What Our Athletes Have To Say…

“As a self-coached, life-long endurance athlete (25 years of competitive running, 4 years of competitive triathlon) I am very picky about whom I take advice from.  In my experience there far more people willing to give bad advice than people giving good advice.  When I decided this year to compete in my first Full Ironman distance Triathlon I knew the number one thing I needed to figure out was my nutrition plan so I turned to my teammate Ken and he in turn recommended that I reach out to Lauren Vallee at BASE Tri.

I emailed Lauren and received a response exactly 1 hour and 17 minutes later which was especially impressive considering that she was in Colorado getting ready to compete in an Ironman! We emailed back a forth a few times that day and I knew that she was someone I could work with.  She asked very specific questions and gave me specific and knowledgeable feedback.  On top of her deep roots in the sport of Triathlon, Lauren is very friendly and funny and it is immediately clear that she cares about the athletes she coaches.  The following week Lauren emailed me my very simple to follow nutrition plan and then we met in person so I could ask questions and get comfortable with what I had to do.  I am a strong athlete but race nutrition has always been a huge weakness for me and Lauren was able to identify issues I had been having in the past and put me on a path to remedy those issues and excel at long course.  She took into consideration my dietary needs (vegan), my likes and dislikes and gave me options, answered loads of questions and was super supportive of my goal.  Here is the clincher for me: after not hearing from me for almost a month (because things were going so well with my nutrition I finally had no questions) Lauren sent me an email out of the blue to check in on me “hey, how is it going?”.  I responded that things were going well and I was freaking out because I was tapering .  She responded: “You’re going to do so well, I can’t wait to hear how it goes!”  On race day my nutrition and hydration plan worked like a charm!  It was easy to follow and unlike the three ½ Ironmans I had raced previously I did not lose all of my energy and break into cold sweats on the run.  I was strong all the way through mile 23 of the marathon which is a far cry better than suffering for 15-20 miles due to poor nutrition.  I broke 11 hours on the day and I know I could not have done it without Lauren’s expert tutelage.

Lauren is a coach with deep knowledge of the sport but more importantly, she is a coach that cares!  I would definitely work with her again for Nutrition Planning or Coaching.”

– Robert D.

“I started looking for a coach when I wanted to graduate to a longer distance triathlon. I had worked with Lauren initially on my swimming technique and enjoyed her energy, knowledge, and experience coaching and competing in triathlons. I knew that I needed a coach to help me get the most from my training time and who would educate me on the broader aspects of training, heart rate zones, nutrition, hydration, and racing. Lauren brings a comprehensive approach to triathlon coaching. She created a weekly workout plan for me and provided regular input on my progress. She helped me create a hydration and race day nutrition plan that I tested in training and used on race day. She took the time to get to know me as a person and athlete. She often tuned my work out schedule based on my personal and professional schedule. As a result, I improved substantially in all three triathlon disciplines (with improved strength, speed and confidence) and completed my first 70.3 and Olympic events this summer.  I would recommend Base Tri and Lauren to any athlete who is looking to move their fitness and racing to the next level.”

– Shawn D.

“As a newbie to the sport and a back-of-the-pack athlete I spent more time trying to figure out how to do things than actually getting them done. While from the outside triathlon looks like a simple swim. bike and then run, it is anything but. In partnering with Coach Lauren, my role was to do the workouts, communicate how it was going, how I felt and then turn up for the races. With that said, the results speak for themselves. I PR’d in my iron distance by 54 minutes and in my Olympic distance by 27 minutes. If you are prepared to put in the effort, you’re looking for a coach that cares, are prepared to trust her and hand over the reins, Coach Lauren is the solution.” 

– Tony S. 

I decided to go with BASE this year, because of how Coach Lauren performs when she races. I didn’t want to be just another number. I wanted more one-on-one attention. I knew that Coach Lauren loved doing the sport and that she had a lot of knowledge. I wanted a coach that cared about me and also one that would be able to deal with my work schedule. I wanted a coach that would give me feedback- good or bad- and someone that would push me to do the workouts when I really didn’t want to.  Lauren goes over and beyond as a coach.  She talks the talk and walks the walk. I really enjoyed the feedback that she gave me and she also showed me how I was getting stronger throughout the season.  I think that was really important – it proved that the training program works.  The communication has been awesome and I appreciate it.  If I ever had a question, Lauren was right there with the answer and showed me the REASONING behind certain things.  She went over my data with me, I definitely learned a lot from that.  Lauren loves what she does and it certainly shows”

– Julie Z.

“After my first year competing in triathlons, I found myself in a frustrating place.  I hate being mediocre at anything and I was a middle-of-the-packer.  I knew I needed to try something different, something more structured than just lots of swim, bike and run.  I turned to Coach Lauren for structure, and a tailored program suited to my talents, deficiencies and a hectic work/life schedule.  Coach Lauren structured a program based on heart rate and power.  The first couple of months were difficult as we focused on base fitness, and lots of long, slow workouts.  However, when the time was right, Lauren was there to hammer me; but also there to reel me back in when necessary.  In my second season, I went from just surviving to actual racing.  I reached the podium in a few races, and even won my age group at a half iron distance event.  My next goal is to qualify for world championships, and I know with Coach Lauren’s assistance this goal can become a reality.  If you want to get faster Base Tri will get you there.”

