360° of Training: Coaching and Life
So you’ve had the ‘nutrition’ talk with your coach. You’ve also had the ‘skipping workouts’ talk, usually followed by the ‘don’t try and make up workouts’ talk… that tends to flow into the ‘things you have no business doing’ talk. Yet, it never fails. You have the athlete who won’t eat, skips workouts, tries to pack in 2-3 missed workouts in one day and then decides they need to bite off a century ride when they’re not ready for it.
Many times athletes think they can do it and the coach will never know. And granted, you might get away with it here and there. But, here’s 4 criminal acts you’re not really getting away with.
Your body will adapt as long as possible but there will come a day when you bonk… and I mean HARD. And it won’t be on a day that makes sense with your plan. For some reason, that tempo run is just more than you can handle or that easy, aerobic spin set became the death of you. In that moment, your coach begins to evaluate what’s been going on. Almost all of the time, when you hit a wall like that, it comes back to nutrition.
Without nutrition, your body cannot rebuild itself. Training is one big effort to break down your muscles and rebuild them stronger than they were before. If you do not supply the body with the fuel it needs, not only will you NOT build the stamina, endurance and musculature that you need to perform, but your body will begin to fatigue and you’ll notice long term effects such as lethargy, lack of motivation, weakened immune system and cloudy thinking.
While body composition is a huge issue with women especially, it will be the Achilles heel for any athlete who thinks cutting nutrition will lead to a better body. You may lose mass, but it won’t be healthy for you or your performance.
Please, for all that is good in the world – fuel your body! You think your coach won’t know, but I promise, skipping on nutrition will always surface.
2. Skipping and making up workouts.
You may think your coach won’t notice that you didn’t complete a workout. You might think you can get away with doubling up or doing it later in the week, but there’s a catch here. It’s our responsibility to progress you through a plan that aligns with your goals. When you switch up workouts, miss them or try to make them up, you mess with your progression.
This typically shows up by a lack of consistency in data and feedback. We know what you’re capable of. We have certain parameters that we expect to get from your sets. Some of them we know will be challenging, others we assign for mental strength or confidence. By skipping and trying to make up a workout, you ultimately change the effect and desired result of that set.
Always check with your coach before you do this. Some days, it’s okay to skip that workout. There may have been external stressors that warrant an extra day off. Don’t think that your coach will be disappointed in you or angry. It’s our job to mold your plans according to all that life throws at you. Sometimes it may require a reconsideration of your goals and sometimes not.
Trust us when we give you a particular set. Give us a chance to rearrange your plan to stay consistent with the progression we have designed. We know you’re competitive. We know you want to get those workouts in. But, we know when you’re not following the plan. Don’t try to hide it!
Communicate and let us help you work through it.
3. Bending to temptation… biting off more than your coach wants you to chew.
You gave us specific goals. We designed a plan to get you there. Then your friends urged you to hop on their century ride. “Coach won’t find out.”
We always find out about that stuff. It’s a small world, even if your coach is half way across the country. When you tackle a workout outside your plan, you’re adding additional stress to your body. If we don’t know about it, we might not change that crazy hard set we had for you the next day, that’ll you’ll end up doing and then tearing up your knees or pulling a shoulder because you’re working under excessive fatigue that we hadn’t calculated in.
In a word, this is ‘dangerous’.
If you are being coached, there’s a certain amount of trust and communication that must exist between you and your coach. If you think your coach isn’t doing a good job, have a heart to heart. Maybe there are expectations not being met in one or both parties. This is important!
There are some athletes who feel they need to create their own plans. If that’s you, then spending money on a coach may not be in your best interest. However, if you need that accountability, guidance and encouragement, then communicating with your coach is paramount.
You might be surprised to find out that your coach thinks that century ride is a fantastic idea and your plan can be arranged to accommodate it. But the last thing we want is an injured athlete and this is a common occurrence in those who put more stress on their bodies than they should.
4. Lastly, priorities.
There’s a lot of guilt that surrounds this topic. Guilt when you can’t get a workout done. Guilt when you have to take time away from your family to get a set in, once again. Guilt when you tell your coach why you couldn’t do a set.
This is an unhealthy feeling. The bottom line here is this: You make time for things that are important to you. When something is a priority, you will find a way. That does NOT mean that the things you choose to do shouldn’t be done.
For example, it’s your wife’s birthday and you spent the day with her instead of doing your set. I’d say that’s pretty important. Or you’ve been gone all day at work and your children crawled in your lap begging for attention. Another great reason. Post Ironman blues. You finished your 140.6 and now you just can’t seem to find the “umph” you had before.
There are a million wonderful, beautiful reasons why you might not be motivated to workout like you once were. Yet, you continue to string along your plan and make good intentions to get to your sets, trying constantly to justify to your coach why you couldn’t get it done.
There is a season for everything. If you have other things in your life that take priority over a training plan, then we understand that working out may not make the cut. When you try so very hard to convince us that you can and will get to it, after “x, y, z”, you’re really trying to convince yourself. We already know.
Instead of allowing guilt and shame to creep in, be honest. Talk with us about what’s going on. If we can’t work something out that is feasible with your schedule and your priorities, then it might be a good time to stop stressing over training and give that energy to those things that are priorities in this season. That could be family, a career, an injury.
We know when you’re struggling with making training a priority. We aren’t here to judge you, we’re here to help you.
So, really, there’s no need for the guilt and shame. You just want to do well, enjoy life and all it has to offer. Sometimes you might not handle it the best, but that’s why we’re here in a relationship: to communicate, to compromise, to learn and to grow.
I promise you, at iTRI365, we are proud of every single one of our athletes. We’re proud of the ones who know it’s time to set aside their training plan. We’re proud of the ones nailing them. We’re proud of the ones who struggle but still push through.
We’re even proud of the ones who think they’re getting away with all the above ‘criminal acts of training with a coach’. I’m calling you out though. And I’m doing it because you’ve trusted a coach to get you where you want to be.
Multisport Coach at iTRI365