I had qualified earlier in the year for Boston marathon but having had an operation I was unsure how to train. I had heard good things about Jennie from other athletes in the club plus seeing her as my swimming coach I decided to ask her to train me!!!!
First time in my life I had a female coach and she scared me more than any other male coach I ever had – I say scared (in a good way, I needed someone like her) Jennie is very passionate about her job and really cares about her athletes – we are all like a little community of crazy individuals supporting and helping each other! It is great, this is the community that Jennie has created and with her advice and constant reminder about various topics – has improved us massively! For me specially has been learning about recovery, I was overtraining, always getting injured etc.
Since I have been with Jennie I am more conscious about sleep to recover and rest, also nutrition (which I thought I was ok with) she has helped me to understand the changes in my body through peri menopause, most importantly I was left to my own devices after the operation, with no help and support from the doctors Jennie has been a massive rock to me to overcome many hurdles plus I run Boston marathon under 4 hours with masses of cramps, still enjoyed it and remember her during the race and kept me going.
She believed in me and she does that to all her athletes. She is an inspiration and look forward to my future 70.3 which I am currently training for! TBC….
I have been coached by Jennie since late 2019. From an initial chat, we covered my fitness and racing goals and where my strengths and weaknesses lie. Jennie creates tailored plans to suit races that I am training for. Throughout COVID lockdowns, Jennie offered several different kinds of virtual sessions, including a dry-land swim session, and a virtual spin class, which she continues to hold. She continues to host group cycle sessions, lake swim groups, bike skills sessions.
Since training with Jennie, I have achieved so many goals. I have completed 2 Half Ironmans (something I never thought I would do), and knocked off 15 minutes from my Marathon PB. I could not recommend Jennie enough. She is such an enthusiastic coach, with a genuine passion for everything she does. She is always on hand to give advice when need be and so understanding and accommodating. Her knowledge in the menopause, biomechanics and nutrition has been so helpful. If you are looking for a coach, then Jennie is your lady!
I’d been doing triathlons for around 4 years, following online training plans for some races, and generally winging it. My fitness levels were up and down depending on how often I became ill or got a niggly injury despite not lacking motivation or commitment to exercise. I put this down to my age (mid 40s), busy lifestyle with work and kids and was resigned to not really getting any fitter or faster.
I did have a feeling that I wanted to try to do a half ironman before I got too old but didn’t really think it was achievable. The last time I tried to do a half marathon (7 years ago) I ended up with knee pain that meant I couldn’t train for weeks on end. This was really frustrating as I’d done half marathons comfortably under 2 hours in my 20s. I blamed the kids for ruining my joints and resigned myself to the fact that I’d never get under 2 hours again (would I even manage to run the full distance at all?!). I avoided doing too much running and generally hoped I had enough fitness to do sprints and Olympic distance triathlon runs.
Another issue I had was a weak hip/ pelvis area having fallen off my bike a few years ago, fracturing my pelvis. I’d got back into cycling and running pretty soon after the bones healed but I neglected all the weaknesses in the muscles and ligaments that this had caused. As a result my mobility and flexibility was poor, affecting my running especially.
I searched for a tri coach to see if I could do a Half Ironman as I knew I would need a proper plan and expert advice. Someone at the Tri20 club casually recommended Jennie – little did I know what a difference she would make!
Jennie started off by reassuring me that this was possible with the right plan. She measured all kinds of things, like my ability to jump on one leg to assess my mobility and the weaknesses I needed to work on before I could load up on training. The plan she made for me gave me a great balance between key sessions and optional, supporting ones, that gave me flexibility around work and kids. She carefully planned the running sessions to spread the load and swimming sessions which were really interesting (although I think other pool members thought I was slightly crazy with all my flippers, paddles and toys).
I learned some really cool cycling skills on a bike skills day she organised for her athletes, including how to fix a puncture without taking the wheel off (this was not part of the plan for the day), how to position yourself on the bike for extra speed when descending and flying dismounts [these are surprisingly easy and fun when you’re shown how]. It was really fun linking up with Jennie’s other athletes and giving each other support, especially on race days!
The plan wasn’t just about the training sessions, she also worked in nutrition advice and adjusted the intensity according to my hormone patterns. Her knowledge of the best time to train hard (and not!) for women is amazing. The penny has really dropped for me on how important fuelling is to successful training and especially racing. I was definitely not doing this properly before.
