Richard Hughes Coach

Richard Hughes

How did it all start?

After many years playing rugby in the top tier also at a county, divisional and national level, the time had come for my very battered body to have a rest from the physicality of such a great game. Being in the fire service challenges were also being thrown around at the mess table, So the one thrown my way was “a fat rugby player won’t do a triathlon”!!!  HA so the bait was taken, and I signed up for The BANBURY TRIATHLON ( sprint distance)in 1999 run by a couple of friends and part of The National Fire Service Series across the UK. I borrowed a bike of a mate at work done the route a few times, swam a bit in the pool (breaststroke) and run a bit as usual.

The day came, and I was Bricking it!!!! I swam steady cycled as hard as I could, having four gels on the bike route!!! and run hard (very slowly).

I WAS HOOKED; I had found something that tested me in so many different ways to what other sport had.
What races did you do after your first one?
I didn’t race too frequently as I didn’t really know what I was doing. I did a few sprints run by Just Racing Events in Northampton and the odd Aquathlon at Warwick Parkrun by Coventry Triathletes. The whole time my mind was being plagued by a conversation with an old playing colleague at Northampton, Phil Pask. The word “IRONMAN”. Phil had done one and he was always super fit. I wondered if I could do one?
I joined the local Tri club TEAM CHERWELL, they have always had a close connection with Lanzarote and in particular The Ironman there.
I carried on with sprint races but always with that seed in my mind of doing an Ironman. I ventured up to some local standard distance Tri’s and also travelling to Hong Kong for the World FireFighter Games 2006 to do the Triathlon as well as the half marathon. Once back in the UK I made my mind up Lanzarote Ironman 2007 was for me.
After seven months of training with no plan and just doing lots of swim bike run. I crossed the finish line to complete my first IRONMAN, wow what an experience in so many ways, physically, emotionally and the up/downs of mind games too.
Now after the countless sprint, Olympic, middle and Ironman races, I try to help people on their journeys to whatever goal they are targeting.
When did you start coaching?
TEAM CHERWELL Tri club were looking for volunteers to help out the club with coaching, I had always been helped by Brian Butler (head coach at the time) from Natural Ability. His help has made such a difference to me as I always wanted to help other people improve themselves through triathlon.
I attained my British Triathlon Federation Level 1 Coach in 2008. I helped out alongside Brian for lots of sessions poolside, run sessions and club bike rides. Always happy to help people with any questions they had on how I could help them to improve. I then moved onto my British Triathlon Federation Level 2 Coach in 2010 and stepped up to take over as Head Coach for the junior section of the tri club, as well as coaching at the adult sessions.
Throughout this time I’ve been racing and learning all the time from different areas of triathlon, cycling, running, swimming, strength and conditioning as well as looking at other sports training techniques to see if they can help a triathlete better themselves physically or mentally.
Authors like Joel Friel “The Triathletes Training Bible“, Dr Phil Maffetone “Endurance Training and Racing“,  Prof Steve Peters “The Chimp Paradox“. Paul Newsome “Swim Smooth” along with many more have all helped me to expand my own knowledge and understanding.
Any of the sessions I recommend that could help an athlete I will have done myself. I can fully understand what we are trying to achieve, how it will feel and how it will affect the athlete.
I’ve now been involved in many Training camps to club LaSanta in Lanzarote with Team Cherwell and also helping Brain Butler out on his Natural Ability Training camps in Calpe Spain.
It is so rewarding being able to help someone on their journey to reach their goal, whether it be their first ever triathlon, the podium of their big race or to complete their first 10km run or half marathon.

Lotty Profile

Lotty Keys

How did it all start? What led me to PT:

Having played both first division and international rugby for 15 years, my retirement from the game was met with “what now?” Talking to my EIS lifestyle coach, Triathlon was the most obvious transition sport. Transition from International sport is hard, life changes and so does the reasons why you train. On attending my first team Cherwell training session, Richard Hughes the swim coach commented on my interesting swim stroke. “Transitioning from rugby right?” I found my new coach; four years on, 3 Ironman full distances and additional middle distance races and half marathons. Triathlon has transformed my philosophy on training, mental focus and respect for my mind and body.

A passionate Physical Education teacher, I have been a strong advocate of fitness for life. My passion and drive for physical activity comes the little moments you get when you play; the hairs on the back of my neck standing when we sing National Anthems, the adrenaline rush on the pitch and turning the butterflies, you get before you play into positive energy when it matters.

My MSc in Sports Psychology has allowed me to delve into the partnership of body and mind. This I feel is essential for personal training.

In learning so much from Richard Hughes, the process of personal training was inevitable. A really good friend and PT suggested the personal training career. I have just completed my level 2 gym instructor’s course and my level 3 personal trainer qualification with Future Fit Training. Witnessing clients working hard, fulfilling their goals and transforming their lives is the reward, which inspires me to develop my skills as a PT.

My Coaching experience:

In 1998 I was employed by Middlebury College in Vermont. Coaching Field hockey and Lacrosse winning two National Collegiate Athletic Association titles in one year was pretty memorable.

What races did you do after your first one?

After the Vitruvian middle distance Triathlon, I entered Majorca Ironman, my first Ironman. Mediterranean 2.5mile sea swim, 190K mountain cycle and a marathon in 32-degree heat, completed in 14hrs 12mins and 44secs. To date, my current Ironman PB was set Maastricht 2017 in 13hrs 42mins 12secs. Within 2017 I achieved PB’s in 3 separate races that year.


I am really proud to have represented my country with Rugby. Moving forward, I have lots of Ironman goals I am working towards. I am loving challenging my mind and really understanding the psychology of performance. It is allowing me to challenge my body to really believe in itself. Limitless expectations to always say “I’ll have a go at that” and finish with a smile!