Athletes experience with The Endurance Drive
I've been fortunate to meet a lot of people through triathlon; Jim and Eliot are unquestionably among my favorite. Their curiosity and love for the sport is what makes them great assets to triathlon. What makes them special coaches, however, is their tremendous warmth and generosity. Whether you are a complete novice to the sport or a more experienced athlete, you'll find few coaches more committed and invested in your performance than Jim and Eliot. - Sarah True 2x Olympic Triathlete, ITU Triathlon, IRONMAN superstar
I have had the pleasure of training with, and coaching, Jim for over eight years. What has stood out the most about Jim is his total commitment and involvement with everything he does. Coaching effectiveness is directly related to the quality of the interaction between the athlete and coach. Jim commits to bringing the best out of everyone and meeting the needs and personalities of all types of athletes.
- James Cotter, former pro triathlete, 70.3 Steelhead Champion, 2x winner Lavaman Triathlon, 3x winner Tinman Triathlon
After 9 years of inactivity, I decided that I wanted to run a 100 mile race. It wasn't to get in shape or run fast. Rather, I wanted to go through the process of training to run 100 miles for the life lessons in consistency and discipline. I had never run on trails and the longest race in which I previously participated was 10km. I was introduced to Jim through a college friend and we got to work right away. After several setbacks due to lingering knee and ankle injuries, I finally was able to start training for my first ultra - an 80km race through the mountains in Costa Rica. Race day came and...I WON women's overall! Jim is such a pleasure to work with - he's flexible, understanding, and his coaching goes far beyond just uploading workouts in TrainingPeaks. I felt completely prepared going into my first ultramarathon, both mentally and physically. I look forward to continuing this journey to 100 miles and seeing where trail running takes me (UTMB!!) -Maria Joyner, ultrarunner
Less than a year ago, I self-identified as a “runner who does triathlons sometimes.” My biking skills were average at best, and I was an objectively bad swimmer. After eight months of coaching from The Endurance Drive, I’m proud to be a triathlete. I have improved my swim, bike, and run times, but more importantly, I have learned that with consistent, focused training, I am capable of more than I ever thought possible.
When the week’s workouts come in on Sunday, I’m excited to see what endurance challenges I’ll be facing. Midway through a tough workout, I can push through knowing that someone is on the other end, tracking my progress and guiding me towards a successful race. Even if race day is not as successful as I had hoped for, I know that my coaches will be there to remind me to recover, shake it off, and focus on what I can do to improve. They make me feel great when I succeed, but they also make me feel better when I don’t. On good days and bad days, they make sure that the swim, bike, and run stay fun, so I’m always ready to come back for more.
Triathlon training can be isolating if you do it alone, but having a network of coaches and athletes to rely on for support makes me feel like I am part of a triathlon family. I would recommend The Endurance Drive to anyone who is looking for the perfect balance between individual improvement and an all-in-this-together vibe. I am so grateful for everything Jim and Eliot have done for me so far, and with their support, I can’t wait to continue my triathlon journey. - Katie Clayton, U23 athlete
Jim and Eliot are amazing coaches, and were instrumental in my reaching my goal of completing a half ironman (in a time far better than I expected), and becoming a better endurance athlete in general. They are able to see the fine details of every workout--giving guidance on heart rate zones and proper technique--as well as the big picture of how training will change over several months. Workouts were planned weekly, and I went into each one knowing down to the minute what I needed to execute. When rain or snow came, Jim and Eliot were there to help me address the situation and keep making progress. The broadly-focused training arc allowed me to peak right at race day and Jim had planned far in advance which weeks should be hard, which should be easy, when to ramp up, when to rest, and when to taper. I was able to take my training one workout at a time and simply "trust the process". My coaches checked in almost daily to ensure I was making the progress I wanted, and helped me address any minor pains or bouts of fatigue that arose.
Beyond the workouts and the training, Jim and Eliot are a great source of information for nutrition, sports psychology, racing gear, and so on. Jim provided me with literature on optimizing aerobic capacity, what macros to eat and when, and athlete mentality. He helped me find aerobars and a wetsuit, which immediately became training staples, without breaking the bank. When long workouts that required nutrition came up, we even had a plan of when to eat and drink by the minute, and Jim talked me through his favorite hydration mixes and energy bars.
