Coach Profile: Rafal Medak
Rafal Medak has successfully combined a career in banking with training, coaching & competing in triathlon for more than 13 years. As a coach, he is uniquely placed to understand the demands of a busy lifestyle while applying Trisutto.com training principles to athletes with limited amounts of time to train. Rafal lives in London and speaks Polish and English.
Description of Rafal Medak
I grew up in Communist Poland when basic sport equipment was a rarity which had to be earned. While not the most sport-talented kid in school, I always worked hard to earn my place in the school’s team whether it was cross country skiing, running or hand ball. This got me a pair of skis in different colours (only for the team members!), an extra pair of training shoes or an opportunity to go to a training camp. Today, it seems ridiculous that none of the basic equipment could be bought at that time, but it actually helped to shape my character - hard working, never settling on 2nd best outcome and always looking for better solutions. This dedication and passion for sport followed me through my entire life. At university I studied Banking and Economics, while pursuing different sporting goals such as table tennis (2nd in University), football, kick-boxing and tae-kwon-do. I have always studied any sporting discipline I was pursuing - training methods, equipment, and techniques to try and find the extra advantage that would allow him to beat more talented kids. I now apply the same approach to my training and racing as well as to the athletes I coach. 14 years ago I discovered triathlon. In my first triathlon, with no training, making all novice mistakes, I placed top 10 in my age group. It was an eye-opener. I immediately realised you don’t need to be great in all 3 disciplines, but if you are solid in all of them you can be competitive. I coached myself for a year, but it was a coincidence that connected me with the late Marc Becker - a former athlete of Brett Sutton and his coaching assistant. For the first time I was properly coached and from the very beginning it was clear the approach worked! Within 6 months I had an improvement of more than 30 minutes in Ironman 70.3 UK and qualified for the World Championships. Every good coach learns from his mistakes! With such improvement early on I made the mistake of thinking that as the training methods were so simple, if I introduced more ‘science’ into my training I would improve even more. Instead of improving I went backwards. My biggest weapon - a usually very strong bike became similar to the average in my Age Group. My run and swim didn't improve either. After a few relatively average races I quickly realised need to get back to the ‘old’ path and started reapplying the approach I learned indirectly from the 'Doc' (Brett Sutton). A few months later I qualified for Kona for the 4th time by finishing 4th in my Age Group at Ironman UK. With time and training, I grew confident enough in my experience to be able to identify training mistakes and common errors in my own training. From here, I also started helping other athletes (who were struggling through the same processes I had learned myself) with putting together their training programmes, whether it was triathlon, duathlon or running. I was encouraged by the results of people I was helping and their feedback encouraged me to start thinking about taking this hobby to the next level. Signing up for a Trisutto.com training camp was an obvious next step, the objective to learn more from the Head Coach himself. The camp lead into personal coaching by Brett, not only coaching me as an athlete but also as mentoring me as an aspiring coach. Since then I've been on deck at a number of training camps with Trisutto.com, learning not only the 'what' and 'how' but also the 'why' and 'when' or 'when not'. The best coaches are not always the greatest and most talented athletes. There are very good coaches who never were at the top of their sport who may have struggled and had to work hard to achieve their goals, who needed to figure out what works for them and understand why. There are even a few coaches who never competed in the sport in which they created world champions. The best coaches need a strong personality to be able to motivate their athletes and effectively communicate with them. A good coach also sometimes need to be a psychologist - carefully observing their athletes trying to understand the way they think, the way they are motivated and how to work with them so that they only do the required amount of training at the right intensity - nothing more, nothing less. I look forward to helping you achieve your triathlon goals.
What have you achieved in your coaching career?
Multiple Kona qualifiers, Ironman podiums, 70.3 podiums, Significant improvements for all my athletes reflected in the results My individual focus on each athlete allows them to improve quickly and reach their potential in the sport
Why do you work with Trisutto?
I have natural empathy with age group athletes trying to balance the demands of our sport into a hectic work lifestyle. Since August 2014 I’ve attended multiple training camps with Brett Sutton in St. Moritz, Gran Canaria and Poland, carefully studying the Trisutto.com approach. I focus my coaching on Polish-speaking athletes, as well as athletes leading busy lifestyles. My coaching motto: ‘Train hard, train smart, maximise your available time, get results.