Weekend Reading: The Results that Matter Most

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about results. The week started with a flood of reports about athletes winning everything from the Women’s pro race at Bonelli Park (Katerina Nash) to the Vuelta El Salvador (Mara Abbott) and Sean Henderson winning his first-ever bike race as a Cat 4 at the Wards Ferry Road Race. And in the middle of the week I heard that the athletes in the indoor trainer class in Colorado Springs had made huge improvements in their field test results. All the while I’ve been in Hawaii coaching one of my athletes at a private camp and I’ve been impressed with the progress he’s made over the past few months. Coaching is a result-driven activity, whether the athlete is competing or pursuing person goals that have nothing to do with competition, so it’s been a very satisfying week to see so many athletes making measurable and impressive progress.

Around this time of year, some athletes start to feel trapped. The decisions made in the winter, either due to time constraints or the weather or myriad other factors, lead some athletes to feel like the train has already left the station and it’s too late to get started with a focused period of training. Let me set the record straight: it’s not too late.

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Even if you feel like you’re behind in your preparation, like you’re too slow or too heavy or too out of shape to have a successful this summer, it’s not too late. It’s only the middle of March. There’s plenty of time to get your fitness on track and have a great season. That doesn’t mean you should wait any longer, but you also shouldn’t feel discouraged or compelled to lower your expectations.

The best story I heard all week – and the most inspiring performance I heard about – came from our Sales Manager, Dominic Guinto. If you call CTS to talk about signing up for coaching or a camp, or you’re a CTS Athlete with a question about your membership, there’s a good chance you’ll talk to Dom. He’s relatively new to CTS, and like most new employees he was provided with a coaching program so he could have an authentic experience with the service we provide. So Dom’s been working with a CTS coach for about 4 months, and early on he decided to race the True Grit 100-mile mountain bike race, which was held last weekend.

Dom finished dead stinking last at True Grit. He was flirting with the cutoff times and suffered like a dog. But he stuck with it, dug deep, and finished. The course for True Grit is a technical mountain bike course that challenges a rider’s skills as well as his aerobic fitness, and because of the 2-loop nature of the course it also gives athletes a convenient means of dropping out.

More than a third of the field dropped out of True Grit, but Dom didn’t. He dropped his water bottle in a technical section of the course, didn’t realize it until quite a while later, and still he refused to quit. He fought his way through battering headwinds, but he didn’t drop out.

In light of the number of victories and podiums earned by CTS in the same weekend as True Grit, you might wonder why I find Dom finishing dead last inspirational. It’s inspirational to me because when the going got tough, Dom had the tools to work through the problems and keep moving forward. That’s not the product of a training program, that’s the product of coaching.

Some people believe that the podium is the only outcome that matters, but anyone who believes that is viewing sport through too narrow a lens. What matters is building the tools necessary to be successful – things like fitness, nutrition strategy, mental fortitude, self-awareness, and problem solving. When you develop those tools, in time the results will follow. You will be the best athlete you’re capable of being, whether that puts you on the podium or not.  And at the end of the day, being the best athlete you can be is the measure that makes all the difference.

Have a great weekend!
Chris Carmichael
CEO/Head Coach
Carmichael Training Systems

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