You’re a smart person and endurance training isn’t rocket science. To be perfectly frank, you could probably figure out most subjects if you had the time and motivation to do so. So we understand if you’re looking at a bunch of training manuals, websites, and magazines and figuring you can handle this training thing on your own. But as good as you are on your own, here are 4 important things most athletes are not very good at.
#1 – Holding Yourself Accountable
Even the most self-motivated stickler for structure benefits from accountability. When someone is waiting to ask you why you skipped your workout or bailed on the last interval, you’re more likely to get it done. This shouldn’t be viewed punitively, but rather that we are in this together: Coaches use their time and experience to design a pathway that will lead you to success. For it to work we need you to do your part, which means doing the workouts, eating right, going to sleep, and communicating frequently.
#2 – Remaining Objective
The impact of training changes an athlete’s interpretation of the facts. In other words, being tired from training changes your outlook on what you should do tomorrow, next week, and next month. But your training doesn’t make your coach tired; we remain objective about what aspects of your training need – or don’t need – to be adjusted. Over the years we’ve seen – even with the advent of improved analysis tools – an unbelievable number of self-coached athletes derail their training just before they would have seen tremendous results. For endurance athletes, the most important time to stay the course is often the time when the urge to change course is greatest. A critical eye and an objective voice are incredibly valuable at that moment.
#3 – Seeing the Big Picture
For athletes the Big Picture encompasses events later in the season, the trajectory of your athletic career, the impact of your training on your relationships and job, and your overall happiness. Your commitment to training and goal events is laudable, but sometimes you get so wrapped up in the details of this week that you don’t see potential consequences waiting for you down the road. That’s not a failing on your part; it’s the nature of training. We want you to be focused on right now and the details of the days ahead, and part of our job is to help you see the big picture so you can make decisions that are good for your performance, your relationships, and your career.
#4 – Interpreting Training data
Yes, we know you have a Trainingpeaks account and have read a lot some books. We have Turbotax and a bunch of finance books, but that doesn’t make us CPAs. We’re not saying you can’t analyze your data well; we’re saying we interpret your data with more context and experience. We’ve looked at a lot more data over a lot more years, encompassing a lot more athletes. In most areas of your life you seek experience and expertise when it comes to analysis. Think about your choices in doctors, lawyers, accountants, and even auto mechanics. Apply the same rationale to training, especially since it’s something you’re passionate about, invested in, and spending a lot of time and money pursuing.
You know the number one response we get from new athletes when we ask, “What made you decide to get a coach now?” They say something to the effect of, “I’ve thought about it several times, but never done anything about it. Now I’m ready to get started.” You’ve probably thought about it, too. It’s time to get off the fence and get started with a coach. If you’re like most athletes we work with, after about 60-90 days you’ll look back and wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner.