Coach – a brand new tool that gives a structure and support network for endurance athletes and helps them gain full control of their training – was developed by Ben Pulham, 34 and Jon Fong, 35, both co-founders of the Journey Fitness Company.
Pulham, a former elite triathlete representing New Zealand, has a number of accolades to his name. These include representing New Zealand at the Olympic Trials in Beijing in 2007 as well as getting five podium finishes at International Triathlon Union sanctioned events. In Singapore, he has also won several races, such as the Mizuno Wave Run and the Swisshotel Vertical Marathon, both in 2004.
His partner, Fong, was a former national record holder in Singapore for the Olympic Distance Triathlon. He was also the top-ranked triathlete in South East Asia and has several podium finishes to his name, such as a third-placed finish at the 4,500m category in the Tri Factor Swim 2015.
Here’s what Pulham has to share about the brand new Coach training platform – for both endurance runners as well as triathletes.
Tell us a little bit about Journey Fitness Company and how Coach came about?
Journey Fitness Company was founded in 2008 by Fong and myself to offer age-group athletes access to the sports science facilities and coaching we’d benefitted from as elite athletes.
In the Journey Fitness Lab,working one on one with our athletes, we’ve gathered a wealth of data, evidence and experience on how to effectively train age group athletes. We came up with the idea for an online training platform because we wanted to continue providing the best coaching support to our athletes, even as our athlete base continued to grow. We also wanted a mechanism for connecting our athletes so that they could learn from each other and share experiences.
We spent two years building and testing our prototype (Launchpad) and after just over a year of development, Journey Fitness Coach was released to our Launchpad members about a month ago.
How can Coach benefit athletes?
Coach is a tool that puts you in control of your training. It provides a structure and support network that ensures you make the most out of every training session, while lowering your risk of injury, illness and burnout.
We’ve spent nearly eight years in the lab testing and analysing the training results of agegroup athletes and the data collected has given us a ton of information needed to refine our training processes, which in turn, will continue to help us innovate our products and services.
Unlike many coaches looking for a quick result (often at the risk of injury or ill health), we don’t just want to make our athletes better, we want to do it in a way that will have a positive effect on their health and wellbeing. To do this we take a holistic approach and advise our athletes on everything from training and race execution, to nutrition, stress and sleep.
If you’re willing to do the training, we can help you maximise it in a way that will have the best long term return on your time invested.
What are some key training concepts adopted by Journey Fitness Company?
At Journey Fitness, we believe in a progressive approach to athletic performance. Training for endurance sports should benefit health and wellbeing and not suppress it – resulting in injury, illness and burnout. So we use a careful balance of volume, intensity and specifics to improve performance while strengthening physiological functions that support both performance and health.
To do this, we use a combination of heart rate and time to prescribe training. Unlike pace and distance (which are outputs), time and heart rate correct for outside influences such as how you feel, the terrain, weather, fitness improvements and so on. This approach ensures you do enough (and train the right physiological functions in the process), but not more than you need to allow for optimal recovery and expression of fitness.
How is Coach unique?
Journey Fitness Coach is the most advanced training programme available online and we’re incredibly proud of the site and the results our athletes are achieving with it. Some of the unique areas of the site include the following:
1. Does advanced profiling – Unlike other online training programme that ask for your ability level or use a race timing to determine what plan to give you, Coach uses a series of questions and complex algorithms to carefully determine your training history and current fitness level. Once the system understands your background and current ability level, we’re able to create a personal training plan that’s specific to you.
2. Offers Flexiblity – Coach was designed to enhance the performance of age group athletes, because agegroupers are managing many things outside of their training. So Coach makes recommendations on what to do and then grants you the flexibility to select the number of days you’d like to train and which day you’re available to do each session. As you move through the training plan it’s as simple as dragging sessions around to update your training plan.
3. Has Training safeguards – Coach is super flexible in the way you can customise your training plan. What’s really clever about the site is the safeguards built in to warn you if you’re about to do something that could affect your ability to improve. The system will warn you if you are not allowing enough time to train for an event, if you are putting sessions (or races) together that are counter productive or are not doing enough training for example.
4. Has Real coaches – Jon and I are the real world coaches that support our members. We both have a huge amount of experience as coaches and as athletes and we’re constantly available to answer any questions and offer support. Members of Coach have unlimited athlete initiated support from us via the team forums. If you have questions, you’ll get answers to help you.
5. Offers Team support – Coach is a virtual team of athletes working together to strengthen the knowledge base of all members and to provide the motivation and support needed to reach your goals. With the experience of the team, you bring yourself years up the learning curve and can stop yourself from making silly training and racing mistakes that you’d otherwise have to learn on your own.
What are some of the results Coach athletes have seen recently?
The training plans in Coach work. So far this year we’ve had multiple Boston qualifiers on the running side of things and Kona and World Ironman 70.3 qualifiers on the triathlon side. On top of that we have first time finishes and PB’s being reported almost on a weekly basis.
What’s next for Journey Fitness Coach?
Coach is a living, breathing platform that we’re constantly working to improve. Right now, we’re hard at work building a training log that will allow you to log your training data against your training plan and to analyse how you are progressing. From there we’ll be enhancing the community elements of the site.
Aside from the site development, we’re constantly looking at ways to support and grow the team. The more members on the team sharing through the forums, then the more powerful a training tool, the site would become.
How can I try Coach?
If you’re currently training and don’t feel you’re getting the most from your experience, I’d encourage you to try Coach. Most of our team begin to see significant results in 3 to 4 months of training with us using the time and heart rate based approach that we advocate in our plans.
We offer a free 14 day trial and for the first 100 readers of this blog, you can use the code pris to get 20% off your first 3 months when you sign up for a monthly subscription.
To contact Journey Fitness, you can email email@example.com.
To get an update on the Coach programme, stay tuned.
Click here for my reflections on the Journey Fitness Company training programme.
Other Blog posts
- Marathon tips by Ben Pulham
- Marathon Race Preparation by Journey Fitness Company
- Run For Cover: A 24 Hour Endurance Challenge