James Cracknell OBE MSc 2 Olympic Gold Rowing Medals, 6 World Rowing Championship titles
What I enjoy about working with Eddie is his ability to plot a path towards a goal you have set yourself but to get his methodology across to someone who has a fixed idea of the way things should be done.
I gained a place at Cambridge University for the academic year 2018/19, I knew I wanted to throw my name in the hat for the Boat Race. The selection for which starts with a 2km erg test. My last 2km test had been in 2004 ahead of the Athens Olympics.
Eddie had a tough task of working with someone who’s mind was used to pulling certain splits, being able to tolerate a large training load, long ergo sessions pulling certain splits and the ability to tolerate lactate.
Physically those abilities had gone but my head still believed I was there. Eddie devised a programme that took me (too long) to buy into as I felt the splits/power level were not challenging enough. Eddie’s programme requires patience and a total buy in.
He backs his methods completely and rather than tell you they work, if you commit to the plan they will work. Having not done a 2km erg for 15yrs I was in the pack in that first week which set me up to make the Blue Boat for the 2019 Boat Race.
Now in lockdown with, among other things an ergo for company I want to challenge myself. When COVID-19 hit I was planning to run the London Marathon, I am debating whether I set my sights on an attempt at the Concept2 British Marathon Record.
Again, this has required committing to Eddie’s programme and seeing from the performance markers he lays down whether it is possible. Training for a running marathon requires specific threshold, interval and lactate tolerance training. It is not all about mileage. The same seems to be true for a marathon on the rowing machine.
There is one similarity you will not know if the training has been right until you’re a couple of hours in. What I do know is you have to commit to the training and the pacing plan. Those are the reasons you want Eddie in your corner.
I’ve known Eddie since the late 1990’s when I used to row at School with his son James. I remember with fondness Eddie’s first completion of a personal best 2000m time at the 1998 British Indoor Rowing Championships, an experience that helped start him off on more than 20 years of excellence as a sports physiologist. I am sure he gets the same, if not a greater sense of personal achievement every time he helps one of his athletes to something special, as if the result were his own.
Since that time, Eddie has been by my side and at the end of a telephone or e-mail in almost every amateur sporting endeavour I’ve attempted since leaving school. I cannot put into words the help and advice he has given me, from my participation in Team Wales for the 2002 Commonwealth Rowing Championships, through Surf Lifesaving World and European Championships, Triathlons, Ironman and Marathon Indoor rowing and long-distance paddle-boarding. I’ve tried all sorts of sporting experiences, and Eddie has always taken a keen interest in things that are different, challenging and rewarding.
Most recently, Eddie guided me back into competitive rowing after a 13-year hiatus, being a major part in my success at the 2017 World Masters Championships in Slovenia. Learning to adapt to an older body with more injuries and less energy than my early 20’s has been easier with somebody to run ideas past at every hurdle.
I’m lucky to have Eddie and his family as virtually part of my own family; his friendship means more to me than any sporting advice or guidance ever could, but the two combined, along with his unquestioned experience and professionalism, make working with him a real enjoyment (except for maximum heart rate tests, which are not enjoyment!).
Thank you, Eddie, for all your help.
I have been coached by Eddie for nearly two decades and in that time, I achieved so much.
Medals at the ITU World Duathlon Championships, medals at the World Triathlon Firefighters Championships and with a colleague who is also coached by Eddie (Adey Mayhew) make up two of the 4 person relay that hold the national 4x50m individual medals relay swim record for the fire service.
My biggest challenge was to raise money for child cancer in cycling the length of the UK (1000 miles) in just 4 days twice. Raising tens of thousands of pounds but having Eddie dealing with the program for such an ordeal twice was magic.
If you want to achieve in sport and be extremely successful, then it is Ed every time.
Having spent 25 years in the Army and joining as a soldier I am now a Commissioned Officer. Most of my service has been in the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, but I completed the prestigious All Arms Commando Course in December 2000. This enabled me to support the Royal Marines on OP PALATINE in Kosovo in 2001, and OP HERRICK 9 on Afghanistan in 2009.
It is easy to see I have always been into Physical Training, but I first worked with Eddie back in 2016, when I got into indoor rowing after ankle, back and neck surgery stopped me playing football and rugby. I knew at this point that my training over the years had been haphazard and unsafe, red lining most sessions, constantly carrying additional loads and rarely thinking about ‘recovery sessions’ in the lower HR zones.
With limited indoor rowing experience, and hitting walls following other programmes, working with Eddie saw me quickly get my 2k time down to 6:41 at the 2016 Army Indoor Rowing Champs, winning the Lightweight Category. I also then went onto win the Army Championships that year over a nautical mile (1609m), with a time of 5:17.6 (1:38.6/500m pace), I was in the form of my life.
Sadly, back issues resurfaced so I stopped indoor rowing, and found myself in the biggest battle of my life against depression and anxiety due to what felt like never ending injuries and narrowly avoiding medical discharge.
