Multiview 7: Andy Clark

22 Mar

I started training with Andy and Alien Endurance in the middle of August. The original plan was for me to train all fall for a sprint in the beginning of December. I was very comfortable with that plan. Then, during a training session around mid-September, Andy pulled me aside and said, “There’s a sprint this weekend and you should do it.” I said, “I can’t swim yet.” He said, “Yes, you can. You’ll be fine.” I hesitated again. Andy said: “You’re ready.”

That phrase? That’s why you work with a coach. Sure, the coach GETS you ready: he tells you what to do in training, pushes you, yells at you to quit taking breaks and get back to work; the coach motivates you and tells you that you’re doing a good job; the coach gets into your psyche and learns how you tick and then becomes expert at manipulating your mechanism. However, the coach’s real job is to tell you what you already know but refuse to acknowledge: that you can do it. So I raced that sprint, and then an Olympic and then another sprint and another and now race 5 is upon us all.

In the time I’ve been involved with Alien Endurance, the group has grown exponentially. Andy has expanded his training programs, group sessions, and even added the informative weekly Alien Endurance University clinics without which I would not yet be on intimate terms with my bike. The growth and popularity of this group, in a town that is notoriously tri-crazy, is a testament to the tenacity of its commander. Here is Andy’s story:

Name: Andy Clark
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Current Town: Miami, FL
Sport(s) of Choice: Triathlon
Longest Distance Covered and on what (feet/bike/skis/snowshoes/etc…): Half-Ironman
Occupation: Triathlon Super Coach

Tell me a little about your history with sports and athletics. How long have you been participating in multi-sport and what got you into it in the first place?

I have been an athlete all my life.  Early days the sports of choice were soccer and baseball until I found out I could hit people and switched to football.  I discovered I was quite good at hitting people as a middle-linebacker and went to college on a football scholarship and received many honors during my collegiate career.  I began my endurance sports career by chasing a girl I was interested in during our ‘jogging dates’!  From there it led to road races, intensive trail running and hiking.  Several years ago my brother bet me I couldn’t complete a triathlon because I was about twice the size of the average triathlete.  Well, I had to prove my brother wrong and along with it found a great new hobby and addition to my fitness business.

Tell me a little about the origins of Alien Endurance. What made you decide to become a coach?

From childhood to college I was fortunate enough to have great coaches that left lasting impressions with me.  They not only taught me about the sports I loved they helped prepare me for life.  To be successful in sports you have to learn qualities such as commitment, dedication, perseverance, and self-confidence.  This is also very true in life.  Since sports and my coaches were such a big part of my life it made sense that I would one way or another incorporate it into my future.  As a coach I strive to impact my athletes in a similar manner my coaches did me.  I know if I achieve even a little piece of this I will have been successful. Alien Endurance was created to fill a need for people who wanted to be a part of something special.  I think everyone deep down inside wants to be athlete.  If they didn’t have the opportunity to be one growing up I want to give it to them!  If they were lucky enough to participate in sports in the early days then I want to provide a way to relive and renew that experience! Alien Endurance is all about being a part of something special- a ‘team’.  Within that team I hope to help everyone accomplish things they once thought impossible!  With the right support (from the team and coaches) anyone now has an avenue to learn and succeed in this sport!

How do you balance your own training with your coaching obligations?

This is tough.  As a coach your athletes have to come first.  On a personal level I feel I have the tools to be a fairly successful triathlete.  The unfortunate side is my training is usually the first thing to get cut out if something has to give.  This has been tough because I’m extremely competitive, and it is difficult to know that I can get much more out of myself if I had the time to train.  The flip side is that the personal satisfaction I receive watching my athletes race significantly trumps my selfish thoughts. I do think part of my obligation as a coach is to also illustrate how even I can make time to train and improve as an athlete. I had previously resigned to the idea that as long as I was a ‘decent’ triathlete that would set a good enough example for my athletes. I’m done with that crap though! “Good enough” is just not good enough anymore!  I can do both and I will prove it!  One of my commitments to myself this year was to rearrange my priorities and life so that I can set aside time to train myself.  It’s funny but as Alien Endurance grows and more athletes join the team it is actually making it easier to budget my own training time.  I have committed to racing Ironman Canada in August this year.  This means 10-22 hours per week of training.  I will make this happen.  I’d like to show that even with a ridiculous work schedule (you’ll see below) that it can be done!

