How I Coach ...
As a coach, my philosophy is to produce well-balanced triathletes who are strong across all three disciplines. There's not much point in being first out of the water if everyone else passes you on the bike and the run. Similarly, you can be the strongest biker in the field but, if it takes you an hour to swim 1500 meters, you'll still finish at the back of the pack.
In fact, it doesn't really matter whether you specialized in short or long distance racing, normal or draft-legal; if you have a weak discipline, you won't be successful.
That said, I'm a great believer that you should get stronger and faster as the race goes on. This means you need to be a good swimmer, a better cyclist and a fantastic runner.
If you consider most of the great athletes who have graced our sport: Mark Allen, Simon Lessing, Emma Snowsill, Craig Alexander, Javier Gomez, Alistair Brownlee were or are great natural runners.
This isn't to criticize the great swimmers and cyclists in our sport: Mike Pigg, Chris Lieto, Matt Reid have all won their fair share of races but, at the biggest, most important events, the fastest runner almost always come out on top.
Success in triathlon usually goes to the guy or gal who doesn't lose much time in the swim, can stay with the fastest riders on the bike and who can ultimately smoke everyone on the run.
The second part of my philosophy is "do it right, then do it fast!" This way you maximize your potential as an athlete and, in the final analysis, that's all you can do.
Triathlon is all about efficiency!
The harsh reality is that the overwhelming majority of athletes aren't genetic lottery winners ... you probably don't have a VO2max above 80, in fact, you've every chance of being a world-class age-grouper even if your VO2max is only in the mid-60s. How do you do it? Firstly, you make sure that your Lactate Threshold is as high a percentage of your VO2max as possible and secondly, you ensure that you swim, bike and run as efficiently as you can, so you can maximize your ratio of speed to effort.
I teach my athletes to balance in the water so, even if they have a weak kick, they don't drag their legs. I teach them how to deliver maximum power in the aero position so that they're not 'fighting' the bike and I teach them to run with good form, even if initially, they run a little slower.
The bottom line is that one day you'll come up against the guy with a VO2max of 93, who's Lactate Threshold is 97% of his VO2max and is just as efficient as you .... that's the day you'll come second because, unfortunately, you can't beat natural talent.
Until then, be as good as you can be ....