I could not throw the towel in so turned to the Wattbike to keep my fitness ticking over, hoping one day to return to indoor rowing, but I realised this wouldn’t be wise and cycling was probably a safer option.
I had never been into Cycling at all, but I soon progressed to a competitive level, breaking into the Army Cyclocross Team in 2019. Without planning it I also qualified for the UCI World Road Champs in Poland Sept 2019 after coming 13th in my age group at the Cyprus Gran Fondo in April 2019.
However, more injuries emerged and knee surgery in July 2019 cut short my ambitions for the World Champs, whilst also putting me on the back foot for the start of my first cyclocross season representing the Army Team.
After a slow start to the season, I finished strongly the Cyclocross season strongly in Jan 20, coming 53rd in the Vet 40 Cat at the National Champs, and coming second in my age Category at the Army and Inter Service Championships.
In April 2020 I took time to reassess my goals, and target a stronger 20-21 season, to take cycling a bit more seriously and try to reach my full potential in Cyclocross. I knew then it was time to get back in touch with Eddie for some structured training, to give me a fighting chance when the 2020-2021 Cyclocross starts in Sept 2020.
At the time of writing this in May 2020 it is early days but so far so good, Eddie’s programme is all about stripping back to basics and laying foundations for later in the year. I feel this is much needed and I am excited to see how the Cyclocross season ends in Jan 21 – watch this space!!!
Joanne Arancibia, 2019 World Track Champion F35-39 Points Race
Eddie Fletcher is a wonderfully caring, knowledgeable and highly skilled coach.
As a sport and exercise physiologist his understanding of the human body, and therefore his ability to prescribe effective training programs, is beyond what a normal coach can offer.
I first met Eddie when I was training to become a Wattbike Master Trainer (Jan 2018). I was captivated by the depth and breadth of his experience (and success) in working with high performance athletes across a myriad of sports. I wanted a little slice of Eddie’s success, so in April 2018 I asked Eddie if he would coach me as I prepared of the 2019 Masters Track World Championships.
Eddie’s passion, his understanding for me as an athlete (but also a wife, daughter and working woman) and his carefully crafted program perfectly prepared me to have speedy legs when I arrived in Manchester UK in October 2019.
Hand on heart, I truly believe that my success at the 2019 Track World Championship was a result of Eddie’s carefully crafted program. I trusted the process. I trusted Eddie and I fulfilled my dream and will forever be a World Champion.
I am in my sixties and retired from an international legal practice about 18 months ago.
In my last three years in practice I was working ferociously hard but was also training every year with Eddie for one of the hardest endurance events in the world: the Haute Route Pyrenees and the Haute Route Alps.
Eddie’s training got me through the most gruelling weeks of my life and my mantra became “trust the training.”
Eddie, I can never thank you enough.
I’m in my early 60’s and performing better than anytime in the last 15+years. As someone who came to indoor rowing late in life, at the age of 55.
Having previously only used Concept 2 machines as a warm up and then doing my own thing in the gym.
Bought a Concept 2 in 2013 to fit in some fitness due to heavy work commitments. Managed to follow a couple of online plans haphazardly and got some minor improvements.
In 2016 I started thinking about my health more seriously and committed1 to an online plan and whilst I got some good results I started to feel burnt out. Knew this wasn’t the way I should feel after training and started researching other ways of training.
I had heard of Eddie, and knew a little about him from info on a web site. Contacted him for an Indoor rowing and Wattbike assessment. Realised that Eddies approach was the one I was looking for, in that it would be challenging and at the same time requiring me to do more slower paced HR sessions that would really build my base fitness.
Since training with Eddie I have set 4 PB’s and won my first medal at BRIC at the 3rd attempt, and that’s all been in the space of 1 year.
Eddie is just an amazing coach with the hard science to back it up.
Years ago I sat on the prototype Wattbike in preparing for the ITU World Long Course Triathlon and his vision in this and training was the game changer and still is.
Today as a veteran his guidance is invaluable. If you take sport and self development seriously, and want to achieve your Everest in sport don’t waste your time- Coach Fletcher is the go to guy.
I’ve been working with Eddie for the best part of 15 years now, since meeting as part of the Concept2 GB team in Boston USA, for the C2 2km World Indoor championships in 2006.
Up to that point in time my training plans had been from following various well known online options.
Eddie’s way however is slightly different – there is much more of a focus about your potential and (limitations!) by establishing your own physiological picture. This approach – HR training and working the right amount at the right time in the right zones – means that the programme is well balanced and tailored to your needs. ‘Just the right amount’ as he likes to remind me!
With Eddie’s guidance I’ve been able to peak when needed, never been burnout from over training or injured through over use.
Furthermore with Eddie’s wealth of knowledge across several sports I’ve been able to successfully take on running, cycling and ultra distance indoor rowing events, something pre Eddie I never thought would have been possible!
For many years I’ve trained on the ergo using my own plan and approach, Eddie brought the science and structure to my training programme which enabled me to achieve a long held personal goal of winning gold at the British Indoor Rowing Championships.