While the training was incredibly structured and required daily effort, I found that my training plan was ultimately quite flexible--allowing me to study and prioritize school, to travel, to focus on family and friends, and to keep a good life balance. All in all, I felt that Jim and Eliot went above and beyond to help me become a better triathlete, and I am so grateful. I would highly recommend The Endurance Drive!
- Abiah Pritchard, U23 athlete
I signed up for the Patriot Half 70.3 because I had this feeling that getting to train one on one with Jim and Eliot, two of our triathlon team coaches, was an opportunity too good to miss.
Prior to starting the official training period for the race, I had trained with them already in team practices. I knew how effective Eliot’s swim coaching was both in the generous community triathlete swim sessions he holds at 6am and among our team, and I had seen the evidence of his work in my own swim times and technique, and among my teammates- some of whom didn’t know how to swim before their paths crossed with Eliot! Eliot managed to give specific technique critiques that made sense and lead effective workouts that improved our fitness and triathlon skills.
I was familiar with Jim’s passion for triathlon and helping new triathletes develop their abilities from the dedication and enthusiasm he infused among the rest of us as we began to build a stronger and bigger team. Also a pool enthusiast, he helped push our team in the pool and built workouts for all abilities and brought Eliot on board. What Jim most impressed me with was his ceaseless dedication to our team and sport, and so clearly believing that every person could reach their goals.
Eliot and Jim carried over these unique abilities and talents as coaches to the training phase. Eliot provided the extra practice times, help in the pool, and encouragement that I needed as a first timer in the ups and downs of training. Jim was there every single day for me from the beginning and it was because of his unwaivering dedication and belief in me, that I was so strongly able to know that his training plan was going to work. The first meetings planning the training were about learning how to use TrainingPeaks, the Garmin watches, signing up for the race, understanding what Zone 2 and aerobic fitness were and how to achieve them, and the many other details of 70.3 training. Jim made it feel fun and his patience that we would all get the hang of it helped make it not feel as overwhelming as it could have been had I looked at these things on my own.
I did my base training months away from campus and away from the team and coaches. With Jim, this was not a problem. His dedication to me as an athlete and person made him reliable and dependent, and he was always an email or Skype call away. Workouts were always uploaded, we were always in communication about how they were going/ how I was feeling/ what else was going on in life, and I always received feedback and sometimes modifications to adjust how things were going. Most importantly, Jim showed that despite being a triathlete with a demanding training schedule, life came first. That meant that I was able to move around the workouts to best fit my schedule for the week in a full time internship. Jim’s constant support helped tremendously with the emotionally difficult parts of beating our bodies up continuously to meet the training demands as I followed his plan with full trust.
In the spring and back on campus, I finally got to see that it had worked. I still remember the first rides outside where I reached the max distance I had ever done in a fraction of the amount of time I had usually done, or Jim putting in TrainingPeaks the numbers that showed evidence of how much fitness I had gained. The Spring was all about going the distance and time and learning about racing. Every week there was a new encouraging and/ or informative article put up in TrainingPeaks for me to read, and Jim helped coordinate my training schedule with those of my teammates knowing we would all want to race together. - Valentina Sedlacek, U23 athlete
Jim and Eliot's coaching has been extremely helpful as I've started to race triathlons! I have a strong background in running, but that means I usually only worry about what shoes to wear on race day. Between helping me swim and bike efficiently and pointing me in the right direction for training, gear, nutrition, and everything else Jim and Eliot have given me confidence that I'm training to my full potential. I would recommend their coaching to anyone who is interested in starting triathlons or trying to improve their performance. -Kevin Hartstein, Runner, AG triathlete training for Ironman Tremblant
