Friday, August 20, 2010

Coaching is not about pushing harder....

So why do people hire a coach?  Get faster, stay motivated, qualify for whatever they are hoping to qualify for, finish a longer distance and the list goes on.  All of these seem like the reason is to get strong, faster, better...  Right?  Yes and No.

I recently met a triathlete who has a successful coaching business yet he is coached by another coach, I was confused- Upon hearing this I was taken back...I mean come on how credible can you be as a coach if you have to hire someone to coach you???  He took some time to explain it was not so much to write the plan, to tell him how far and how fast to go, but someone who would "govern"  him. Someone to guide him to not train himself into the ground, to look at the big picture, the long term etc.  I gave it some thought but was not totally buying it.  A few months later when I decided to get my coaching certification and launch into this exciting world, I let my coach know that I was going to give it a go on my own for two reasons....1- can I do this and 2- spending money to become a coach and paying a coach adds up fast.  He gave me a similar perspective that having a coach is not a sign of weakness but is having someone look out for you while you look our for others.

Okay.....I can accept wisdom from successful veterans in the sport, but well, when someones says the stove is hot, I can accept it but at some point I have to touch it- just to be sure.

So here I am ...... 7+ weeks away from my next Ironman and I am baked.   Tired ? yes.  Fatigued? yes.   Over trained? yes.  I even sought some guidance a week ago and it made great sense,...freshen up now and then do a final block of training before Kona.  The 12 day freshening up was condensed into 5  (because I am impatient and greedy) and nearly all my workouts this week were tough- and not because I am laying out searing splits, high power or the fastest 100's ever, but because I am tired.   I like to be tired, but not this tired.

I have crossed the line from good tired to over tired.   I realize I am teetering on the delicate line of injury, sickness or something that could truly sabotage Kona.   As I was running this AM, not feeling good I got tough with myself.  My body does not feel right and I need to fix that- doing a long ride tomorrow is not the way to make that happen.  Running long on Sunday is not going to make this better.

I cancelled my ride tomorrow, sorry Beth and Liz, and took all workouts off the table for the weekend.  I am taking this one day at a time.  Looking back the 4 days of freshening up were not freshening up (as KP pointed out) they were forced due to fatigue.  I needed the next 6 days to recover and then ease back into volume and intensity.  Looking back- had I done that - I would be fresh and ready to tackle a phenomenal weekend of training and then freshen up for Santa Barbara.

So now I am not following the well laid plan and am frustrated..... The good news- I figured it out now, nothing is injured and I have plenty of time to right this.

Do I need  coach?  Maybe, not ready to concede yet, more determined to figure this out.  I know where I erred so it is not that I don't get periodaztion and training volume, I just did not listen to myself.

So Day 1- serious recovery.   Woke up, walked (not ran) with Zen and will make it a focused work day for maybe play hooky and go to the beach with the kids!


  1. This is so well written, and I'm sure it took a lot of guts to admit this to yourself and the blog world. Thanks for sharing.

    As a coach/trainer, I realized this year I put way more time into my athletes and people I train instead of my own training plan. Maybe that's why I ended up injured... I plan on getting a coach in the future (once I get the funds haha). I don't think it's "wrong" for a coach to hire a coach because, like you said, there needs to be that outside person governing you while you handle your clients' well-being and the rest of your life. Having a coach doesn't mean you're unqualified to be coaching.

    I really hope you rest up well and recover before Kona!

  2. I hear ya! It's tough to impose rest and recovery on ourselves, but pretty easy to listen to a coach when he/she tells us to back off... When I was training for Kona in 2007 I got hit by car while riding and it forced me out for about 2 weeks (right around this time of year). I was devastated, but in the end I think it was a blessing in disguise because the forced rest was very much needed. Give yourself a break and you'll be fine for Kona. :)