One Girl’s Journey

One of the biggest races in the Irish Triathletes calendar, The Dublin City Triathlon took place just a few days ago and it was won by my lovely club mate and awesome athlete Carolyn Hayes, and in the males another talented young athlete Russell White.

My own feelings are mixed. Just a few short years ago, that was me on the podium, alongside Olympian and Triathlete Gavin Noble who won the men’s section. I can remember the entire race really clearly. It was just one of those days when everything clicked. In coaching speak, this is called ‘peak performance’ which is  a pretty special thing to experience.  I raced age group triathlon competitively both on a national and international level for 5 years and it was a pretty cool period of my life. It also took up most of my time!

”I can’t make that I’m racing”

“sorry I’m late I was training”

“please ignore the permanent marker number on my hand  – it’s a race number”

“can you collect me from god knows where I have had multiple punctures”

You get the gist!

It was a busy, and in hindsight, quite selfish time but I loved every minute of it.  But after a period of particularly intense training and then racing at the World Triathlon Championships in London in Sept 2013 I decided to hang up my tri suit for a wee break.


“I decided to hang up my tri suit”

What came next was a little nerving. I felt lost. What to do with myself now? I wasn’t planning on sitting around but I certainly didn’t need to be wearing a GPS watch on a daily basis or checking my resting heart rate before I got out of bed each morning either!  I knew I wanted to stay involved in the sport somehow. I’m a member of one of Ireland’s leading Triathlon clubs called GoTri, and someone suggested I try a spot of coaching. It would be an opportunity for me give something back.  I would also see the sport I loved from another side… the coaches’ side!


So off I went to do my level 1 Triathlon Coach course to learn the tricks of the trade.  First you must complete a precursor course called the Tri-Leader course. This costs about €60 and can be completed in a day. Next, you do the Level 1 Coach course which takes two days. You need to be a member of Triathlon Ireland, and if you are nominated by a club, the course fees are €195. Over two intense days, there are a series of lectures and practical’s that cover a wide range of coaching essentials.  The course gives you a TI Affiliated Coach Status, along with an accreditation card, which is valid for three years, and is a recognised accredited qualification with Coaching Ireland.


The course introduced me to some incredible coaches. It was also a huge eye opener! I began to realise just how much work goes into coaching and how much I owed my own coach for the successful years I had racing.  I then began to work with and train other athletes.  Honestly? I found this challenging to begin with!

Sometimes I still do.  It’s a tough transition.   I remember watching a Ronan O’Gara interview when he moved to France for his first coaching role.

He said “I sometimes just want to run back onto the pitch and take the penalty”

I could totally relate.

There were days I watched races from the sidelines and I just wanted to drop the stopwatch and jump on my bike and chase someone down! It’s all part of my transitional process and and I’m  still working on it every day.

If you want to see your sport from a new perspective, and if you want to give something back – I would urge you to try a spot of coaching. From under 10’s rugby all the way to international competitions, coaching is a way for anyone to find fulfilment and purpose and it also helps you appreciate the time, effort and dedication that coaches put in for the good of many.

“Coaching is a way for anyone to find fulfilment and purpose”

As I write this I am watching amazing female Triathlete Gwen Jorgensen smash another title in the World Triathlon Series and interestingly her husband is her coach!! Now that must make for interesting domestics☺ But I guess that’s a whole other blog.

I am looking forward to continuing my coaching journey and maybe sometime getting back to the racing but for now I’m happy to keep on working towards those coaching stripes.


Here’s to all coaches everywhere☺


#BitchMittens Andree


Notes from the Ed:

All the info you need to find out about becoming a Triathlon Coach can be found on the Triathlon Ireland website here.

Thanks to Andree for taking the time to write this post – not only is she busy coaching, she’s also working on this little gem – ‘My Next Adventure’ is an incredible new kayak tours company run by Andree and her wonderful hubbie Mike which you should definitely check out.