Breaking Through

Come Easter Time 2022 I was done with COVID, lock downs, events being cancelled and was starting to question my purpose as an athlete and a coach. The economy was taking a beating and our own communities were being torn apart due to the current state of play. No events being held, people isolating and a general sense of malaise in the air.

Life is a juggling act at the best of times. I’ve been coaching for the last seven years, first as a personal trainer in fitness studios in Auckland and now multi-sport athletes of all abilities here in Taupo. One thing that is common for them all is being time poor. So how do we maximise our training?

If I have learnt one thing it is that balance for the working-class heroes is real challenge. Developing a sustainable regime with an escape to endurance sport that helps maintain sanity in what at times is a crazy World.  It’s a very different challenge to the one I had when I retired as a professional triathlete in 2013.

Now as a coach a big part of my job is helping them find balance, but it’s not easy. I am seeking the same balance. I work full time as a builder, am a father, coach and like everyone else I love to train and still challenge myself athletically.

For my own personal journey, I have had to research, learn, tinker, and find ways to stay strong as a full-time working parent yet still be strong enough to tackle an event when I want to.

What’s the secret??

Well to be perfectly honest there isn’t one. A lot of what I learned as a professional triathlete has simply been reinvented. Social media fitness influencers are a dime a dozen in a saturated market to try and grab your attention.  Much of the content to be frank is terrible and nothing more than click bait. It can be overwhelming and confusing to know what to do.

From my experience we need to be patient. Therefore, start slowly. Regardless of your experience in the sport when you’re working towards a goal be patient and don’t rush.  It’s a process and in this time poor World we inhabit take your time and don’t be rushed. Take time to smell the roses and realise it’s not life and death.  Training is to be enjoyed.

When I start a training session it has a real purpose. It is an easy session or am I doing some intervals. And during the session I am engaged so I can maximise the time and feel good afterwards. But no matter what I’m doing it’s meant to be enjoyable, and I am being patient with my progress. Let the fitness come to you rather than trying to force it.

Find strength training that works!!!

We all have access to You Tube, a local gym, a trainer, but as the service increases in value, so does the cost to access it.  It may mean engaging the services of a professional to help you devise that routine.  However, don’t look at it is an expense but rather an investment into your health.

I cannot stress the importance of regular strength training that works. Winter is the perfect time of year to establish that strength routine that works for you. For some it is body weight exercises, others it’s Pilates, yoga or lifting more traditional heavier weights in the gym.   There is no doubt in my opinion it is crucial to not only helping prevent injury but also maintaining overall health and wellbeing. As humans we are meant to move and meant to lift.

I tore my right medial meniscus last June after a winter of social basketball and it’s been a long road back to running over 15kms regularly.

We should all aim to improve in everything we do. Being patient and regular strength training will work especially in the cooler months. Know what you’re working on in winter will set yourself up to come out firing for summer.

At the end of the day this is your life, own it. Be a lion or lioness and take full control of your weaknesses this time of year to truly make them a strength for this upcoming summer.


About Clark

Clark raced as a professional triathlete for 10 years during which time he held 4 national elite titles, was the New Zealand Olympic team reserve in 2012, European 5150 champion and at his best was ranked 8th in the ITU World rankings. Clark is now the head coach of the Taupo squad and loves coaching all levels of triathletes to work with them to achieve their goals.


  1. Ian langley on July 25, 2022 at 7:40 am

    Great stuff Clarke. With your great knowledge, human insight and coaching style you certainly helped me on my journey to become a Ironman at the young age of 57 with no previous triathlon experience . You are right with the financial side it is an investment and the first commitment you make. Your continued feed back helped with my motivation, which for me is we’re I need the most help . Really enjoyed the journey, made great friends. And had fun along the way, continue to do what you are doing and inspire others reach there goals .
    Ian L

  2. Grego on July 25, 2022 at 9:02 am

    Good tips Clarke, I’ve been strength training for a while now I’m definitely feeling the benefits…. just that much easier to keep good form late in the run.

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