Jennie and I agreed at the start that there was no point in doing this unless it was enjoyable so that was my overall aim. I can honestly say that I loved the training, especially seeing the difference in my fitness and speed over time and the variety of sessions meant it was never boring.
This is the 6 months of training with Jennie (a small blip in March for Covid)
I shocked myself by doing a practise half marathon at the Reading Half and doing a comfortable 1.57. This was without a taper so it really did show what a difference the plan made, and particularly the way Jennie structured it to avoid injury particularly of my knees.
The Half Ironman itself (the Cotswold 113) was an amazing experience. I enjoyed it (ok, maybe the middle few miles of the run were a bit painful) and I felt strong almost all of the way round. I finished in 6 hours 18 mins with a fast (for me) swim and bike and a steady run in the heat of the day. To put this in context, my speed on the bike for 90km (28kph in the wind) was quicker than the sprint triathlon I did a few months before Jennie took over!
The hard thing now is deciding what to do next. I honestly thought this would be a case of ‘just-get-round-and-do-it-before-I-got-too-old-for-this-kind-of-thing’ but Jennie’s coaching has shown me how to get the best out of my body and that I can do things that I didn’t think possible.
I’ve never been ‘sporty’ and don’t consider myself an athlete, but maybe after July I’ll see myself differently. I’ve been swimming since I was a girl, but I never dreamed that one day I’d be a swimmer, a runner and a cyclist. Yet, in July at the age of 68, I will be competing in my first triathlon.
How has this happened? I met Jennie Jones!
In 2015 I swam a 5k Swimathon. I became obsessed, swimming it twice more, determined to finish in less than two hours. I didn’t succeed even with the help of a swimming teacher. But I wasn’t about to give up. I wanted to achieve this so I mustered up the courage and went along to a Tri2O swim session where Jennie was one of the coaches. After a few weeks I asked for her help.
I entered a whole new world of training and following plans. A year later I swam 5k in 1 hr 48 mins and 52 second, almost 20 mins faster than my previous best time. Jennie taught me to believe in myself and to think positively. She encouraged me to look at my journey, be proud of what I achieve and though I still struggle with it today, to be patient.
I’ve learnt that Jennie plants seeds and waits for them to grow. ‘You could do a 10k river swim next,’ was the first she sowed for me.
‘What me. In a river with fish and weeds and goodness knows what else?’
I laughed it off but there was a little voice in the back of my mind that wouldn’t go away. Maybe, just maybe, I could swim 10k. Jennie hosts open water induction sessions, a friend wanted to do one so I went along to keep her company and a week later I began training for The Jubilee 10K river swim. I took part in 2021 expecting to finish in just less than 4 hours but finished in 3hours 36mins 47 secs. The sense of achievement kept me on a high for a whole week! The training sessions were long for a novice like me but Jennie was supportive and encouraging all the way.
By now I’d got the bug and wanted more. I had a crazy idea that if I ran too I’d get fitter, which would help with my swimming. ( Still the only exercise I was doing at that time.) I don’t like going to the gym and after all running is free. I asked Jennie if she would teach me to run.
It was hard going but I wasn’t going to give up until I’d got to 5k. Jennie is a good listener and adapted my plans tirelessly, reducing and increasing times and distances depending how I coped with each session. Eventually I got to 5k and then to 10k. Obviously I needed a medal to prove I could do this and ran my first race in December 2022, finishing in 1 hour 1 min 29 secs. That’s so close to an hour, I can feel another challenge brewing!
‘How can you live in Reading and not run the Reading Half Marathon?’ Jennie asked. She’s still waiting for this seed to grow…..
So running was improving fitness for swimming. How about adding in cycling to improve the running? Jennie also hosts online turbo sessions so I joined in on my spin bike. After a few sessions, the spin bike had to go as it wasn’t up to the job. With Jennies help I got a smart turbo and a gravel bike………’just in case you fancy a ride in the sunshine. You would love being outside in the countryside and you never know you could do a sprint triathlon,’ she said. No way, I hadn’t been on a bike since I was a teenager so I kept the back wheel safely tucked away in a cupboard upstairs………….for a while.
