An Interview with Dawn English, Triathlon Coach

Functional Aging

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Doddridge Plaza
3765 S. Alameda, Ste 102
Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(361) 857-5087
  1. An Interview with Dawn English, Triathlon Coach


    Several of our clients have recently taken up running and have been interested in running, biking and/or swimming competitively.   As we continuously push our aging client base to be more active, we want to provide the best information we can for them and our readers.  Industry leader,  triathlon coach, wife and mother,  Dawn English took  some time from her busy schedule and allowed us to interview her.  A big thank you to her for allowing us to feature this interview as one of our blog posts.

    Who would be a good candidate to do a triathlon?

    Anyone, that has been cleared medically to participate in extended cardiovascular activities and has basic bio-mechanic function.  Triathlon is a great way to lower your BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, and you may just drop a few pant sizes along the way.  “I thought triathlons were longer,” you say.  Not always. There are many shorter triathlons called sprints There is even a local event, the STARR TREK Triathlon, where the distance is a 200 yard swim, 6 mile bike, and a 1 mile run. These distances are attainable and allow you to train without feeling like you should give up your day job or your family! (No offense to my Half Ironman and Ironman posse. I am a devotee of all long-distance sporting events, but I want to make this interview palatable – not scary – for the newbie.)

    And – one of the coolest parts of a triathlon – you will see athletes of all shapes and sizes. It’s a myth that all the athletes look like they should be lifeguards on Baywatch.

    What could our clients expect in the way of a training regime?

    As you train, you will notice a direct correlation between how you treat your body and how your workouts feel. Eat heavy food, and you will feel heavy when you run. Lose sleep, and you will feel tired when you bike. Skip lunch, and you will have nothing for your swim after work. Triathlon training is a holistic approach to fitness, as you need adequate fuel and energy to accomplish the task. So in the process, it may just motivate you to skip the fried food, eat some fruit and turn off the T.V. to hit the sack earlier.

    What could they expect from a coach?

    There are many training plans available online or entire books on the subject.  USA Triathlon Certified coaches are also available to provide more customized programs.  These can be found on the USA Triathlon website.  Triathlon coaches can be utilized strictly online or locally for more one-on-one training.

    All three disciplines recruit different muscles, giving your body time to recover. And for those of us who have seemed to develop ADD over the years, the constant change is a bonus.

    When would be a good time to get started? Time of year, etc…….

    Anytime.  Triathlons are held year round.

    Where can our aging clients go to get the best training information based on their age?

    Triathletes  that are 40 years and older are called “Masters.”  And, age is relative… depends on age in years…….or their physical age based on the type of shape they are in.  I have worked with many older athletes that are in better shape than some 30 year olds that are just getting started.   Basic bio-mechanic principles apply.  Typically, older athletes need more time to recover and need to make strength training priority 1.   Any triathlon training book will address aging and triathlon as will credible websites.   Other factors to consider include:  history of injuries, surgeries and chronic medical conditions.

    Why would you suggest someone take on this multi faceted sport at an older age?

    For the exact reason -that it is multi faceted.  All three disciplines recruit different muscles, giving your body time to recover,   As a rule, older people rule in triathlons! It’s true! To really develop in all three sports requires maturity, discipline and years of training. For the most part, the fastest participants in triathlons are 35+, 40+ and even 50+. It’s great to be part of a sport where the young 22-year-old doesn’t always have the advantage. No offense to you 22-year-olds out there!

    How does personal training fit into this overall training program?  Or, how does a person get started?

    Personal training in terms of strength training is crucial.  One of the biggest mistakes triathletes make is making time to swim, bike and run and not strength train.  As we get older we lose muscle mass without strength training.  Furthermore, strength training allows us to work muscles/tendons that are not worked when you swim, bike and run to provide balance.  So, when starting a triathlon training program, strength training should always be a component.  In addition, structure your training around technique in all 3 disciplines before you even worry about building power and speed.  Technique provides the foundation for injury prevention.

    Dawn English is a USA Triathlon, Level 1 Certified coach and has been coaching athletes since 2008.  She coaches beginners, experienced, juniors and Masters athletes.  Her training programs are structured around technique and basic cardiovascular fitness.  Personally, she has been competing in triathlons since 1999 and has done over 60 triathlons including 12 Half Ironmans (PR 4.57) and Ironman Texas in 2011 (11:50.01).  She is a two time 70.3 World Championship Qualifier and a 2012 USA Triathlon All American.  She has organized newbie youth and adult triathlon clinics for the community in conjunction with the Corpus Christi Triathlon Club for the last 4 years.  and has an undergraduate degree in Communications and a Masters in Public Administration. 

    Dawn has 2 Elementary aged children and is a Navy Spouse.To contact Dawn English:
    Equilibrium: Triathlon Coaching for Real Life
    (361) 658-9331

Your Personal Best Location
Your Personal Best Training Studio
Doddridge Plaza
3765 S. Alameda, Ste 102
Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(361) 857-5087