Benjamin Barwick

I joined Full Potential in 2009 providing biomechanical advice and supporting running specialists all over the UK in conjunction with a leading sportswear manufacture. What started off as maternity cover has taken me on a journey of becoming a running coach and Director of Full Potential.  If only I could have warned that young man what he was getting into!
 

As a school kid, I hated running, I just didn’t get it.  I loved team sports and played to a high level, but I just didn’t understand running.  Things all changed once I joined the Full Potential team and I have gone from running novice to coach and high level technical geek. I am always looking at new ways to improve performance, whether that be subjecting myself to lactate testing, trying out an altitude tent, running in magical footwear or wearing the latest in GPS running watches from Garmin.  I try to write about most of my experiences and post them to the Full Potential website, so that others can use the good stuff and avoid subjecting themselves to terrible products! 
 

After running my first marathon in 2010 in 3:58, and making many errors along the way, I sat down with Keith and he helped to guide me to the semi-ahtlete that I have become today.  Winning my first ever race (a 10km in 2012) was fantastic and if I could tell the chubby little school boy how amazing it feels to win a running race, I think I may have started sooner!  My marathon PB of 2.52 was run in Florence in 2015. I have run a 34.17 10km and 1.17.06 half marathon.
 

I started coaching in 2011 and absolutely love it. It provides such a buzz being able to write plans, talk to others about their running and see them develop as an athlete.  Whether that's getting someone to run 2.40 for the marathon or talking someone who has only run a 5km to run their first half marathon, it's equally rewarding.  Each day brings with it new challenges but getting to work closely with an athlete of any ability is really special. I am currently coaching the Mens Running Team for the Big Marathon Challenge.
 

Steve Prefontaine summed up perfectly how I feel about running: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift"

Get in touch with Ben directly: ben@fullpotential.co.uk

Ben's Testimonials

Debbie Lowi

Why did you decide to get a coach?

I first decided to get a coach after qualifying for the 2018 Aquathlon World Championships (swimming & running). I was keen to improve my running and get a structured programme tailored to my needs, as well as a coach who could help me balance my running around swimming training.

How long have you been coached?

I first started working with Ben towards the end of 2017. Under his guidance I found that running became my favourite discipline and this is where I excelled in the multi sport races. I then took a year to focus on triathlon but found that I really missed the running element and guidance from Full Potential, so I decided to return again in 2020. I’ve really enjoyed having the structure of Ben’s training during lockdown and I’m starting to get my running mojo back!

What have you achieved?

Since working with Ben I have set PBs over all distances which I’ve raced (5km to half marathon). I also placed 6th in my age group at Aquathlon World Championships under Ben’s guidance!

What do you enjoy most about the coaching?

I really like having the structure and being able to discuss my goals with my coach. It’s great having someone to support my running and provide me with confidence, which is so important to progress. Another key thing for me is to enjoy the training and stay motivated, and this is something which Ben has really facilitated. He is flexible to work my swimming / triathlon training into the plan and always willing to change things when needed.

What would you say to someone thinking about signing up to coaching?

I would definitely recommend Full Potential as I’ve really enjoyed working with Ben. I would encourage anyone looking to proceed with coaching to have a chat with the coach beforehand to ensure that you get along well and communicate well. In my opinion this is crucial to ensure things run smoothly and that you are happy with the service.

Adam Pettitt

Why did you decide to get a coach?

I was having persistent running injuries and my sports masseuse at Backs and Beyond recommended my getting a coach to balance my running better and to have someone to build in injury recovery to the schedule. She gave me three recommendations and I checked them all out and plumped for Full Potential as they seemed to have coaches who worked with people in my situation. The response was really rapid and efficient and I had plans within a week.

How long have you been coached?

Three years.

What have you achieved?

I ran my first marathon ( 2017, Tokyo) and have now run seven! Berlin, Moscow, London, Rotterdam, Chicago and a Covid-19 one - 100 laps of a school field to raise money for digital poverty: laps for laptops.

What do you enjoy most about the coaching?

It’s the security of a plan: not only what I do day by day and week by week - that gives me structure; I like going to bed knowing what training I will do in the morning - but the long term, patterned training which has its phases adding variety but also getting me ready for each race, and making sure I don’t over-train.

My coach is the lovely, ever-attentive Ben. I’ve only met him once face to face when he ran a running camp my kids were on, and I speak to him if I need to but I choose to communicate by email. His messages are cheerful and encouraging, and his plans detailed and with just the right amount of context. But it’s the individual responses, the ‘Hey Adam, that was really great the way you knew to ease off last week’ or ‘That’s some great running; you don’t need to worry about x ...’.

Touch wood, but I’ve had no injuries and not needed to take any breaks from training. It’s worked for me and I’m a complete convert to long distance running now. I like the fact that Ben encourages me to do other races and to get outside my comfort zone. Efficient, encouraging, respectful, professional service.

