The athlete/coach relationship is a complex one. Coaches must be a friend, motivator, drill sergeant, teacher, confidant—sometimes all at the same time. LAVA sat down with Bend, Ore.,-based pro Heather Jackson and her coach Cliff English on the eve of Jackson’s runner-up finish at the 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championship to talk about their first year working together. Jackson started working with English after working with several other professional coaches, including Matt Dixon, Pete Coulson and Muddy Waters—each of them helping Jackson on her very swift journey from unknown former hockey player to dominating 70.3 athlete. According to Jackson, what’s she’s received from English over the past year is more focused work on her technique and form, especially in her swim. The difference this detailed approach has made for her is easy to see just by a brief look at some of her 2013 performances: a big win at the Escape from Alcatraz, a 1st place at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, a solid defense of her Wildflower Long Course title and a runner-up finish in Vegas.

Stay tuned to next week’s video sit-down with Ironman 70.3 world champion Kelly Williamson and her husband/coach Derick Williamson of Durata Training as they talk about his dual role in her life, and how it’s helped her during her rough 2013 racing season.