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WTC's Interview with Mark Racher

Which Training Camp talk with Mark Racher, co-founder of N+1 Endurance. Mark competed for 12 years for GB Swimming at European and World Championships.

Mark held the British record and was Britain’s number one for the 200m and 400m individual medley events and reached a Top 10 world ranking.




Which Training Camp - Hi Mark, Can you tell us a little bit about how N+1 started? 

Well, N+1 started at the beginning of this year.  I already had a coaching company (M1c endurance) with just myself coaching full time, with a number of age group athletes around the world and with a lot of my work in the GCC (Kuwait, Bahrain, Dubai). I was coaching a number of UK based triathletes and Stuart was one of them. Stuart noticed how much time I give to my athletes and really respected the work I do. This inspired Stuart to get involved and help with coaching in the local area where he trains.

As I wanted to spend more time in the UK with my family and athletes, Stuart and I sat down and discussed forming a new coaching partnership to grow what means so much to us (triathlon). We joined forces and now we are working under the umbrella of N+1 endurance. Currently Stuart is focussed largely on managing the company, alongside coaching a few athletes, and I am coaching full time. We will be expanding with more coaches joining.

WTC - And the name, it’s intriguing and very different, how did that come about?

The term "N+1" is an equation variable used in a number of fields including maths, engineering and IT. An easy example is in power systems where the "1" indicates there is a backup for all required components (N) in the event of a failure, ensuring continued operation. 

We chose to call ourselves N+1 Endurance to express how we work on factoring every component variable of potential success for our athletes by ensuring we have developed a solid success strategy through training, planning, nutrition, tactics, equipment, courses, conditions etc. Quite simply, we work to ensure every variable for success and failure has been checked and balanced.



WTC - Can you tell us a bit more about your background and of N+1 Endurance's other co-founder, Stuart?

I was a full time swimmer between the ages of 12 and 21, attending seven World and 11 European Championships and holding the British Record for the 400IM. I just missed the Olympic swim squad for Sydney 2000 because of a shoulder injury which stopped my swimming career.

I started triathlon racing in the shorter distances and raced a number of elite races but was never good enough on the run. I moved up to ironman distance with a sub 9:30 best time. I really enjoyed the distance and still do (but from the side-lines as I’m a great believer in being a coach OR being an athlete; you can’t do both).

I started my coaching education well back when I was a swimmer, with qualifications in swimming teaching and coaching (L1-L2 teaching and L1 coaching), also Levels 1 and 2 in triathlon coaching.  I’m in the process of doing the Ironman certification to add another string to my bow.

 With my background I have been lucky enough to have been coached by some of the world’s best coaches over the years in swimming and triathlon, and then worked as a coach alongside many other greats, including Coach Cox and Brett Sutton.  Even though I have qualifications in swimming and triathlon, I believe in finding your own way of coaching to be the best you can, and to fine tune how you coach for each athlete, because every athlete has slightly different needs. Even though I coach athletes around the world, I don’t class myself as an online coach as most days I speak to all my athletes and study their data for every session.

Last year (2015) I had the great privilege to take on the world with a very talented athlete who I coached to a double World Championship title in the 70.3 World Champs AG 18-24 and Kona AG 18-24(Lucy Charles). We parted ways in March this year as I was in Bahrain and Kuwait for a number of months which just didn’t pan out for our relationship, as she wanted a more hands on approach and is now being coached by her husband to be, whom I have also coached previously.



WTC -  Tell us more about your training plans, individual focus sessions and coaching services.

Training plans are a one-off, athlete customised (if HR & Power are known) plan based on build periods or race specific (distance and/or event).

1-2-1 Focus sessions are for both members and non-members of Team N+1 to address specific areas of performance or technique by booking single or group coach sessions.

The coaching services range from simply providing a bespoke weekly training plan with regular feedback at the lowest end all the way through to unlimited daily communication, event support and inclusive 1-2-1 sessions at the highest tier.


WTC - Do athletes come to you for focus sessions, or can you travel to them?

With focused sessions, this is done in their environment and tracked though Training Peaks and assessed by myself with feedback over a skype call or phone call straight after the session. If the athlete asked or I insisted to oversee this session or block of training I will attend or I would organise around their schedule to see them perform these sessions. 


WTC - You seem to have established a virtual club; does this mean athletes interact with each other via forums, on facebook etc?

So the virtual club is because not everyone can attend club sessions around their schedule so we set this up so people can still race under a club name and be seen as a member of a team. As we are coaching around the world we don’t have a base as such but we have facilities when needed to host team training days or long weekends/training camps where athletes can attend. We also have a WhatsApp group that if you’re a member of the club or coached by one of us you can chat and meet people that are being helped by myself or Stuart, to have that social aspect of a team and support network around their lifestyle.



WTC - How much interaction do you have with athletes who use your training plans?  Do they return training results to you for analysis, do you amend and update training plans to suit, or is it more a one size fits all service?

All of the plans and sessions are based on the package they pick but all ALL are bespoke to fit around the athletes and lifestyle. Alongside the packages that we have established is the contact with the coaching staff: the more you pay the more contact you have on a day to day basis. Every session is placed in a way that is set for the athlete’s peak performance and set as a TSS (training stress score). Working with TSS is a big part in my planning and data analysis to make the athlete become their best without burning the athletes out and doing junk miles or hours that are not needed.

With the athletes that I coach, I try my best to attend their A races whether it’s in the UK or overseas, because the feedback from this is that it helps them to know I’m there supporting them or helping them in any way in the build-up to race day. I have been to most destinations on the Ironman calendar which also helps me as a coach when athletes ask me will this race suit my strength or weakness, so I think this is a huge advantage to have as a coach.


WTC - Why have you chosen Villaconcha to host your camps?

Villaconcha was on the top of my list as I have been out to Mallorca over 20 times hosting 1-2-1 training camps and the area where the hotel is based is great for hilly routes and flat routes. We visited Mallorca in March 2016 and met a number of selected hotels. At Villaconcha the owner liked our business plan and how we worked. We are not doing the camps to take profit as long as it covers are costs to be there we are basically doing the coaching for free. The reasons to host camps and not to take profit is to help athletes experience a triathlon camp without breaking the bank.




WTC - We see one of your athletes is involved with Action Against Cancer, is that a personal thing or is it tied in to N+1?

Chantal has personal reasons for supporting Action Against Cancer, but we at N+1 have decided to become involved too, and are currently working with events organisers about offering free coaching advice to entrants who aim to raise money for charity.


WTC - Finally what makes N+1 stand out from the crowd?

We train smart, we work on bespoke plans only for athletes, we love numbers and train by numbers not junk hours or miles, family comes first when planning, our training sessions get results.


Also on Which Training Camp | N+1 Endurance | Mark Racher | Stuart Juggins | Triathlon Training Camp Venues | Triathlon Coaches |


Categories: All topics, Triathlon

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