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Coach Alan Couzens

As head coach and founder of MAD Science Coaching, Alan Couzens works primarily with triathletes—amateurs, serious amateurs, and a few pros. More recently, MAD Science Coaching began providing training plans and testing to amateur athletes, leveraging Alan's experience in the lab, testing pro athletes competing at the highest level of the sport. 

Triathlon Coach Alan Couzens of MAD Scientist Coaching

Career path

Began coaching in 1994 while completing his studies at Western Sydney University; Exercise Physiologist at Endurance Corner; Head Coach at MAD Science Coaching


My focus is on sustainability. I like to emphasize what an athlete can do over the long term. This entails moderating the amount of intensity in training and putting the emphasis on consistency. I like to set up a basic week; something the athlete can hit on a regular basis to build a strong aerobic base. 

“As a coach, I think the experiences that have hit me the hardest have come from working with athletes who are really committed to the sport and racing at a pro level, but coming out of a program that didn’t prioritize their health and/or long-term relationship with the sport. Having the chance to rekindle an athlete’s love of the sport is incredibly rewarding for me.” 

Most underrated training metric: Efficiency Factor (EF) 

It’s my thinking that athletes don’t pay enough attention to heart rate as a whole, but more importantly the power-to-heart rate relationship and how it changes over time, irrespective of the training phase.  

Efficiency Factor can be improved over multiple seasons. The more advanced the athlete, the more they have to start looking at metrics that accurately portray their aerobic capacity.  

Most overrated training metric: 20-minute test 

Athletes tend to be more focused on 20-minute and 10-minute max effort tests because they can put in a big block of training and see these data points shift, so it feels like progress. However, these numbers are not as likely to shift dramatically over a long period of time.  

The 20-minute test is commonly (and maybe mistakenly) used as an indicator of aerobic fitness. We use a longer test for functional threshold (60 minutes), and we know that the shorter you go, the less reliable the test becomes. Athletes can end up fooling themselves as to where their aerobic fitness truly is at a given point in time.