Get to know our Coaches: Dawn Brooks Endurance Coaching
You love coaching......why?
I don’t know what to say other then it is in my blood! From the time I started teaching group fitness classes, personal training and coaching I have never looked back! I get so excited helping people and helping them go through the process of making it work for them. Being able to help and motivate someone to reach his or her overall fitness goal is the most amazing experience. I am a huge believer that you can do anything you set your mind to. Helping people take the steps necessary to get them to their “impossible” dream is so fulfilling.
Tell us a bit about you, what is your background?
My background that got me to coaching was over a very long life journey. It started when I was in my young 20’s and started to tip the scales at 200lbs. I began educating myself on diet and exercise and was able to drop off 60 of those lbs. I then met my second husband in my late 20’s and shortly after our wedding he was diagnosed with a terminal disease called ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). This is a neurological disease that stops the nerves from the brain to muscle from working and the person loses all control of their muscles while their brain stays fully aware. Literally like being trapped in your body. During that time I became his full time caregiver and helped nurse him through his end of life. Watching someone’s body deteriorate and not being able to do anything about it, you can imagine was a very stressful time in my life. I started coping through this with going to school for health and fitness and staying very active. I wanted to learn everything fitness. I finished school and then got all of my certifications for group fitness and personal training. I think being able to actually help people change their bodies helped me deal with the fact that I couldn't help change my husbands.
My husband passed in the Dec of 2012 and this is where my IRONMAN journey began. This had been something I had wanted to do for a while but could not invest the time into the training because of caring for my husband. I had done many tri’s both Olympic and Sprint distance, Bike races, and Marathons but not the full IRONMAN. I volunteered in 2013 and was ready to go when the gun went off in 2014! My first IRONMAN was such an amazing experience, and I knew immediately it was my destiny to help others achieve this incredible goal. I went to training in Connecticut and got my USAT certification to become a triathlon coach. I followed that up with tons of continuing education classes including the IRONMAN University training and got my IRONMAN Coaching certification to add to my list.
What would you say are your specialties?
That's a tough one. I am knowledgeable in all aspects of triathlon and endurance training. I would say Endurance training with weight training would be my specialty. Not a lot of coaches emphasize the weight training that should be incorporated into an endurance training schedule. I feel I am very good at getting people to their end goal in an endurance event safely and without injury or illness. I am a very hands on coach who constantly assesses my athletes and makes corrections where needed in order for my athletes to deliver their best performance.
Give us some of your top tips for each area of triathlon?
Swimming: I always encourage my athletes to get out and do open water swims regularly practicing sighting and buoy turns. I feel that this best helps them prepare for their race (providing that it is open water) and gets them used to the conditions. It also allows them to wear their wetsuits and experience that feel. While racing, I think it is important the athlete remains calm and doesn't waste energy on being angry at the people hitting and kicking them. Stay strategic and get out of the way of overly aggressive people. Wasted energy in the swim is energy lost from your run.
Cycling: A big tip for cycling is to know your zones. Everyone is different. During an IRONMAN distance race you are going to be spending the majority of time on your bike and if you don’t know your heart rate zones you could be setting yourself up for a horrible run! One mistake I see triathletes make a lot is always trying to keep up with their buddies. Though I think this is great for specific workouts throughout the week it shouldn't be every time you ride. We have heart rate zones for a reason and we need to work all of them not just the one at the top!
Running: Running is another place where triathletes get frustrated. Many of them use their same biking practices to keep up with other runners. This is the most dangerous. Running is a full impact and can cause you injury the fastest. Every run you do should have a specific purpose in order to be affective and prevent injury. Chasing your friends around the block every time is going to lead to days spent on the couch recovering from injury.
I would like make note here that when people finally go with a coach and all of a sudden the coach has them swimming, biking, running at a slower pace they immediately think the coach is making them SLOWER! As a competitive athlete myself I totally get where that can be scary. But what the athlete doesn’t get to see is the coaches overall plan. In that plan in not to have the athlete go faster during their training ride with their friends it is to have the athlete go faster for their particular “A” race. And sometime the “A” race and the big training ride with friends doesn’t correlate. The coach is usually better at looking at the big picture where the athlete only wants to look at the now…
Transition: I did a blog about transition
You are really big on weight training. How does that impact us as triathletes?
HUGE! I have one perfect example for you. During my training for IMAZ 2014 I was hit by a mail truck on my bike in August. One week later I was back on my bike riding. The doctors told me that if I didn’t have all my muscle I would have broken my pelvis, and shoulder. I would like to add that I have pictures of the dent I left in the mail truck ;). That is an extreme example but weight training also is so important for injury prevention. As a triathlete you are using your body so hard if you are not preparing your muscles for all of that use you are going to be injured. Period.
How do we successfully add in weights to our training?
By making it short in duration and very specific. It doesn’t need to be a full hour of pumping iron at the gym to be effective. I meet with my athletes and see their areas of strength and weakness and design a plan accordingly. But for someone without a coach I would suggest 20 min 3 days a week of squats, lunges, pushups, pull-ups, sit, ups and planks. I strongly encourage you to get an assessment of your form so that you know that you are doing the exercises correctly. This is another way you can become injured if you are doing these exercises wrong. None of this should hurt in your knees, elbows, or shoulders. If they do that is a big indicator you have poor form.
Your business is all about helping people reach their peak. How do you do that?
I would say my business is about helping people reach their goal. Whether that is qualifying for Kona or finishing their first sprint triathlon. I do that by designing a customized program that takes my athletes through a series of “peaks” and “valleys” that is very specific to that athlete and how they are doing with their training. This requires tons of communication and assessments to know that they are hitting these “peaks”. Everyone is so different and some people have a longer build period then others and some people need more recovery then others. It is my job to adjust their training schedule accordingly. This is a big difference from getting a training plan from a book. A book is a one size fits all type of training plan. It can work and the athlete can do well from it but there are so many areas of customization that can be done with the training schedule to ensure that the athlete does THEIR very best.
The TRI Club in Action: From Training to RACING!
Way to go everyone for being out there doing what we do best, TRIATHLON! We had a lot of activity and racing including the Escape from Alcatraz, The Sunrise Series 5k, Lifetime Cap Tex, and the Dueces Wild TRI. We were also out training and embracing the AZ Summer in all of its oven worthy glory! Way to go all!
7/6/2017- KIT STORE WILL BE OPEN! We know there are a lot of you that are looking to purchase AZ TRI Club kits! Keep posted for fit events and get your gear!
Every Friday- Catch us at Lake Saguaro getting in our open water swimming!
Meet up- Check Meetup for weekly rides, runs and swims
7/9/2017- Mountain Man Olympic and Sprint TRI. Get out of the heat and join us for an awesome race in Flagstaff!
7/30/2017- 12 hours of pain spinathon. Join our very own coaches as they help support a worthy cause. Bring your bike and your trainer. Come for 1 hour or all 12! Its a great event for a great cause!
8/5/2017- White Water is hosting a BBQ! We are hoping to incorporate a ride, run or brick into the morning and then party! Bring your kits and smiles too for a team picture!
8/13/2017- Mountain Man Olympic and Half Distance IRONMAN! This is a FANTASTIC race! Don't miss this end of the summer race.
8/19/2017- The Epic Embrace the Heat ride up to Payson! Don't miss this amazing bike ride hosted by Bike Accident Attorneys.