David Dhooge


David Dhooge - Scientific Triathlon coach

David Dhooge


David has been a full-time triathlon coach since 2015, and a Scientific Triathlon coach since 2020. As a coach, he takes a holistic approach and believes in helping athletes grow not just in triathlon, but as individuals as well. As an athlete, David got into triathlon in his late 20s. He quickly became one of the top athletes in his age group and has multiple AG wins and podiums on his resumé. David is from Belgium, lives in the south of France, and speaks Dutch, English and French fluently. 

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David has been a full-time triathlon coach since 2015, and has plenty of personal experience in short and long distance triathlon, consistently finishing at the front of overall age-group fields, despite coming into the sport a bit later in life, in his late 20s. 

As an athlete, David has qualified for and participated in both the IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships. David was coached by double Ironman World Champion Luc van Lierde for several years, which was the starting point for David's own coaching career, giving him great insights into triathlon performance and development, and the coaching skills required to make a difference.

David believes in clear communication with his athletes. He listens to them carefully to understand their individual needs and designs and adjusts their training accordingly. He uses his thorough understanding of the physiological underpinnings of performance to optimise training strategies and bring out the best in his athletes, while also placing equal importance on understanding the psychology of the athlete and its importance. He makes an effort to understand what motivates each athlete and helps them build mental strength alongside physical fitness.

  • Nationality: Belgium (living in France)
  • Languages: Dutch (native), English (fluent), French (fluent), German (basic)
  • Education: Master’s degree in Criminology (Ghent University)
  • Coaching Certification: Brevet Fédéral Triathlon 5 (FFTRI – Fédération Française Triathlon)
  • Coaching Experience: Started coaching in 2014. Full-time coach since 2015. Scientific Triathlon coach since 2020.
  • Athletic Accomplishments:
    -1st AG 40-44, Ironman 70.3 Bahrain 2023

    -1st AG 40-44, Ironman Vichy 2023
    -2nd AG 40-44, Ironman Portugal 2022
    -3rd AG 40-44 & 15th overall, National French Championships Half Distance 2022
    -1st overall, France Pyrenees Altriman L half distance (+2620 metres elevation gain) 2021
    -1st overall, Olympic Distance Revel, France 2019
    -262th place, Ironman World Championship Kona, Hawaii 2019
    -3rd AG 35-39 & 5th overall, France Pyrenees Altriman XXL (extreme distance, +5000 metres elevation gain) 2018
    -3rd AG 35-39: Ironman Malaysia 2018
    -Ironman 70.3 World Championships Zell am See, Austria 2015


Allocate my time spent training in the smartest way possible

Florian Figge 36, Munich, Germany

My main goal when signing up for coaching was to save time and to allocate my time spent training in the smartest way possible. Working with David has done just that for me, so it's definitely been worth it. With David there is always somebody to talk to if there are issues, questions, unexpected life changes and so on, wheras my previous coach was more like a customised plan. I also used to train too much and was often very tired, and this has now changed being coached by David.

Extremely positive coaching experience with continued progress in all three disciplines!

Dan Melcher 39, Mounds, OK, US

Working with David has been an extremely positive coaching experience for me and helped me make continued progress in all three disciplines throughout the season. David is really great about talking about the plan for the next block of training along with the "why" and how it relates to the overall structure/goal for the season. He uses his knowledge, data and science, and the athlete's feedback to create a plan that works on the areas that will be most impactful for a particular athlete to improve. He's also always available if I have any questions.

"A completely different experience"

Hernan Melgares 44, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

My coaching relationship with David is my second experience with remote coaching. My previous experience was called "individual coaching" but it was just a weekly training program coming from a workout database. Working with David is a completely different experience. David knows me and understands how I respond to training and how to manage my training load to avoid injuries and overtraining. He always wants to learn more and understand every detail that can help me improve as a runner. I've been working with David for about two years now, and am in it for the long haul, with the goal of eventually doing a full Ironman.

Amazing training program and excellent communication

Brendan Connor 56, Northern Ireland

I am completely blown away by David's coaching. I have had a few coaches in the past but David really is focused on providing me with a training plan that is specific to myself. The detail in the sessions is incredible and the continuous feedback from David on all my sessions is so reassuring. I have always seen great progression under his guidance.

Creative solutions for time-constrained athletes

Michal Sobieszczyk

Having David as my coach has been an excellent experience. The training he prescribes is progressive, consistent and results in improved performance. He is available and flexible with my work/life schedule and has creative solutions for time-constrained athletes. And his communication and feedback are perfect. He has met all of my expectations.

David helped me train more efficiently

Jodie Totten 36, Alaska, US

David helped me use my time more efficiently. I actually trained fewer hours than prior seasons but felt stronger, more prepared, and less stressed. I work night shifts and David helped me schedule things around my work and life in a healthy and productive way. David was amazing in how quickly he responded to my questions and how available and flexible he was. Not only that, but he was able to figure out where my individual strengths and weaknesses are and to then focus on the areas of training that were most beneficial for me.