– Bryan P

“I started doing triathlons as a middle-aged adult with no real experience in swimming, biking, or running.  I started by doing sprint and Olympic distance races.  My training routine was the result of internet searches, book reading, and attending local triathlon club events.  The more I raced and trained the more I realized how little I knew.  I researched further and spent more time working on a training plan that would get me ready for my first half Ironman (HIM).  After countless hours planning the results were unimpressive.  After the HIM I still had a million questions and was tired of my bland workout schedule.

I figured if my self-coaching went flawlessly and no issues arose I could do it on my own but my results would be limited.  I had so many questions and there were so many unknowns as I planned for myself.  Needless to say, I decided to hire a coach. When I started my search for a coach I did not know exactly what coaches did.  I listened to fellow triathletes talk about their coach, what they did and how they acted.  I checked web sites, read about various coaches and what they offered.

I concluded I needed a coach:

  • Who could work with an age group athlete
  • Who could work with an athlete who was serious about training for an Ironman but would put family and work first
  • Who could provide the necessary communication for an athlete who had no understanding of the basics in swimming, biking, running, nutrition, and endurance sports in general needed
  • Who had the education and experience so I would have confidence in them

I looked into Base Tri. Coach Lauren had the appropriate advanced education, the coaching certification, and the Ironman experience I wanted.  Base Tri’s purpose matched my desires: a limited number of athletes, “[an ability to work] with the athlete to balance…” and Lauren was active in our local triathlon club where I met her and saw her interact with other athletes.  Based on those interactions I felt she could guide me through my far flung ignorance on all things endurance.  I felt Base Tri was for me and with Lauren as coach I could achieve my IM time goal.  She had 10 months to get me ready for Louisville.

After she interviewed me and accepted me into Base Tri she gave me my first workout.  It was a swim workout.  I immediately started with the questions: “what does 10X50 mean? Is the :20 seconds rest before or after the 10X50?  Then more questions came:  “What is a pull buoy?  What is a single arm drill?  When you say “fast” what do you mean?  What are strides?  What is a Ladder work out?  During my ride my ride my bike started doing this, is that ok?”  Coach answered all my questions.

After the workouts I wasn’t sure what to write about so I included everything in my feedback.  This was also to my benefit.  Coach read my feedback and when something didn’t sound right Coach started with her questions: “what did you eat before the workout; were you hydrated; how much did you drink before and during”; and more questions.  Coach made sure I was doing the workouts correctly and I tried to do every workout as she prescribed to the best of my ability.  We had the same goal.  The workouts varied and were detailed.  While one part of my body was recovering another part was getting worn out.  It was a tremendous improvement over self-coaching.  She pushed me.  She assigned me difficult workouts that even though I tried my hardest I could not complete to the level she prescribed.  She wouldn’t let up and prescribed them again.  The next time I did better but still fell short.  She pushed again and I succeeded.  It was great until I gave her feedback about how well I did.  The next workout was even tougher but I kept up. I would never have pushed myself that hard.

As work and life intervened she adjusted my workouts.  I would tell her of upcoming business travel.  Coach asked how much free time I would have and what accommodations the hotel had and she would build a workout for my travel.  At no point did I feel the workouts prescribed to me were anything but workouts specifically tailored for me based on my abilities at that time.

One of the main reasons I decided to join Base Tri was Coach’s education and experience.  She remains an active student of endurance training and I benefited from her continued education.  Over the months of training I would explain to her how I did things and she would recommend I try a different way.  When I inquired why, she explained the concerns she had of my way and the potential benefits of her recommended way.   Every time I decided to do it her way.  It seemed obvious to me given her education and background it would be foolish of me not to do it her way.  I had a nutrition plan, coach recommended a different one.  I followed her recommendation and realized immediate results.

Mentally the training was much easier; just do what coach said.  Don’t think about it just focus on doing what coach said.  Not half way of what coach said; not a compromise between what I used to do and what coach wanted me to do; I did what coach said to the best of my ability.  Do more hills, I did.  Drink more on the bike, I did.  I spent the summer perfecting what coach told me to do.  I wanted the specific instructions backed by education and experience. I received it and was going to take full advantage of it.  Coach brought knowledge of the latest in training and nutrition, tested it on herself and then applied it to her athletes.  I had some races that went well and some that didn’t go so well.

Leading up to the big Ironman race I was nervous.  My IM time goal looked achievable.  About 4 weeks before the race I injured my calf while running.  I told my coach about it.  I told her I could train through it.  Coach shut me down, told me to stop running.  I didn’t want to.  The big race was coming but I did what coach said.  I got more nervous as the big race approached.  The workouts kept coming but no running.  It was finally race week.  Coach said, “do not test your legs, you will feel good and energetic but do not test them.”  I wanted so badly to test them but I did what coach said.  She sent me my race plan.  Basically it was swim like I trained, bike like I trained, run like I trained, and nutrition like I trained.  I spent race day not thinking about the race just focusing on doing what coach told me to do.  I did nutrition just like she recommended 4 months ago, I swam like she instructed, I biked within the parameters she set, and I ran according to her instructions.  I did what coach said to do to the best of my ability and had a phenomenal race.  I beat my goal time by an hour and a half.  To this day I still can’t believe how well my race went, thanks Coach.”

– Richard H.