has been four months since I joined and I have been amazed by the progress, I find myself spending less time training but when I am training the structure and intensity of the sessions give me more gains for less time input, this has given me more free time and more recovery time whilst progressing.
In the four months I have been focused on training but have still managed to get a new running PB after two years of stagnating in pace, took a high profile 40 mile OCR win improving from 9th place the previous year and took the win accompanied by a cash prize at the inaugural Scotland’s Tougher Mudder. I joined Blackzone with an 8 month goal to coincide with an event later this year, I never imagined I would have come so far in half that time and can’t wait to see what can be achieved in the future.
I was an injured runner when Kevin encouraged me to get a road bike and enter a triathlon which I did. At the time I could just about manage 2 lengths of the pool without stopping and hadn’t quite perfected the art of clip in shoes or learned the rules of the road. I joined and enjoyed training with a local triathlon club but when I decided to do a 70.3 I knew I needed a more specific training plan. Fast forward 10 months and I have completed Mallorca 70.3, various sprint triathlons, road races and time trials- 10 & 50 mile.
Kevin is an intuitive coach and I believe he knows my abilities probably better than I do so I tend not to think too much about my training I just follow what’s on the program each day and have improved considerably in all disciplines. The sessions are always different and challenging, carefully tailored to my own power zones and readapted periodically to mirror fitness gains. Kevin always takes account of injuries, work commitments and life events. Highly recommend getting a program and wouldn’t look further than Kevin for this.
Kevin Henderson is infectious. His knowledge, professionalism and enthusiasm ooze an inspiring passion for his profession and for the development of the athletes with whom he works and relentlessly drives to maximise their talents.
Cooking up a potent recipe of hard work, science, nutrition, rest and recovery, Kevin instils confidence, belief and a real desire to execute.
Don’t turn up if you don’t want to work, but if you’re ready to put the hours in results will follow!
Kate’s recent successes include
After injuring my hamstring during a training run for my first marathon, I approached Kevin for his help with maintaining as much fitness as possible while the injury healed and to catch up with my training once I was able to run again. I chose Kevin as I regularly attended and enjoyed his spinning and bodypump classes and felt confident he’d be able to help me. Having used a couple of personal trainers in the past, I’ve found that the real difference with Kevin is that your training plan feels truly tailored to you and your goals, your abilities and the results and feedback from previous sessions.
The training schedules Kevin supplies are always challenging and varied, never boring and I know that my fitness levels and speed have increased beyond what would have been possible if I’d continued to train by myself. You have to be prepared to work hard to train with Kevin, but the results are worth it and I’d thoroughly recommend him to anyone looking to improve their fitness or train for a specific event.
Kevin is completely dedicated to his clients. Each programme is individually tailored to the individual’s needs and he is always available on the phone to discuss and implement changes. He is also clued in and knowledgable about the latest studies and science around sport, which means his training is pretty cutting edge. My performance leap on the bike was huge under Kevin’s programme and I would recommend him to anyone. As long you as you’re prepared to work hard, you’ll get results with Kevin.
Kevin was my coach during the making of my BBC Panorama programme Catch Me If You Can, and was an essential part of my team.
He was in charge of producing 15 hours of mainly bike training per week for me, for around eight months, as well as closely monitoring my progress. I was involved in a secret experiment to help expose doping in sport, so I had to be sure I could trust my coach to be circumspect about what I was doing.
Kevin is a trustworthy and inspirational coach, who is extremely well versed in the science behind behind the sessions he was giving, and he always finds ways to be innovative; the training is never boring.
The results I got with Kevin’s training were quick and pronounced. And I continued to improve.
He is always on hand for last minute changes to training, or to stick in session at short notice. All he thinks about is training and sports, which is what you need as a coach. And he always knew when I needed an easy day. I’d wholeheartedly recommend Kevin Henderson as a coach.
Working with Kevin has introduced focus and consistency to my training. Like lots of people I have dipped in and out of exercise over the years with out any clear strategy. Working with Kevin has introduced challenging but achievable targets tailor made to suit my lifestyle and work commitments. As a club cyclist my main goal was to improve my power and endurance on the bike. I saw my FTP rise by 25% in the first 4 months of training with Kevin. That alone is strong motivation to continue. Kevin is clearly driven and passionate about fitness, always available for advice and motivational support. If you are looking for a programme that is carefully matched to you and delivers results then look no further.
Nathalie Jones is a freelance dietitian based in Glasgow who worked with Kevin Henderson on developing a triathlon coaching programme. Read her testimonial below.
I have always trained on my own, whether that be for running or triathlon. I always did ok but tended to overdo it and tire myself out or get injured. It was always pot luck whether a race went really well or disastrously wrong. Rest / easy days were never planned and probably, my harder sessions were not hard enough. I had known Kevin for at least 10 years as I had attended his spin classes in the past but, when we first spoke about the possibility of a structured training plan, I was apprehensive and unsure if another person could tailor a plan to my unpredictable work pattern and manage my training goals.
It has only been a few weeks but already, I cannot imagine how I would organise my own training again. It has been a real relief to have someone else take care of what I am doing and when. I’m not used to the detail or training at a particular pace or heart rate but am learning that each session has its purpose and that might not always be to go flat out. The Training Peaks system he uses is really straightforward (even to a total technophobe like me) and I train better knowing that he will be seeing my every move.
Kevin always has my week planned ahead of time and tailors it to the available time I have. I have found it a challenge, especially for longer sessions, but each session is manageable and within what I can do (just!). He is extremely knowledgeable and seems to have figured out quickly what I can push to and when to ease off, which is better than my own knowledge of myself!
I have found him to be a real support and is only a text away if I have a question. I would recommend Kevin to anyone who wants to take their training a step further. Knowledgeable, supportive, firm but fair – a great coach overall. Thank you very much!