Describe a typical training/coaching day in the life of Andy Clark.

Ready for this??  Here you go! Wake: 4am: breakfast, emails, shower, prep training gear for daily workouts; 5am-1pm: personal work with clients and athletes, squeeze in the short workout of the day (swim, bike, run or wts); 1pm-4pm: admin and train- longer workout of the day (swim, bike, run); 4pm-5pm: try to relax; 5pm-7pm: admin work, prep for group activity that night; 7pm-8pm: group session; 8pm-10pm: admin, prep for next day, read, relax, hang out; 11pm: get into bed!

What do you eat?

4am: Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal, 1 scoop Isopure protein powder (banana flavor!), 1/2 cup raspberries; 7am: usually same as breakfast; 9am: Powerbar; 11am: post-workout/recovery shake; 1pm: usually same as breakfast (yes I love this!); 4pm: post workout/recovery shake; 5pm: sandwich or sushi; 8:30pm: chicken/rice, sushi, or a bar if I’m tired!

You’re getting ready for Ironman Canada in August. Is this your first full Iron distance race? How are you preparing?

Yes, this will be my first Ironman.  Training is usually 15-22 hours most weeks with about 10-12 every fourth week or so which is a rest and recovery week.  In a week there are typically 2 pool sessions, 1 open water session, 2 bikes, 3 runs, 2 brick sessions, and 2 weight training sessions.  Other prep includes studying the course and conditions to be ready for them. Most of my training comes in the middle of the day so the Florida summer will make the low humidity and mid 80s race temperature feel quiet comfortable. The mountains on the bike however are tough to prep for here.  I’m planning trips to Clermont at least once a month beginning in April and computrainer sessions.

Can you recall a particularly challenging moment in training or racing? How did you deal with it?

For me it is without a doubt just learning to swim efficiently.  I was not a swimmer growing up and had no respect for the sport.  My first time in the pool was quite humbling.  I hired a coach and still continue to work extremely hard at improving.  It’s a very technical sport and just takes time to develop the skills necessary to be successful.  It took almost two year before I felt like I was ‘slightly decent’!

Talk to me about equipment/product. What do you wear? What do you ride? What gels do you like?

Bike: Kestrel 4000 LTD with Dura-Ace Di2; Helmet: Louis Garneau Diamond; Cycling Shoes: Louis Garneau Tri-300; Hydration System: X-Lab carbon wing and torpedo mount; Saddle: Adamo Racing II; Pedals: Speedplay Zeros, Chamois Cream: DZNuts!

Tri Clothing: Skins and Orca.

Running Shoes: Newton Distance S (the bright yellow ones!)

Sunglasses: Oakely Radar or Jawbone

Heart Rate Monitor/Watch: Garmin 910

Goggles: Aquasphere Kaiman

Wetsuit: Orca S3.8

Training Sports Drink: Ironman Perform by Powerbar

Gels: Powerbar

Recovery Drink: Gatorade Recovery RTD

Tri Store: TriJungle!

Any advice for the “noobs” out there?

Other than to starting training with Alien Endurance?  To accomplish anything significant the hardest part is always the first step.  Don’t wait for the timing to be right.  Don’t wait to get into better shape.  Don’t wait for your friend to do it with you.  Make a decision to start now and don’t let anyone or anything stop you!  Triathlon is a wonderful adventure and can certainly be a lifelong hobby.  You will learn a lot about yourself and life along the way. You will make many new friends and share wonderful experiences together.  Most importantly you will join an elite fraternity and accomplish something significant!


4 Responses to “Multiview 7: Andy Clark”

  1. iwanttobeatriathlete March 22, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    I want to be Andy when I grow up!!! Love this!

  2. Ana Magic Busso March 22, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    Thank you Edith for your blog, I got to know more about the life details of coach Andy.
    I have no doubt that anyone that trains for a Triathlon has already set up his/her mind to something really significant and it’s always much better if you can share that experience within a team.!

    • mymultipersonality March 22, 2012 at 9:26 am #

      Thanks for reading Ana! Make sure to check out the other profiles. They’re all pretty great.


  1. Multiview 8: Frank DiPadova « mymultipersonality - March 24, 2012

    […] I should mention that the reason Frank didn’t have to take my battery out was because Andy did some quick iPhone research and discovered there’s a button in the car that just needs to […]

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