I was thinking back on the accomplishments of several of my athletes this year, and I am truly impressed by their fortitude, the challenges tackled and the overall WOW-factors. I honestly love hearing the stories shared about their successes, as well as those that they gained so much from. And I am humbled.
As I write this, my intent is not to solicit coaching from you, but to share some insights.
*I fail quite frequently as a coach —- at times I am distracted, late to respond or at a loss for words — but I genuinely want you to succeed in your goals.*
I have been reflecting on the need to be coached at least once in our athletic careers, and coached or mentored in other aspects of our lives. I have recently been approached about receiving life coaching or coaching in goal setting and plan writing, and I am honestly resistant to the prospect. Because for lifecoaching, I am not sure I want someone wading around in my muck. I appreciate the good intentions, but I am not prepared for what it entails. And so, I digress…….. the point is, I understand resistance to being coached. I had one friend say to me, but I want to do my own thing! And a coach may take that away. (Some coaches write days in where you the athlete choose the how, within the confines of the what, providing freedom. For example: swim x – your choice).
My story takes us to a conversation with an athlete who completed her first half-iron this fall, transitioning from short-course to long-course. A seasoned runner, and relatively new triathlete, I worked with her improving her swim confidence to handle the longer swim and develop open-water techniques to make her more competitive. I was comfortable with her working with her husband in developing an overall training plan but was open to providing insights and answering various questions.
She shared that she was NOT prepared for the hills in this race. Let’s face it —Houston is flat, and at sea-level. We have issues with hills and altitude. Her race was in the Hill Country. And so her biking was a challenge come race time.
While she was thrilled with her performance, and completion of the first half-iron, I pondered as a coach how this could have had a different or stronger outcome. The coach should investigate the course and determine strategies for training. If implemeting the use of a trainer and a power meter, creating ride profiles within wattages can create strength for the hills of the ride, while complementing the endurance needs of the race. The coach could provide strategies to tackle the hills in the race, when to drive, when to settle, and how to do these. And the coach would teach decision making for race day, so the athlete can be prepared for the unexpected.
Granted this particular athlete does not have a trainer or power meter, and is not ‘serious enough’ to make that financial investment. A coach may have taught her how to use a weekly indoor ride (on a spin-bike) to generate the same type of results.
The coach should also be able to discuss nutrition and race day decisions about hydrating and nutritional needs, or have someone to refer.
The coach can answer tough questions, provide insights and motivation, possibly direct for strength or resistance training as part of a warm-up or cool-down.
And the coach may become a friend.
I am here to assist when you are ready to make the commitment.