Meet the Coach

ALL▴TRI Coach: Aaron Patel
Coaching Qualifications
  • Playtri Certified Coach
  • USAT Certified Coach, Level 1
  • USA Cycling Certified Coach, Level 3
  • USA Track & Field Certified Coach, Level 1
Racing Experience
  • 6 Time Ironman Finisher
  • 70.3 World Championship Qualifier
  • Personal best of 10:48 in 2007 (Ironman Louisville)
  • 1st overall at Longhorn Aquabike
  • 1st overall at Prairieman Aquabike 2008
  • SMW Region Duathlon Elite 2007 (19th overall)
  • 9-time marathon finisher
  • 2-time age group winner at SunMart 50k ultra-marathon
  • Finished (and had FUN) in more than 70 triathlons!
Aaron's Story
I first discovered the Ironman when I was 6 or 7. I was on summer vacation and watched the NBC rebroadcast of the previous year's World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. I was in awe of what those athletes could do... over unfathomable distances and through the most inhospitable terrain. How was that possible? And why would anyone ever want to do that? The allure of the Big Island had gotten its hooks in me and it wasn't letting go. I knew I was going to do that race.
Unfortunately I took a slight detour in high school when I decided I liked cheeseburgers more than exercise. By my junior year I had topped out at 280 pounds. What turned it all around was a dare to run with the cross country team. I didn't have to be good, I just had to survive. I finished in the back of the pack in just about every meet we had that year, but by the end of it I started to enjoy running.
I ran casually through college, 30 minutes on the treadmill a few times a week. Then I met a friend who had just run his first marathon. That seemed crazy, but he managed to talk me into running a half with him. The race was almost entirely downhill and at the end I was so exhausted that I said, I could never EVER run a full." A year later I was back at the same start line but with a full marathon bib number.
A few weeks later, I learned just how little I knew about training and recovery. I ended up with a stress fracture in my right foot. I bought a bike in order to keep up my cardio fitness while letting my foot heal. After a few weeks of riding to school, I heard about a local duathlon (run-bike-run) and decided to give it a try. Putting multiple sports together was a fun change of pace, so I found a sprint tri a few weeks later and signed up.
That first triathlon was a disaster. It was a 300 yard pool swim and I walked at least half of it. I only swam if my feet couldn't touch the bottom. The bike was longer that anything I had done before (14 miles) and I was lucky I could run a single step of the 5k. But... I've never had more fun! That afternoon I turned on my TV, with cheeseburger in hand (old habits are hard to break), and NBC was airing the previous year's Ironman World Championship! It was a sign. I got on my computer and found the only Ironman race open to general entry at the time: Ironman Arizona which was just 50 weeks away.
I ended up doing 15 triathlons my first year and 3 Ironmans my second year (not my best idea). I earned a podium finish at Ironman Louisville the 3rd year. I've done 6 Ironmans and more than 70 triathlons. I've hired a coach... and now become one as well. I'm still focused on getting myself to the starting line in Kona, but now I get to help other people reach their goals as well.