Guy Jennings: ‘The five reasons I choose The Practice sports coaching’Guy Jennings isn’t a well-known name in mountain biking circles. That’s because he’s not your average South African mountain biker. Yes, he does some of the popular annual races, but he gets his kicks from doing more unusual mountain bike events. Most would call them dangerous or extreme, Guy calls them challenges that must be conquered. Each time he finds a new challenge, he trusts The Practice head coach, Alasdair Garnett, to guide him to personal success.
After running 11 Comrades Marathons and countless other events during his life, Guy (now 52) was forced to accept that his body just wasn’t made to run that much and had to have both his hips replaced. Of course that just made him change from running to mountain biking, a sport that’s kind on the joints, but which can be as challenging, if not more so.
He started mountain biking in 2009 and did his first Cape Epic in 2010. Get this, it was his first mountain bike race! Since then Guy has explored different events (mostly long distance) all under the coaching expertise of Alasdair. These include the 2015 Iditarod 350mile (a fatbike mountain bike race in Alaska), the 2016 Absa Cape Epic, the 2016 The Munga and the 2017 Iditarod 1000mile (which he did not finish due to frostbite).
“I learned a lot of things the hard way, but have to be honest and say that having a good coach can ensure you avoid all sorts of unnecessary pitfalls. They take the guess work out of training and help you prevent injury and, at times, illness. They’re far more objective than you are and will give you reality checks and kicks up the arse at just the right time,” says Jennings.
“My frostbite issues at this year’s Iditarod were my own fault (not wearing gloves enough in minus 40 degrees Celcius temperatures!), but I was physically and mentally in superb condition in my quest to become the first South African to complete the 1000 mile version,” explains Guy.
Here are Guy’s five top reasons he chooses Alasdair and The Practice for his coaching and training:
1. “It’s great to be coached by a top athlete. You don’t need to be a great bike rider to be a great coach, but it IS nice to be coached by someone who has ‘been there, done that’. He knows that many barriers are mental and can be overcome and pushes you just that little bit extra when he feels it’s necessary.”
2. “Alasdair takes time to prepare specific training programs for my personal needs and wants. Although he has a lot of us wanna-be athletes on his books, he makes you feel like you are his only client (I drive him mad with my insecurities and questions!). He never shows any kind of impatience and that’s a really important for a coach, I believe.”
3. “Alasdair understands me and my goals. He knows what I like and what I hate – and there is constant banter around this – which adds to the month’s training program. He thinks some of the events I want to do are crazy, but like me, he also sees them as a challenge in how he structure my programme to get me to the start line in prime condition. He is also full of encouragement and never fails to follow up after a race or event.”
4. “When I get to train at The Practice in the Wattbike studio, it is a truly fun and inspiring place to train, full of experts in their field and a great bunch of people training there (if ONLY they had coffee!).”
5. “He is a technology fundi!! Alasdair uses the latest technology and tools to get the most out of my training programmes – and as this is a huge weakness of mine I am learning new techniques and support systems constantly. He’s a true expert on all the current and upcoming technology in the field of coaching and sports performance.”6. “Bonus reason! Most importantly, Alasdair has a sense of humour! When all else fails it’s good to be able to laugh with your coach (and at yourself).