One of the perks of being part of Evolve is the sharing that goes on between the coaches and athletes. We pride ourselves on staying current with cutting edge research as well as sharing personal experiences with the team – we try to do the leg work for our athletes when it comes to knowing the current best practices in addition to sharing frank conversations about training and racing and the highs and lows that come with it.
This past Sunday on New Year’s Day, I sent this out to the team and at the behest of some athletes who felt that this would benefit many, we are sharing this out with all of you! These steps apply whether you are coached formally or self-coached.
Good afternoon Team!
This morning while I was waiting for my husband to get home from running to go to get my workout in, I put down some steps or thoughts that I think can make 2017 your best year yet as a coached athlete.
While to most of you, I am a coach, or a coach of your coach, I also occupy the position of athlete as a coached athlete myself and thus I am intimate with all the joys and burdens that come with having a coach ;)
So here are some steps that I take each day and coincidentally these are the same steps that I see taken by many of you and are linked to how successful you all are. I think today is a good day to remind ourselves that the work of getting better is not complicated, it's just hard to do day in and day out. But by getting the basics right, we will all see improvement. You can't hack your way to better - you have to work.
1. Plan. When I get my schedule for the week (for me it's Sunday night), I look over each workout and make a plan for each day, how, when and where I plan to do each workout, the equipment I need, and I note the workouts that will be particularly challenging - not just physically but more so mentally. If I know I'm going to struggle with one workout and need more accountability I make a plan to meet someone. I always plan my run routes. I hate having to run in circles - I just want to go on auto pilot. I then stick to this plan. I might try to talk myself out of it on the drive to the pool, but I know that later for me most likely means never.
2. Log every day! This is actually where all the magic happens. I have a 920 xt, the garmin and Addaero apps on my phone, by the time I come into range post workout with my phone, my data is there. While I cool-down and stretch, I log. As an athlete I want my credit, I want to share my highs and lows, and as a coach, I know that it makes my coach's job insanely hard if I do not keep her abreast of my workouts. It is also a really powerful tool to be able to look back and assess where you have made gains. It is amazing how your crappy run today was your kick-ass run a few months ago.
3. Do the workout as written and when planned. Sounds simple, but skipping a warm-up, cool down, not abiding by the protocol etc. will only lead to problems down the line.
4. Communicate... often. The more I tell my coach, the more she can help me. Before I became a coach I used to worry that I was a burden to my coach, but now I know as a coach that the more I share with her the more my coach can help me. I want to hear from my athletes every day.
5. Sweat the small stuff!! This for me means daily PT, getting in my strength sessions, eating well, fueling well, and getting in enough sleep. You can pound out a million hours of punishing workouts, but if you fail to recover - then it will catch up with you. And the older you are the faster that catch up happens. Those who are the most successful in endurance sports are the most consistent in their training, this is hard to do if you fail to take care of the small stuff.
6. Be fearless. I know what happens when people (myself included) operate out of a place of fear. I spent many years working from a place of fear. I was afraid of failing at a workout, pushing too hard and not having enough later on in a workout. I was afraid of not being good enough or the best possible version of me. I used to get sick to my stomach before the start of many of my workouts - I was so anxious about what might happen if I did not make the time or numbers. It's still hard for me - if you have not raced in over three years, you know the fear of standing on a starting line if very, very REAL. I spent most of 2016 working on how to deal with my fears and anxiety and let those go so that I can approach tasks not from a place of fear, but from a place of joy and excitement. This is very much a work in progress, but I'm working very hard on this each day. It's part of my daily mediation routine to focus on letting go of fear.
7. Give less f*&ks (pardon the language) about others and more f*&ks about yourself. I know that sounds terrible, and I don't mean I want you to stop helping people and being kind. What I mean is that if we can cut out the noise that surrounds us, and the pomp that comes with this sport, then we can truly be our best. It's a competitive sport and thus it is natural to have competitive banter, but I work to know what and who will help me to be my best and who I need to limit in my life. I think being a New Yorker helps me in this.
8. And finally work on the things that are hardest. For me these are- relaxing, letting go, high cadence on the bike, stretching post run, less time worrying about the future and more time in the present. These are not small tasks, but I continue to plug away at them each day.
I'm sure there are more you can add to the list.
I wish you all a very Happy New Year. And I will end by saying that one thing I know to be true is that I am a way better athlete due to having all of you in my life! So thank you!
Let's crush 2017!