What would you say to someone thinking about signing up to coaching?

May be you won’t need to remain on your trainer’s books as long as I have - I admit that I am an addict - but do it: running is so enjoyable but you do need to look after yourself when doing it past 40. Full potential has added a new dimension to my running and running has done the same to my life. I have a busy and quite demanding job so the training I do needs to be worthwhile, and FP and Ben get that and make it happen.

James Riley

Why did you decide to get a coach?

I signed up to run the 2019 London Marathon on behalf of the NSPCC and they arranged for Ben at Full Potential to produce me a training plan. I was so pleased with the results (see below) and enjoyed the process of training with Ben so much, I immediately signed up to continue coaching on completing the marathon.

How long have you been coached?

A year and three quarters

What have you achieved?

The improvement in my race results was truly astonishing and more importantly I’m enjoying my running more than ever.

5k 17:23 to 16:47

10k 36:17 to 34:47

HM 1:22 to 1:13

Marathon 3:07 to 2:38

What do you enjoy most about the coaching?

I love the structure and discipline that a training plan brings to my running. Also the opportunity to discuss my training with Ben - both his expertise and the clarity that discussing your running with someone you trust brings. He brings a wonderful positivity to the training, supporting me with my self-criticism, while managing to temper my wilder ideas and wish to overdo it!

What would you say to someone thinking about signing up to coaching?

If you’ve got a running goal, whatever it is, go for it. With Full Potential it’s a wonderfully positive experience (although I sometimes don’t feel that mid rep 😀)!

Celina Kelly

Why did you decide to get a coach?

Because my running had stagnated. I had been doing the same things for years, kept getting injured, and was starting to lose motivation and enjoyment. Some friends convinced me to go to one of the Full Potential running camps in Portugal, where I was impressed with the approaches of all of the coaches and their commitment to supporting runners of all ability and experience levels. I had some really interesting chats with Ben in particular about his coaching philosophy and, once I got back home, decided to give coaching a try. I figured that I didn’t have anything to lose and everything to gain!

How long have you been coached?

I’ve been coached by Ben since 2017.

What have you achieved?

My main goals were to enjoy running again and to be able to run without getting injured, and I’ve certainly achieved both of those. The sessions that Ben gives me are varied enough and challenging enough that I never get bored, and his structured but flexible approach to training has meant that my slightly wonky biomechanics have coped well with the demands of increased mileage. I’m now able to manage higher weekly mileage than I ever have and I’ve been able to run even ultramarathon distances without injury. I wasn’t particularly concerned about improving my pace – I’ve always been a solid middle of the pack runner who finds enjoyment and fun more motivating than speed or races - but an unexpected side effect of training with a coach has been that I’ve gotten faster. I’m still middle of the pack, but now I’m upper middle rather than lower middle, which has made me surprisingly happy!

What do you enjoy most about the coaching?

Having a varied programme of sessions to keep me motivated. Having someone else think about how to fit it all together so that all that I have to do is show up and run. Not only receiving expert guidance through the training programmes but, almost more importantly, receiving support with the psychological aspects of running and performance as well. And, of course, being able to have a laugh about it all.

What would you say to someone thinking about signing up to coaching?

I would say that coaching is not just for elite athletes or super-speedy club runners, and not just for younger people. I’ll be 60 this year and I’m faster than I’ve ever been and am enjoying my running more than I ever have. No matter what your goals and abilities are, a good coach will help you to achieve the first and maximise the second. (Thanks, Ben!)

Ben's latest Blog posts

Keith Anderson

At the age of 30, I was stuck in a rut - An overweight smoker with a stressful job as a chef. I only took up running to lose weight and get fitter but this turned out to be the start of a unique journey that would ultimately see me finish 10th in the 1998 Commonwealth Games marathon aged 41!

I started my running life as a fell runner eventually setting a number of course records, some of which still stand today. I became British Fell running champion before starting racing at a high level on the road and cross-country. My performances allowed me to train at altitude in Kenya and the Pyrenees. I regularly competed against some of the world’s best athletes across Europe and in the United States.

As an athlete I worked hard. My coach, leading physiologist Tony Trowbridge guided me so that my training was scientific and right for me. I enjoyed competing and winning but I have never forgotten how difficult my misinformed first attempts at training, fitness and weight loss were. What I did learn was that it’s not just about hard training!

I have advised hundreds of runners, from complete beginners through to international athletes, writing coaching articles that have featured in Runner’s World, Running Fitness, Peak Performance as well as a number of running books and websites. During my coaching career I have created / delivered a variety of training camps, races and running events.

I believe that my coaching along with my competitive experiences provide me with a unique insight that will allow me to help you to achieve your running and fitness goals. From overweight thirty something to international runner my personal bests are...

