Testimonial | Client Dawn

PART ONE…. 2017

ONCE UPON A TIME I was a Runner……. in 2009 I  ran one of the popular 5k Race for Life cancer research events, from there I joined my local running club, ran 3 times a week and decided that running was my sport, I completed 3 marathons between 2011 and 2014, various half marathons, 10ks and 5ks etc, I didn’t do any other sport, just running.

In 2013 I was introduced to Dom via my husband, who happened to work at the same location in Gunco Lane,  at first I wasn’t interested, thinking that Macclesfield Performance (then DS Lifestyle & Fitness) was just another gym, I’ve never been a gym person, but the words “we can help with her PB’s” caught my interest, I was always looking at how I could gain PB’s every time I raced, I had become quite obsessed, so I gave it a go and joined Dom’s Pro X PT course, had some nutrition coaching with Dom, trained hard and planned to PB at the Wilmslow Half Marathon in March 2015, I was ready to smash that PB…… happy ending right? NO! ….far from it!

This race ended for me at mile 12, one mile before the end, I don’t remember much about it but around mile 10, I knew I was overdoing it, ignoring the signs I pushed on, after all I was on for a great PB!, next minute I’m on the floor surrounded by paramedics and ambulanced off the course, what followed was 3 months of extensive tests, tears, anger and a gradual realisation of what on earth was I doing? I had lost the joy of running, I had become so obsessed with pace that I lost all reality on what was achievable but more important why? I wasn’t winning anything, what did it matter and why was I in that situation?… it was at that point that a cloud lifted and I realised that I wasn’t enjoying running after all, it had become something all encompassing and I couldn’t see the wood for the trees.

So… what happened next?

Well Dom said “why not come and learn some new skills, get your confidence back” and so it began, a new chapter in my life, I started strength training once a week and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! What I found was that the stronger I got, the less running I needed to do and I was a better stronger faster runner! Who knew? I stopped wearing my running gadgets and got my joy of running back, what a relief. Approx. 12 months later I bought a hybrid bike, having never cycled since childhood except for the odd ride here and there and found that my new strength made cycling easy and enjoyable… I was delighted and started cycling regularly, and even cycled the coast 2 coast on a cycling holiday.  By this point I had turned 50 and decided in my 50th year to have a go at a Triathlon, I had been a swimmer in my teenage years, so why not have a go?

A week before the event in September 2016 I bought a road bike, and entered the North West Super Sprint Triathlon, having absolutely no idea what I was doing and no specific triathlon training except for what I was doing with Dom, guess what…. I CAME 2nd!! Losing out by just 23 seconds to the winner who was 20 years younger! I had so much fun and realised that this was indeed my sport!

Fast forward to 2017 and joining Louis’s conditioning course, a specific triathlon training plan designed by Dom and I tried my hand at 3 Triathlons, my first one in Open water didn’t go to plan but I finished, picked myself up and tried again, the next one in Birmingham and I came 5th overall but more importantly I hit my goals, so I was very happy with progress,  then my 3rd one in August, the North West Super Sprint and I WON by a huge margin of 1 min 50 secs over 2nd place, (she was half my age!), and a huge 8% improvement on the 2016 race, I felt amazing in this race, very strong, in control and paced it well and a realisation that I’m not just taking part anymore, I’m competing! Something Dom had to explain to me!

During my 2017 training season I bench marked my cycling progress and tested myself periodically, in the first 6 months of 2017 I gained a massive 30% improvement in my speed strength over a set 12 mile hilly course… absolutely incredible, you could hear my whoop whoop as I smashed through the session feeling fantastic. Oh and that PB I was hankering for when I was “just a runner” came during the triathlon specific training plan phase, beating my 5k PB by a massive 45 seconds!

So the happy ending I was looking for all those years ago… finally I found what I was looking for and had no idea when starting out on the strength training programme that it would lead to this, they say every cloud has a silver lining and it’s certainly true here, I cannot thank Dom enough for her incredible coaching ability, her motivation, her dedication to my cause and her mentoring skills, she picked me up and shook me down and slowly but gently coached me into believing.  

