This week we are joined by Gareth Sandford, exercise physiologist at the Canadian Sports Institute. Gareth is just starting his post-doctoral studies and so in many ways you could say he is at the beginning of his career, having just wrapped up his PhD in New Zealand, but he certainly has some incredible insights to share! Yes, this story is one of studying hard, but the reason why I wanted to talk to Gareth was due to his ability to demonstrate enormous persistence in finding opportunities, creating buy-in and taking leaps of faith. Interestingly, his PhD project has allowed him to carve out a niche in high performance after travelling around the world to work with some of the world’s best running coaches and athletes.

Show Notes

3:07 – Gareth begins by discussing the early experiences he had in carving out placement opportunities, internships and highlights the importance of persistence, mentoring, curiosity and realising the current state of the sport science job market.

9:52 – Gareth shares the lessons learnt from this foundational period in his career. His early experiences at Chelsea F.C. with Nick Broad accelerated his ability to problem solve and answer performance questions with impact. He also moved into coaching and discusses the skills learnt here.

14:30 – After completing an MSc in physiology at Loughborough University, Gareth encountered some setback in the pursuit of landing a role. As a result, he took some time out to travel and work in India, gaining new found outlooks on life and performance.

23:46 – Gareth begins to discuss his PhD research into the determinants of anaerobic speed reserve in middle distance running. He explains the background and role of the New Zealand institute of sport, how he drove impact and the key findings and applications from the project.

35:52 – Gareth shares some of the challenges posed in data collection in New Zealand and details how he broke away into other countries through collaborating with other coaches, developing rapport, momentum and buy in with a global community.

41:57 – Steve asks Gareth to draw on some of the key principles and stats from engaging with a performance community during his PhD project, all of which share a common cause and problem but in very different environments spread across the globe

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Visit Gareth’s website here

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Dr Steve Ingham is one of the UK’s leading figures in sport and one of the world’s leading performance scientists. He is steeped in high performance and has been integral to the development of Britain into an Olympic superpower. He has provided support to over 1000 athletes, of which over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Steve has coached Kelly Sotherton's running for heptathlon and to 4x400m Olympic medal winning success. Steve has worked at the English Sports Council British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport, where Steve was the Director of Science and Technical Development, leading a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB. Ingham holds a BSc, PhD and is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Steve is author of the best selling ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve established Supporting Champions with the ambition of helping ambitious people to find a better way of creating high-performance. Steve hosts the Supporting Champions Podcast on sharing his pursuit of understanding and exploration in performance.

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