I came to The Endurance Drive coaching having completed multiple triathlons across all the distances and managing to get through all of them without ever having a single swim lesson. I knew the basics of swimming, which basically meant getting from one end of the pool to the other without drowning. I started working with Eliot on a weekly basis to improve my swim efficiency in the water. It was quite humbling and the more I worked on swimming, the more I realized how much work my technique actually needed! Eliot broke down every aspect of my stroke through video analysis, Endless Pool workouts, and quite unique whiteboard drawings that discussed vectors and kick efficiency! In addition to weekly lessons Eliot, also coached a masters swim class which had us doing everything from drills called reverse catch up, which was quite comical to learn and probably pretty entertaining to watch, to all out 100 repeats. It was rewarding to watch the times for those 100’s decrease over time and Eliot standing over us shouting out our times with his stopwatch in hand kept us motivated. The Endurance Drive’s focus is on the details that make YOU better; there is nothing formulaic about how they view and treat their athletes. The Endurance Drive was also very accessible and quickly got back to me with any questions I had and they continuously checked in with me throughout the season to see how I was feeling not only about my swimming, but race preparation in general. Because of The Endurance Drive’s support this season, I was able to not only qualify for the 70.3World Championships, but I also went on to a personal best of 25+ minutes at Ironman Lake Placid!! - Julie Smith - Triathlete, 70.3 World Championships Qualifier
I can honestly say Jim changed my life as a triathlete. I had competed in triathlon for several years, was self-coached and had done pretty well finishing everything from sprints to Ironman races. At the time I done 3 Ironmans and after the first one I'd set the goal to break the 12-hour barrier, but IMs #2 and #3 turned out to be 12:16 and 12:14 and I was starting to wonder if 12 hours was a goal I wouldn't get to. Then came LeadDog [Editors note: LeadDog Triathlon Team was the predecessor team Jim founded and sponsored in Anchorage, AK]. I've always thought of myself as the second tier racer in Alaska, there's a group of about 10 ladies that are really fast and then there's a group of about 15 or so more of us who are just behind them, but not quite in their league. I fit firmly into that second group. So when Jim started LeadDog and asked me to join I was humbled to be part of that select group. Between having the coaching and the other team members to bounce ideas off and be accountable to it was a breakthrough year for me. Those race seasons ended up with an 11:20 Ironman race, a slot to the 70.3 World Championships at Mt Tremblant, and my first top 10 finish at the Gold Nugget Triathlon which is a sprint tri here in Alaska that is a women's only race for 1,500 women that sells out each year in under 5 minutes. Since then I've continued racing completing several events including the Susitna 100 which is a 100 mile snow bike race, just finished the Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon - which is just an epic race and should be on everyone's bucket list, and am heading by to 70.3 World's in Chattanooga.
Looking back I think knowing that Jim believed in me enough to give me that opportunity, was just enough flip whatever switch needed to be flipped inside me to jump to the next level in triathlon. At 41-42 years old making that jump it took quite a few people by surprise was pretty fun to watch. Jim is always open for a discussion about training plans, nutrition, course recon, race plans and crazy facts about TSS, Watts, Zones, nutrition, transitions and any other tiny detail you can think of. He'll listen to your opinion and thoughts and has great insight and knowledge in how to use your strengths to your benefit and minimize your weaknesses. I can't thank Jim enough for triathlon and endurance world that he paved the wave for me to be a part of. He's a coach that cares not only about your racing, but about you as a person. Anyone who is fortunate enough to have him in your life will come out better for it. -Shannon Titzel, 3rd Women Overall at AlaskaMan Extreme Triathlon, 70.3 World Championships Qualifier
Training with The Endurance Drive feels more like being a part of a team rather than just having a coach. I’m continually amazed by how generous, personal and encouraging the coaches and workouts are. I’ve never considered myself to be a great athlete but working with The Endurance Drive has me tapped into a level of fitness I never thought I could achieve. I’ve been in really good shape before but I’ve never been as happy, healthy or had more endurance than I do today. I owe a lot of that to the guidance of The Endurance Drive coaches and “teammates”. - Robert Gill, Triathlete, IM Mont-Tremblant finisher, ultra runner
We all train for different reasons. We come from different backgrounds. We have different goals. But we all keep coming back for more. Jim and Eliot understand this. Whether I’ve been able to devote all my time to training, been coming back from injury, or had too much on my plate to train regularly… I’ve been able to work with them to find a plan, both short and long term, to fit my training goals. Like many from a running background, the water was always a foreign place for me. Working with Jim and Eliot, focusing on technique, I’ve seen huge improvements. The water may not yet be as comfortable as land, but it’s definitely not a scary place anymore. I look forward to continue working on my swimming skills with them. Their love for triathlon is contagious; that attitude is what training is all about for me.
- Brandt Slayton, U23 athlete