I couldn't be happier!

Vesa Parviainen 43, Miami, US

I learned so much about coaching and training in triathlon from David. All the things I've heard on the podcast from top coaches were implemented in David's coaching as well. World-class! Training is methodical and well planned, race and training fueling was always advised. and communication was done through bi-weekly calls, chatting on WhatsApp almost daily and session feedback via Training Peaks comments. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my left knee this year, but with David's guidance we were able to modify my training so I could finish Ironman Arizona in 10:27, only a few minutes from my PB. Without David's knowledge and patience, this couldn't have been accomplished. His approach is very personalised and he communicates well with his athletes. I couldn't be happier training under his wings.

Keeps me from training too much

Ben Rosenfield 42, Denver, CO, United States

I signed up for coaching with David to prepare for an ultramarathon having limited running experience. I completed my goal race and felt very aerobically prepared. We have regular calls and text communication, with prompt answers when I have questions. David provides an experienced eye that keeps me from attempting too much work, while giving me confidence that I am doing enough.

Lots of improvements in a short amount of time

Juhana Repo 36, Finland

Being coached by David has been great. He is a true professional, and I've seen quite a lot of improvement in my performance in just a short amount of time. For amateur athletes, getting a coach can clearly have quite amazing results.

Qualified for Kona

Yohann Miglis 33, Texas, United States

David has found an approach that works great for me and I have made exceptional progress and qualified for Kona. He really tailors my training to my physiology and communicates extremely well, is very patient and responsive.

Qualified for 70.3 Worlds!


David provides quality coaching, responsiveness and adaptation. I no longer have to think about planning my training, knowing David would tailor it to my needs. I signed up for coaching with the goal of qualifying for the 70.3 World Championships, and under David's guidance I accomplished that goal.

Well-balanced, positively challenging plan adapted to my objectives, opportunities and experience

Pablo Zapata 53, Tirana, Albania

I got a customised plan from coach David Dhooge in preparation for my first half distance triathlon. I'm new to triathlon and swimming and cycling were totally new to me. The fact that I at 53 years old managed to transition from running to triathlon is largely credited to the plan. David made a comprehensive, well balanced and positively challenging plan, adapted to my declared objectives and adjusted to my training possibilities and experience in the disciplines in which I had no experience. If your goals include performing well while staying injury-free, I would seriously recommend considering a customised plan from Scientific Triathlon.

Getting fitter and more confident

Peter Gasser 35, Switzerland

I achieved my goals of finishing my first 70.3 and marathon within a specific goal tie with the help of David, and I did that while never feeling completely crushed. His coaching works great, I'm getting to my races well-prepared and becoming fitter and more confident in my capabilities.

David's coaching in 3-5 words

One size doesn't fit all! 

 Learn more about our coaching services (including pricing) here, or contact us to book a no-obligation discovery call here.

Get To Know David

Where are you from and where do you live?

I'm from Belgium, but I live in the south of France, between Toulouse and Carcassonne since 2016. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

I usually get up around 6am. I actually start working immediately, while having coffee (Ricoré). The first thing I do is to start looking through my athletes' feedback and workouts on Training Peaks so I'm on top of that. Then I would usually have breakfast with my wife around 7:30, and after that I'll do a morning workout myself. Later I also usually do an afternoon workout. Between and around that I'm working, with most of that work being communicating with my athletes and planning their training. Outside of that, I'm also walking our two dogs, spend time with my wife and I'm the cook at home, so that's the private life going on next to coaching and my own training.  

NB: When we first moved to France we had a Bed & Breakfast and I was cooking for our guests. so I have some experience from that. My cooking is mostly focused on just eating really healthy food with lots of vegetables.

What's your favourite workout?

Definitely a long ride in the mountains, mostly aerobic, but using the terrain to add some playful intensity variations. Also longer trail runs, around 1.5-2 hours. 

What's your least favourite or most dreaded workout?

I'm not a big fan of high-intensity stuff because it's so hard... but of course I need it from time to time so I still do it. And testing is also not my favourite thing to do. 

What (if anything) do you listen to when training?

I don't listen too much to anything while training. Mostly if it's an indoor bike session. If it's an easy session I try to listen to a podcast, and if it's a hard session I like to listen to electronic music to get some push from the music. I like artists like Paul Kalkbrenner for example, but usually I just put on a Daily Mix on Spotify. 

What's your favourite book, blog or resource related to triathlon or endurance sport?

The podcasts "That Triathlon Show" and "On Coaching" with Steve Magness and Jonathan Marcus. The book "Science of running" by Steve Magness, "Endure" by Alex Hutchinson, and "Science of winning" by Jan Olbrecht. There are some other books around psychology and communication that I like as well, for example "Coaching Athletes To Be Their Best: Motivational Interviewing In Sports". 

