Our October UESCA Coach of the Month is Isabel Zamora. Isabel was the 2014 US Duathlon National Champion and most recently qualified for, and participated in the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Isabel is the founder of CAZA Triatlón.
A lot of people think about doing a triathlon but never do one out of fear or intimidation. What would your advice to them be?
I would tell them to always be patient and honest with themselves. Triathlon is a challenge and just like any other challenge, it requires you to step out of your comfort zone to meet your training needs. People drop out of training because they do not see any improvements right away or because they think that they can get by with just a little bit of training. Triathlon will change your lifestyle for the better as you will need to incorporate rest time, better eating habits, and stress management. This is a chance to balance your life with something as positive as triathlon. Involve your friends, your family and you will be even more successful.
What motivates you the most as a coach when working with your clients?
I like to know their stories. Each client is unique and while they have different challenges, they have the same goal – to be better from what they were the day before. It is very humbling to be part of the journey to better themselves. I also enjoy learning from them at the same time.
Are there any attributes among your clients that you find to best relate to success on race day?
Physical, emotional, and mental resilience is what I see helps my clients find success during training and on race day. At the end of the day, you will only be as successful as your training. As all of my clients juggle work, family and personal goals, they need to remember why they are training. They need to find their passion and go from there.
You recently raced in the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships. What was that experience like?
I was very excited to be there. There are races where you are worried about the results or your stats but at this one, I was just happy to be there and have the chance to meet athletes from all over the world. The greatest thing was to be able to talk to them and know about their journey, their fears, and their excitement. It was a great reminder of what makes the world go round – love and passion for what you do. During race day I gave it my all. It was a very hard course and the expectations of personal records were out of the window, but I enjoyed and remembered every section of it.
Do you ever find it tough to balance coaching athletes and also getting in your own training? If so, what is your secret?
Being a mother of two, an athlete and a coach can be very difficult at times, but organization and a flexible schedule does the trick. I have to evaluate what part of the season I am in, what the needs of the athletes are, and how I can incorporate my family time and workouts. Luckily, my kids love my work. They exercise and go to races with me. I work with a combination of long-distance coaching and technique sessions. And I have to confess that I don’t do this alone. I work together with another great coach, Roberto Castillo, and we are able to complement each other to better serve our athletes and our families. Our team, CAZA Triatlón is based in Queretaro, Mexico – but I coach a few athletes in El Paso, TX as well.
Of the three triathlon sport disciplines, which is your favorite and why?
My favorite sport is running, my first encounter with this discipline was when I was 8 years old. One day a running coach selected a few 3rd graders to represent the school. I was sure I was going to be part of this group, but I was not. I was devastated until I realized that my best friend was chosen, so I asked her where practice was going to take place. I showed up to practice that Saturday, and every Saturday after that. The coach realized right away I was the extra girl because I was at the very back of the group, but I was as happy as I could be. With time and patience, I got better. I was given a scholarship to run cross country for CSU in Georgia. There, I was awarded Most Valuable Runner 3 years in a row, and Runner of the year in 2006. In my life, there have been many reasons why I should have given up racing, and even coaching, but I found one very strong reason to keep on fighting, passion! And that is what I like to show my athletes – their potential and how to release their passion for this sport.