Gareth Sandford exercise physiologist podcast

036: Gareth Sandford on working with the world’s best coaches

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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