We are so excited to announce a new addition to our wonderful Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching staff, coach Denise Hiller! Denise, a former Staff Sergeant in the Airforce (serving as a Surgical Service Specialist and Nurse), has been an athlete all her life. You name the sport – she played it growing up, and was competitive in soccer, basketball, softball, track and field, field hockey AND tennis!
Fast forward to 2007, Denise made the switch from endurance running to triathlons and never looked back. The Iron distance is her passion, and training, racing and being an ambassador for the sport is very important to her. And now, much to our great pleasure, she has grown her passion for the sport to include coaching, and is excited to share her knowledge and experience to help athletes reach their full potential.
Denise currently resides in Tabernacle, New Jersey, with her husband Mike, step-son Chase, and their beloved rescue dog, Jennay. We took some time to sit down with Denise to learn a little more about herself, her coaching style, and training.
So Denise, how would you define your coaching philosopy?
I believe in plain old hard work and commitment. My goal is to understand each athlete individually in order to put together the correct plan for bringing out the very best in them.
In order for an athlete to improve there is a need to train hard, consistently, and specifically for the demands of the sport. I also believe in the benefits of a healthy approach to nutrition, quality sleep, and the consistent integration of recovery. Ultimately, success depends upon the toughness and strength of an athlete’s mind and the spirit. Finally, some form of functional strength training is a healthy addition in putting together a complete triathlon training program.
What unique ability do you bring to your coaching style?
I coach the same way I live my life - Don't wait for what you want. GO GET IT.
What is your triathlon experience?
After many years of racing marathons and half marathons I was hooked on endurance sports and ready to step up to the next big challenge. And because I believe in the power of change, the power of facing your fears, and the power of trying something that scares the s*** out of you, I signed up for a triathlon on a whim and a dare. I fell in love with the sport from the get-go and quickly transitioned from runner to aspiring triathlete.
I have nine years of Multisport experience across a variety of distances. I currently compete in all distances of the sport from sprint to the Iron distance and have many age group wins and overall podiums to my credit. I am a two time Kona qualifier, multiple Ironman 70.3 World Championship qualifier and USAT All American athlete.
So what do you find most rewarding about working with endurance triathletes?
I’d say seeing the continued progression, improvements and watching athletes defy the odds (no matter what ability level they are) is the most rewarding aspect of coaching. I love working with athletes who are passionate and eager towards putting in the consistent work day in and day out to achieve their goals.
Favorite part about being a coach?
I enjoy being a positive role model and inspiring athletes to be the best they can be. I see so many committed triathletes working and training so hard, but doing things actually hurting their performance. I take on the responsibility as your coach very seriously and will do everything possible to help each individual athlete accomplish his or her triathlon dreams.
How do you define triathlon success?
Triathlon success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, sacrifice, commitment and most importantly love of what you are doing. You need to have fun and enjoy your training and racing to get the most out of your sport. Knowing someone is in your corner, rooting for you each workout is both motivating and vital to your growth as a triathlete.
Who/What inspires you to do what you do?
I am inspired by anyone who commits to self-improvement and their own level of excellence. Ironmans hurt. It’s tough. And it continues to scare the hell out of me. For some strange reason, I like that. I love how it tests all aspects of fitness, strength, power, endurance and most of all mental grit. To finish one, no matter your level or speed takes guts. Triathlon has become a fantastic outlet to continue representing who I am as a person, and to be the fiercest and healthiest woman I can be.
Any last words of advice?
Triathlon is a sport, but also a way of life. When I first qualified for Kona it was a milestone on a much greater journey. Now, I know what may (at first) seem impossible is not. Now, I see obstacles and failures for what they are: opportunities to learn and grow. Now, I choose action over inaction. I will always commit to my dreams.