A Sprint Triathlon is a 750m swim, 20k cycle and a 5k run. It’s all flat at Dorney Lake and there are no open roads. I was talking myself into this.
Jennie took me to Greenham Common for my first bike ride because ‘there are wide grass verges in case you fall off!!’ After a few weeks Jennie took me out on roads, each week adding distance and hills and of course compulsory coffee and cake stops. So that is where I am today, an ordinary Grandma who enjoys a challenge, lucky enough to have found a great coach, 7 weeks away from my first triathlon.
None of this would have been possible without Jennie.
Jennie is an honest, positive, supportive coach you can trust. Her plans are clear and detailed, backed by videos, always encouraging good technique to keep you injury free. It is clear she loves her job and shows a fierce commitment to looking out for the best interests of her athletes. She leads by example, listens to feedback, encourages questions, has a great depth of knowledge and always seems to have an answer! Jennie realises her athletes have responsibilities and Families to work round. She looks at each athlete as an individual and modifies plans to fit their lifestyles. Jennie knows how to prepare her athletes for their races, mentally and physically.
Jennie once said to me when I was questioning myself, ‘You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.’ That is true but if you want to take on a challenge and ask Jennie to coach you, as long as it is realistic, she will be with you 100 percent all the way, no matter how long it takes. You just have to trust her, follow her plans, have fun, laugh a lot and believe.
P.S I am a Triathlete.
I never dreamed I was capable of doing anything like this or that I would want to! But, with Jennie coaching me, guiding me and building my confidence, the impossible became possible. The week before the race I was very unsettled but Jennie questioned my fears and steadied my nerves. Jennie not only prepares you physically and mentally, but ensures you are prepared for situations that could occur during the race and the best way to deal with them. All of this came together so that on the day of the event I was excited, feeling positive, prepared and ready to go. Thank you Jennie for all that you have done for me and training me to be a Triathlete.
I started with Jennie in January. My reason for joining is to get through the Ironman in August. As part of my training, I had a place in the London Marathon for 2023. After completing the event in October 2022, it was a tall order to get ready and to achieve my goal of a 4-hour run.
Jennie said, “no problem” and we started zone 2 training for the race in April. I had never done a structured training plan like this before and wasn’t sure if I would be ready. How wrong I was!
The training plan was easy to follow, and I began to improve but didn’t realise just how much. We had a plan for the race. Jennie said “please stick to it” so I did, however as people passed me at the start I did wonder if this would work. The plan was to split the race into 4 x 10km runs getting quicker each time with a 1km warm up and 1km sprint. I followed this to the letter, I ran the race of my life and a perfect marathon coming in at 4 hours 1 min and 7 secs. The one minute was due to the fact I had to run around so many people at the finish who clearly didn’t have a plan! I was a man on a mission!
To knock 32 minutes off my time from October and do negative splits for the entire 26.2 miles is nothing short of incredible. Yes, I had to run it, but Jennie was the coach behind the plan and the reason I did such an incredible race. I enjoyed it!
The next race was the first triathlon of the season. Part of my build up to the Ironman is to do some warmup races to get use to transitioning and to get up to the distance in a more structured way.
I chose the standard distance event at Dorney. Jennie had given me race specific training up to the week before with swimming and some brick sessions. The only advice was to not go all out on the bike to leave some energy for the run.
I started the swim in the pack. I remembered our training in open water a few weeks ago. Jennie had given me advice on drafting and how to go around the buoys without getting tangled in all the racers going for the racing line. Well, that worked a treat when everyone went for the same bit of lake, and I zipped around the edge and overtook everyone. I came out of the water in good shape for the bike. I completed the bike at over 32km per hour average, but more importantly mostly in zone 2. I wasn’t even tired starting the run. I ran a 10km is a time of 47.15 and a total of 2 hours and 29 minutes. This was over 20 minutes quicker than my previous time for the distance.
I was 10th in my age group which is just amazing!
Next was the Ride London Essex 100 cycle event. I had gone into this event to get my 100 miles in before August. I had previously done the event and completed it in 7 hours and 14 minutes. This year, I completed it in 5 hours and 58 minutes. I have no clue how I did it and didn’t feel tired afterwards.
What has happened to me? Jennie, that’s what’s happened to me! I have done more swimming, more running and more cycling than any previous year, but I have improved in all areas. I feel strong, motivated, and confident.