By leveraging Eddies’ knowledge and experience I’ve managed to improve my performance by learning to balance aerobic and anaerobic workouts, it’s not about going flat out all the time.
The additional benefit from this structured approach, using many years of Eddies’ data from multiple athletes, is mental confidence that you can improve.
Put this all together and you have all the necessary elements to maximise your performance, whatever your goals are. I would recommend Eddie to anyone looking to improve.
I first started to be coached by Eddie in May 2015. Previous to this I had attended several courses to learn about using the Wattbike which Eddie delivered, as I wanted to utilise the Wattbike within my own personal training and coaching business.
I have always felt we should never coach ourselves and due to building a good relationship with Eddie through his courses and many emails where I was asking lots of questions, I asked if Eddie would coach me.
My first session was a Ramp test to help acquire accurate heart rate and power zones while seeing how I train and go through the test both mentally and physically.
I didn’t have specific goals to train for although at this time I did compete within time trials 10 miles –100 miles, cyclocross and some mountain biking, duathlon and my main sport being fell running.
My purpose behind being coached was to bring structure to my Wattbike sessions and see what I am capable of achieving on the Wattbike and within myself. It’s now 2020 and I am still being coached by Eddie.
From day 1 I felt I was being looked after, I was part of this coaching not just following session plans, my training is provided in 4 weeks block but due to my work commitments sometimes this has rolled over into a 5th or 6th week.
The support I have received has been amazing, every question I had and still have is answered in a way I will understand and is backed with evidence. I have always said I am not just coached by Eddie but also mentored, Eddie has and still is a big influence on me both personally and professionally as a personal trainer/coach also developing my own fitness and knowledge.
Achievements over the years. Within a local time trial series I placed top 3 with a BAR (best all round) times taken from 10–25-50-100 mile time trials.
Placed well in cyclocross events and series.
Placed 2ndVet 40 and 6th overall with the Shropshire fell running winter series. Won my category Vet 40 in some local fell and trail races.
As I mentioned earlier I did not give Eddie any of these races as a target, my purpose was to see what I could do and achieve on the Wattbike and within my training. I have made many improvements but there are a few that stand out.
My weekly active recovery sessions are key as they provide a detailed session that helps us monitor how I am coping and recovering from previous training while building confidence before going into my next sessions. Consistency and repeatability are key factors. This session has helped me recover from illness, it helps me develop knowledge and is where I see my biggest gains within my fitness.
I have developed massively through being coached by Eddie as my power has increased but heart rate is where it should be and has been throughout this coaching process so far.
I have seen my foundation build; I have developed so I can sustain power on the Wattbike but with a lower heart rate than previously which leads to then building and improving fitness. I can go further and hold power, or I can go faster with higher power which has all built from the endurance-based sessions.
By building my base I have seen my health and fitness improve, I can compete at a good level for me not just occasionally but each week, the Wattbike has shown consistency and progression.
Add to this cadence drills, interval-based sessions and a well-rounded plan is delivered, followed and results achieved. This is only a snippet of what Eddie and I have achieved as it really is a team game. I have always followed Eddies plan to the letter, never done more than asked and adapted sessions to make easier when I was unable to achieve the session as planned.
Consistency is important while following the plan, trusting the process and understanding-as Eddie will say ‘training is training’.
I found Eddie in 2012 at age 52 and his training has completely changed my approach to both cycling and indoor rowing.
My first goal in cycling, which I had been struggling for years to achieve, was a century with a finish average over 18 mph. That very first summer with Eddie’s plan, daily guidance, and feedback I had 3 centuries at 20 mph.
Instead of simply beating myself up daily until collapse and repeating, which resulted in frustration and plateau, I now have a knowledgeable and experienced sports scientist setting my course.
This makes each training day a step in the right direction, instead of a random shot in the dark.
Having Eddie there to tell me when I can push harder or need to back off is invaluable as he has shepherded me through various setbacks and injuries and led me to achieving several American Records, a tandem 100K World Record, and quite a few 2000m medals (indoor rowing), many satisfying centuries, as well as a few hill climb medals.
Looking forward to conquering new goals together as time goes on!
”I’ve been with Eddie for nearly a year at the time of writing this and have improved my times at various distances on the Concept 2 Rowing Machine which is testament to his coaching methods and skills as at approaching the age of 63 it would be more usual to start getting a bit slower!
I have joked with Eddie that he is more a Magician than a coach given the amazing way he has transformed me as even at my advancing age he has managed to improve my stroke power and pace as well as overall fitness and after a lifetime of competitive sport with the last 15 years in Indoor Rowing I can safely say I’ve never felt better.
His plans have enabled me to set British records over a range of distances and I have ambitions to set more so I’ll certainly be carrying on my Indoor Rowing career under his guidance as he has a remarkable ability to continue to get the best out of me.”
“I’ve worked with Eddie since 2017; as a masters athlete I needed to find a coach who could help me improve but also balance that with the need to be able to work and also recover. I have PB’d in every season, won the World Championships in 2019 and am looking forward to more success in the future.”