 

5 km – 13.46, 10 km – 29.04, 10 m – 48.15, Half marathon – 64.20, Marathon – 2.17.08  

Ben Barwick

I joined Full Potential in 2009 providing biomechanical advice and supporting running specialists all over the UK in conjunction with a leading sportswear manufacture. What started off as maternity cover has taken me on a journey of becoming a running coach and Director of Full Potential.  If only I could have warned that young man what he was getting into!
 

As a school kid, I hated running, I just didn’t get it.  I loved team sports and played to a high level, but I just didn’t understand running.  Things all changed once I joined the Full Potential team and I have gone from running novice to coach and high level technical geek. I am always looking at new ways to improve performance, whether that be subjecting myself to lactate testing, trying out an altitude tent, running in magical footwear or wearing the latest in GPS running watches from Garmin.  I try to write about most of my experiences and post them to the Full Potential website, so that others can use the good stuff and avoid subjecting themselves to terrible products! 
 

After running my first marathon in 2010 in 3:58, and making many errors along the way, I sat down with Keith and he helped to guide me to the semi-ahtlete that I have become today.  Winning my first ever race (a 10km in 2012) was fantastic and if I could tell the chubby little school boy how amazing it feels to win a running race, I think I may have started sooner!  My marathon PB of 2.52 was run in Florence in 2015. I have run a 34.17 10km and 1.17.06 half marathon.
 

I started coaching in 2011 and absolutely love it. It provides such a buzz being able to write plans, talk to others about their running and see them develop as an athlete.  Whether that's getting someone to run 2.40 for the marathon or talking someone who has only run a 5km to run their first half marathon, it's equally rewarding.  Each day brings with it new challenges but getting to work closely with an athlete of any ability is really special. I am currently coaching the Mens Running Team for the Big Marathon Challenge.
 

Steve Prefontaine summed up perfectly how I feel about running: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift"

Debbie Anderson

For over 20 years I worked as a busy PA in London at companies such as Virgin, Hamleys and Charles Worthington. Running and exercise didn't really feature in my daily life most of that time. It was whilst at Hamleys that a friend and I decided to run a 10K race in Richmond to raise money for charity. So I got a trainer, lost some weight, got fit and surprisingly found that I really enjoyed the training. The race was great fun too!  I signed up to run the Great North Run and before I knew it, I had a place to run the London Marathon!  

It was sometimes difficult to fit my training and exercise in since i was working 12-hours a day juggling a very busy and pretty stressful work load. I tried hard to make it a priority to find the time each day to train and ended up running my first marathon in a time of 4.17!  I was so pleased and proud of myself... I was hooked!
    
I gave up working in London in 2005 to help set up Full Potential with Keith.  I love to run, cycle and exercise each week not only to keep fit but also because I know how much it helps me stay sane in my busy life.  My ultimate running goals now are to break 4hrs for the marathon and run sub 50 mins for 10K.

I completed my UKA Level 1 Running Coach qualifications several years ago and really enjoy helping runners who are just starting out on their running journey. I want to help them understand and enjoy their training to achieve their running goals.

Kerry Newell

Kerry coaches at her local clubs of Gloucester AC & Cotswold Pentathlon with GB athletes - U13  to U17 outdoor ranking from County to previous European Gold Medallist for 5K.

 

She is a qualified Athletics Coach and qualified Coach in Running Fitness and has worked for England Athletics and Welsh Athletics since 2012 as a Tutor - educating our up and coming coaches.

 

Kerry won the prestigious prize of SW Run Leader of the Year for England Athletics in 2015. She has been on the British Athletics National Coach Development Programme to support her own coaching to the highest standard within the UK. Kerry is currently also working as part of the Run Club scheme for England Athletics, mentoring athletic clubs with their own coaching for their athletes. She has recently worked as the Team Coach for our England Masters Marathon team too.

Kerry has PB's of 1.37 for the half marathon and 42 mins for 10K. She's recently returned to the track and is aiming to better her current 800m PB of 2.45 - ranked top 20 in UK for her age group.

Phill Berntsen

After a successful running career as a junior/U23, I joined Full Potential in 2019 as an athletics coach, specialising in endurance running. Some of my accomplishments nationally were McCain National XC series champion, 2nd at English Schools XC and qualifying for the World & European Championships.

 

I went on to represent Team GB on three occasions competing at the World XC Championship in Edinburgh, as well as two European XC Championships in Slovenia & Belgium.

 

I aspire to wear an England or Team GB vest again and am training hard towards these goals.

 

Using my coaching experience and that of an athlete competing at international level, I always help the runners I work with, strive to get the most out of their training and racing.

 

Phill’s PB’s are: 3k – 8:28, 5k – 14:52, 10k – 32.03, 10 mile – 54:40

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