Next up……Ironman UK Stafford 70.3. I will continue this story………more to follow!
The highlight for 2015 was I completed the Cotswold Classic Half Ironman finishing in a time of 6:10:29. I was overjoyed that my body coped with all the training and I’d actually completed a half Ironman.
Between 2016-2017 I’d entered a couple of sprint distance triathlons but nothing more. In early 2018 turned my thoughts towards attempting another half Ironman. Having joined Tri2o in 2015 I had great coaching from Jennie. I liked Jennie’s coaching style so it made sense to approach her to ask her to be my coach for the Holkham Half Ironman 2019. Following Holkham I also asked Jennie to coach me for the Bowood Half Ironman 2020 ( due to the Covid pandemic it was postponed until 2021).
My bike skills were not the best when Jennie first coached me. I had no confidence in my ability to ride a road bike. I was ok on the road bike until it came to stopping- I used to fall off. I was also absolutely useless at going up hills. So to overcome my lack of confidence Jennie arranged a Saturday morning bike ride with me and another one of her athletes. As we cycled along I was at the back of the group. I realised we were going to cycle up a couple of hills I knew very well. As I approached the first hill I could feel my anxiety building so I stopped. Jennie released I had and as she approached me I’m embarrassed to say I started to cry and went on to say “ I should be at home making cakes” ( I am not a good cake maker). My confidence had hit rock bottom but in true Jennie coaching style she told me “there is absolutely no way I’m ready to make cakes”. Melt down over I then conquered the two hills I’d built up to be mountains!
I’d highly recommend Jennie as a coach – in my case a triathlon coach. Jennie’s commitment to all her athletes is 100%.
Jennie tailored my training around ‘me’. It was extremely important for me as the older female athlete to have a coach who understood the affects of ageing and how the menopause affects older athletes. Jennie’s knowledge is outstanding, she helped me understand how important sleep, strength training and nutrition is to be able to train and perform as an athlete and being a post menopausal women. Jennie also helped me understand more about how hormones and stress can impact on an athletes training and performance. Another key point Jennie highlighted to me on several occasions was for me to stop comparing myself to younger athletes I trained with. To focus on myself!
The pandemic came into our lives in March 2020 and because of lockdown and Covid restrictions Jennie swiftly bought all her athletes into the virtual world of coaching. If it hadn’t been for Jennie’s commitment me as an athlete I wouldn’t have been motivated to train. I really looked forward to the Monday morning 7:00am ‘turbo torture’ sessions – all of the virtual training sessions Jennie held were always great fun and my endorphins were always topped up to cope with the situation we were all in. My mental health was not good during the pandemic- Jennie helped me more than she will ever know, I will always be grateful for her support during this period of time.
Jennie’s technology knowledge is fantastic. Jennie not only coached me as her athlete but dedicated her time to me so I could understand Microsoft Teams, syncing my turbo Training Peaks, my Garmin Fenix 5S and my Bike computer Garmin 1000. All very new gadgets to me when Jennie first coached me but all an essential part of the athletes toolkit. So never be afraid to ask for help because she is a genius.
I first got in contact with Jennie in the Autumn of 2021, I had come from a cycling background competing in club time trials from the age of 12. As I became older, I turned to running throughout the winter to keep up my fitness. Triathlon then came apparent and the thought of testing myself over 3 disciplines interested.
My main goal when Jennie stated to coach me was to complete my first 70.3 distance triathlon. Something I had wanted to do but lacked knowledge on training and race execution.
The training that Jennie set me was specifically for my own personal strength and weakness across swim, bike, run, the gym and transitions. A weekly phone with Jennie proved vital to understand how I felt physically and mentally about the weeks training and how we could adapt the training going forward to help.
Swimming was probably my weakest discipline and before being coached by Jennie I had never swam open water. An extra swim analysis session with Jennie meant that my sessions in the pool could be aimed directly at my swim technique and how this can be progressed for the lake.
There wasn’t one area me and Jennie didn’t discuss when it came to my first 70.3. Sleep, Nutrition, Kit, Equipment, Injury/Injury prevention, race simulation, choice of event, list goes on…
For anyone looking for a coach to guide them through the process, no matter what ability you are, I couldn’t recommend anyone as much as Jennie.