I continue to build on my strength and conditioning, finally I am stronger, faster, fitter, happier and healthier than I’ve ever been, I’ve had no injuries ..absolutely none…I cannot stress enough how much strength training with Dom has enabled me to stay injury free, and amazingly I’m not flogging my guts out training at every opportunity, I take plenty of rest and recovery, it’s not all encompassing, it’s a passion.  On top of this I completely believe in Dom, she is such an inspirational person to be around, it’s infectious and I continue to look forward to my sessions with excitement.

I am now planning my 2018 season…bring it on!

THANK YOU DOM and Macclesfield Performance, you are incredible!


PART 2 – 2018

Well when I said bring on 2018… I didn’t expect such an incredible year ending with qualifying for GB in the Aquabike European Championships in Romania 2019!!

OMG… how did that happen?

I continued my strength training with Dom every week and we started planning my 2018 season, this included my first ever sportive in March – the Cheshire Cat Sportive (short route) and my longest bike ride to date which was 50 miles. I felt great and managed a negative split, finishing the 2nd half faster than the first half. I loved that event so I booked on a few more for the rest of the year.

Then we started planning for my first Open Water Sprint Triathlon in Whitchurch, Shropshire on 16th June. Dom programmed me for the whole race (not just strength) but the swimming, cycling and running elements and got me at peak fitness, I was ready!

The open water (500m) went exactly to plan, I felt strong and paced it well, into Transition 1 and jumped out of my wetsuit onto my bike. It was a 20km hilly course and I gave it my all, cycling past many competitors, as I came into Transition 2, I heard “2nd lady is in”.

I wondered who they were talking about and it was ME!!

OMG really? So I had just a 3 mile run to get through, that was really tough, I wanted to hold onto my position and I did. I won a huge trophy for 2nd place overall and a trophy for 1st in age group which is the prize I was after, what a bonus… what a start to the season!


I then settled down and started planning my second race of the season, this time a Relay Sprint Triathlon in Salford, Manchester in July with the incredibly talented and inspirational Maddie Pawsey and Natalie Duncombe. I couldn’t wait to share the race with these 2 super strong ladies, I had the bike leg on this occasion, however the weather was awful, it was throwing it down and extremely windy with 50mph gusts. Hardly cycling weather and we were up against mixed teams.  Maddie got us off to a very fast start absolutely nailing the swim, I then cycled my fastest ever 20k, desperate not to let my teammates down and handed over to Nat who nailed the run and brought us home to a 3rd place win!


Then for my last race of the season – the Ellesmere, Shropshire Open Water Lake Sprint Triathlon on 16th September.  Again Dom programmed me for the whole race.  

However...2 weeks out from race day I went to see Dom about upgrading to Half Ironman distance a whopping 2000m swim and 83k bike ride (up from 750m/20k bike) (note here that I’d never swam that far in one go before) because the Aquabike European championship dates had been released and the criteria was to come within 120% of the Age Group winner of the race for swim/bike at half ironman distance.
I reckoned why not have a go, I’ve nothing to lose so we collectively decided I should go for it and see what happens.
Well, the risk paid off and now just 2 years after having a go at a Super Sprint Triathlon I am a GB qualifier for Aquabike European championships. To say I’m excited is an understatement, I never knew I had this ability.

Dom has never doubted my ability, she has programmed me right from the start, making it very specific and personal to me, I’ve never been injured, I’ve just got stronger and stronger and I’ve not once got bored or questioned any of it.  

I completely believed in the programming, following it to the letter. I cannot believe that 4 years ago when I chose the path to strength training that it would lead me to this, being inspired by Natalie’s achievements I never thought that one day it would be me, although this is what I dreamed of…

Dreams can come true, hard work, dedication, passion and an incredible strength coach, Dom knows her stuff, knows her client and personalises everything to fit in with my ability, lifestyle, goals and dreams. I’ve got a fantastic team around me who believe in me, what a combination! I’m soooo excited about 2019 and the journey I’m on. I can’t thank Dom and Macclesfield Performance, the friends I’ve made who share the same passions, all are an inspiration, its an absolute privilege.

Bring on 2019! Who knows what will happen but whatever happens I’m totally committed and focused and will give it my all.