What's your favourite food and beverage?

Well, as a Belgian I really like steak and fries. That's really big in Belgium. I don't like beer though... I live in France so I also got into cheese and red wine, that's something I really like, in moderation, one glass a couple of times per week. 

What do you like to do when you're not coaching or training yourself?

I have to admit that coaching and practising sports is pretty much my life, it's a way of life for me. But when I'm not doing that I'm into cooking, and I really like to travel. But travel is usually combined with a race. I also like being out in nature, and being at home with my dogs and my wife. 

If you could have dinner with any three people dead or alive, who would it be?

This is a difficult one, I had to really think about it. Two of them are athletes and were my heroes when I grew up. I was really into athletics, so I would say Carl Lewis, and I also used to be into Formula One, so Michael Schumacher. And as a third one I would say Barrack Obama. I think he is somebody who inspires people. 

What's your educational background? 

I have a Master's degree (from University of Ghent, in 2006) in criminology, so that includes a lot of psychology coursework. Not formal education per se, but before I started my degree I was in the army for two years. After I moved to France I got a federal degree in triathlon, it's like a certificate. In October 2021 I'm going to start another university degree, in high-performance sports. But of course outside of formal education, to be always learning is very important to me. 

What's your sporting background? Do you still race actively? 

When I was young I was really into athletics, I was a sprinter and did long jump, and was pretty good at it. After injuries and moving for university I started doing more endurance sports. I'm 40 now, and I started triathlon around 27, and have been in the sport ever since. I'm racing actively, and improving year by year. I'm mostly focusing on long-distance races, even though I do some sprints and Olympic distance races as preparation for my more important races. My best Ironman is 9h12m, and I'd like to go sub-9 in one of my future races. 

NB: David's best 100m time was somewhere between 11-12 seconds when he was 16-18 years old.

Who are your coaching role models or coaches you've learnt a lot from? 

I try to gain information from everywhere! When I started training I was coached by Luc van Lierde for 4 years, which helped inspire me to go into coaching myself. I learnt a lot from him about things like lactate testing,  he was also working with Jan Olbrecht around that. I learnt a lot of the fundamentals from Luc. I've also learnt a lot from Steve Magness' books and podcasts. I think he is a really good coach who knows what he's doing. Also, the podcast interviews with David Tilbury-Davis on That Triathlon Show have been really interesting on topics like specificity, creativity, and athlete autonomy.  

What types of athletes do you coach? 

Currently I mostly coach triathletes, but I also coach some runners, from the 10k to the marathon. In the past I've also coached cyclists and trail runners. The athletes I coach include a mix of males and females, ages range from athletes in their 20s to 50s, and ability levels range from people quite new to the sport to World Championship qualifiers. Currently I don't coach any professional athletes but I would like to do that as well. 

What do you expect from athletes you coach?  

The main thing is very good communication. The athletes need to be honest and they should always give good feedback on their training sessions, I really need this from my athletes. It is also very important that the athletes really try to be consistent in training. This doesn't mean that they can never miss a workout, but if they do, they should let me know so we can discuss any changes to the schedule. They should not start rearranging their workouts without me knowing. Changes should always be communicated and discussed. Finally, I want athletes to have confidence in their plan but also be aware that the plan can be discussed together to instill that confidence. 

What should athletes expect of you? 

They should expect that I will be there for them and that I'm investing my time and my knowledge in them. And that I will do everything that I can and use everything that I know to get them to progress and reach the goals they want to reach. Also, that I will always keep learning and keep updating and upgrading my knowledge about coaching and training. And finally, athletes can expect that I am very happy to involve them in the process of figuring out the best plan forward if the athlete likes to be involved. 

What are your special interests or areas of expertise within coaching, training, physiology and sports science?

My special interest is actually mostly general sport science - how the body works, metabolism... The last few years I'm trying to really really understand this and understand how to create training based on the basics of how the body works. Another interest is the communication part and psychology part of coaching. I like to figure out how the athlete thinks? Coaching is about a lot more than creating sessions and training plans. There is also the much human side. Understanding the athlete and trying to build a good relationship. In this, communication is really important, and I try to dig deep into the athlete's mind and understand them to optimise how I communicate with the athletes. 

Describe your coaching in three to five words

One way of doing this is "One size doesn't fit all"...

But to list a few different words I have

  • Consistency
  • Specificity
  • Creativity
  • Communication
  • Long-term planning (if this counts as one word)

Schedule A Free Discovery Call

Interested in hiring David as your coach? 

Contact us here, or email mikael@scientifictriathlon.com and david@scientifictriathlon.com to set up a free, no-obligation discovery call with David to see if working with him seems like a good fit. 

David Dhooge at work

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