Coaching Success Stories


Russell's blog of those he has coached as well as his own experiences of international endurance races such as Marathon Des Sables, Leadville 100 miler, Kepler Challenge, Heaphy 50 mile, Coast to Coast, Trans Rockies, Kauri Ultra and Tarawera Ultra.

Nice Marathon - Tayfun Goes For Sub Three

This is quite a tough time goal and whilst he had a few marathons and races behind him he did not have a strong structured training or race distance background, his best time previously was 3:06 though which is pretty good. I like a challenge, he could obviously run and so said I would do it. I don't think people realise how hard it is to run under three hours. You run an injury risk, you need to be a person who can execute a race... Totally different from training, some people just cannot race! Also, the language difficulties with regard to session details do present a challenge. Anyway, we set Tayfun up on his challenge with a detailed, well structured training programme encompassing base work and strength work gradually transitioning into lots of tough reps and speed sessions etc. These programmes are challenging for many people, there is surprising detail in the sessions, it's far more than just running long distances, anyway Tayfun, to his credit got to race day, motivated and in fine condition.

As he says himself "racing always got my blood moving, showed me different worlds" and "this was the first time I was preparing for a race with a Coach".

He lost weight as time went by to reach 58kgs. A good weight is critical for the marathon, obviously you want to be as light as possible but getting too run down risks injury and illness. Often the athletes do not understand that it's very hard to run a marathon unless you are a good weight, this takes a lot of discipline and balances with recovery and excellent quality of nutrition.

They would all race as part of Nikola's group and all were motivated for the occasion.

"We took a nice trip around the city on the second day and planned the sleep schedule, breakfast and rest".

Next day at the start.. "Because my target was under three hours I had trouble finding the correct place but with some help used gate four". "In the first 100 metres I was motivated after seeing Onur and I stayed at 4:14 pace in the first couple of kms".

Tayfun ran on, obviously in good control and was sticking to instructions and his own experience not to push too hard too early.... A long way to go. "I got to 21 km in 1:26 after planning to get there at 1:28 so that was great and I felt fine". I had tried to impress a simple nutrition plan on Tayfun and he did well, taking a gulp of water at some aid stations. I would say one of the problems with modern races is they encourage overhydration and over nutrition in general. Well prepared athletes who are hydrated at the start are not going to dehydrate and die, however over drinking can lead to very serious problems.

Tayfun knew a hill was coming and slowed up his pace a little at 29 kms. At 32 kms he took his last gel and,

At 35 km, which worried me most, I was quicker than expected and greatly relieved. At 40 kms I knew I had it, being over 4:00 minutes ahead of schedule. I crossed the line in 2:57:33, I got my medal and remember not being able to hold back tears. Russell thanks a lot for everything. Thanks also to Nikola, Mrs Ozlem and Mr Onur. Günseli thanks for the motivation all the way to the race.
— Tayfun

Congratulations to Tayfun for running this race so well. He obviously can execute! Run long, prosper and train with structure to keep improving. Anyone reading this and looking to improve their goal times or finish their ultimate race should feel free to contact me.

Candice Hindriksen