As a Coach
Dougal has been informally involved in coaching triathlon from a couple of years after he completed his first race, back in the late 1980’s. As a member of the Royal Air Force Triathlon team and as the Assistant Manager in the 1990’s it was always the less experienced athletes that would request help from the more experienced ones. Being coached as an athlete in the late 1990’s he learnt a lot of techniques that are still as relevant today. Initially, as a qualified Alpine Ski Instructor he learned the basics of coaching and then developed further with numerous military courses in Leadership, Mentoring and Personal Development which led him to take his BTF Triathlon L1 and L2 on leaving the RAF in 2016. He still attends RAF Triathlon Training Camps helping with the development of the RAF Team.
Since moving to Portugal he has been working with Tri Training Harder consolidating his qualifications and learning lots of new skills from the other coaches within the company. Several athletes from the Portugal Training camps have since completed their first ever triathlons, or the more experienced athletes may have completed goals such as Iron distance races.
As an Athlete
Coming from a running background, Dougal found his strengths, in the early days, when he was off the bike and in his comfort zone. As he developed over the years the other two disciplines have become more comfortable and stronger. Never really making an impression at school his running was more recreational and it was only a friends influence that made him give triathlon a try in 1988.
Still competing after 30+ years (with a break between 1999 and 2009 for work comittments) Dougal aims to still perform to his best ability each time he races. Starting in 1988 in super sprint distances, he made his first appearance in the Senior Royal Air Force Triathlon Team in 1997, the same year that he qualified for AG World Championships in Perth Western Australia, coming 42nd. Throughout the 1990’s he raced the UK National Grand Prix series (Standard Distance), and continued to represent the RAF across the country. Returning to the sport in 2009, he decided to go for Ironman distance and completed 3 races whilst living in the USA, narrowly missing out on a Kona slot at Ironman Florida in 2012. With a best time of 10hrs 11 mins he still strives for a good race to get that Kona place.
When did you get into triathlon?
My first race was in Germany in 1988. It was a local Super Sprint Race in a local park with an open air pool and a 400m track. There was no bike racking, no TT bikes, no triathlon clothing and everyone changed between disciplines! I missed a turn on the bike and came in last place after cycling an extra 4-5 km’s.
How did you first get involved in triathlon?
I was training for a marathon (which I have still never done) and ` friend asked me if I could swim and ride a bike? He took me to watch a local race and the next week we competed!
What is your favourite discipline?
I think I like the swim most now! Originally I loved the run as I always passed lots of people.
Why did you choose to take up coaching?
I have been teaching people to ski for 30 years and advising people within Triathlon for almost as long. On leaving the RAF I was funded to get any qualification I wished, so I just thought it was natural to get my L1 and L2 and use my experience within a civilian organisation.
What is your greatest athletic achievement?
I think completing my second Ironman race and taking nearly 40 mins off my first time.
What is your greatest coaching achievement?
I have a very good friend who I taught to ski back in the early 2000’s. He is now one of the most qualified Ski Coaches in the UK and leads expeditions all over the world.
What one piece of advice would you give someone new to triathlon?
Enjoy racing and your best results will come when you least expect them.
There is no such thing as a “bad" run after an “amazing" bike………you just went too hard!!!