Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Power of Coaches...

I was thinking on my run yesterday how things are different on my "own," training plan versus "Lovato" training and I have a lot of people who ask me why I train with a coach and what the benefits are--for me--obviously I love working with Amanda, we've become close friends and no matter what anyone says--I think in order for an athlete/coach relationship to mesh well, you do have to trust your coach enough as a confidant in some ways on a personal level because that is such an integral part of "the circle of trust" (so to speak) =0 (not to get all Meet the Fockers or anything) but, it's true--we work best and we mesh the easiest with people we get along with.

When I started out working with Amanda, I was intimated, not from a personal standpoint, but from a "wow, I have a coach, I had better seem like I have it all together,"..when in all actuality, I was doing the opposite of what I needed to do.  The first year we worked together, I was "mostly" honest about how I was doing in training...but I neglected to tell Amanda I was struggling with Patellar Femoral Syndrome, Plantar Fasciitis and stomach issues.  When did I finally come clean?? Two days before Ironman Florida.  Imagine Amanda's surprise as we sat down to have breakfast two days before my "A" race...."MER!! Why didn't you tell me this, we could've adjusted your schedule? I feel awful--we could've done things differently and had you try resting, etc".  I realized that by not being honest with her and with myself--and I was so worried she would think I wasn't pushing through workouts that I missed out on some quality training (or downtime).  The next year before Ironman Arizona, I vowed to tell her everything, the good, the bad and the ugly.....the thing is, you have to TRUST your relationship with your coach and they have to trust YOU.  That means if you're supposed to be running for an hour and you only ran for a half hour because your stomach was bothering you, or you were just plain too tired to run...TELL them.  They can't read your mind (especially Amanda being in Boulder..osmosis only goes so far right? =0).   It's to your benefit to be honest with your coach and it helps them actually learn more about you.

Now for example, if I tell Amanda something is "off," or not quite right....I know that *she* knows i'm not trying to get out of a workout, and she takes it super seriously----and you know what, if I was too tired----I would tell her and she'd say "ok, day off...feet up."....or she'll switch out a long run for an easy swim.

So, back to the initial question of--why do I work with a coach?? Well, I don't work with just "anyone," --Amanda and I's relationship is a product of a few years now of working through kinks and developing a good rapport---and her approach to coaching and her empathy and compassion for wanting ME to do well and me valuing her experience, thoughts and knowledge within triathlon and sport in general.  I chose to work with Amanda prior to Ironman Florida because I knew doing an Ironman was a "big deal," and I knew I wouldn't trust myself to "train on my own,".....hence, I did some thinking and searching and met up with Amanda and the rest is sort of history.  I thought at the time I was only going to do one Ironman (don't we all?), so I decided I was going to do it and do it "right."  No messing around, no "what if's." 

What happened?  Well, I have always said I hated Ironman training (not necessarily swim/bike/run, but the duration of Ironman training is, you know, I just love Amanda's approach to training and I truly love working with her--and how she's willing to adjust/fix just about anything to help me make my goals happen.  So....after IMFL..I decided "what if I went just a little harder?".  Naturally, Amanda and I worked together again for Ironman Arizona.  Arizona was particularly awesome because she was at the race and we were able to really spend time together before, during and after the race --it was amazing to have her "right there!" awesome memory.  It was also a little bittersweet for me, because I knew it would be my last Ironman for a while because I was really ready to start our family...but I told Amanda I would be back in action as soon as I could----though I'm not quite sure she thought I would come back to a coaching environment after having a little one----we would always remain friends either way.  That brings us to now----  

Year after year, i've watched myself grow with having an amazingly supportive coach, and although my season will be a little shorter these days since having little Soren---I still want Amanda's advice, support, butt-kicking and compassion.....and I just realized that while doing triathlon, I enjoy having a coach who pushes me harder than i'd push myself and someone who can help me grow and improve!

So, in a nutshell, the reason I have Amanda is more then just wanting someone to kick my butt----it's really a combination of building a relationship and having the support of an expert and someone who wants to help you succeed in your goals.  And if you're lucky enough as I have been to find a friend in the process---all the better! 

This season will be a little bit of trial and error i'm assuming, figuring out what works for me in terms of scheduling with Soren and what works for a solid racing year----and i'm excited to see what Amanda has in store for me...starting TOMORROW!! =0


ADC said...

It's so exciting finding out what your workouts are, isn't it. I get excited every week when Jen post them into TP. Enjoy the training.

Jilian said...

good post. I'm going to share it with Todd as I gifted him 3 months of coaching for Christmas. He's had his eyes on the local Mountains of Misery (cycling - 104 miles, with 10,000′ of climbing) and I thought coaching would be great as he just goes out and 'bikes' right now. I know he'll learn a ton about cycling and training in general!

Dave said...

Glad to see you're excited about this season! Welcome to the fun that is TP. :)

Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

and the adventure continues....yeah!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

WOO HOO!!!!! YEA - I am SO excited for you! I know that you and Amanda have such a great relationship - and I totally agree on the coaching principles. YES!

I love that 'Circle of Trust'. Fantastic :)

Can't wait to hear all about the training! YEA!!!

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jessithompson said...

Great post about the power of working with a coach!