Having the right coach makes a difference

coach11-640x250There are all different types of coaches, there are head coaches, assistant coaches, strength coaches, player-development coaches, conditioning coaches, mind coaches and many others.  If you are lucky you find the right coach to match the need at the point in time when that aspect of you needs direction.  I say this because my need for emotional balance was the driving force behind my decision to get a coach in the 1st place.  I interviewed a few coaches, mostly through email or over the phone and thought maybe this is not such a great idea.  Spending any amount of money for someone you have no connection with would be a waste of time and money.  But, just as I was getting ready to throw in the towel and go solo I took one last chance on Coach Sue. The conversation over the phone started out slow…Who is this woman?  What are her qualification?  Is she a triathlete..  Has she even coached before…did I get the second string coach?? (I was expecting to get a call from a man).  And then the magic began.. Sue-Sotir-270x250Hey she said, don’t think I’m staking you but I can see the races you have been doing over the past few years and you have done some good stuff..  (OK now I’m thinking, she has done some homework) …Then she said…Let’s meet for coffee and see how things go…  (Again thinking to myself, why not??  Wait is she interviewing me or am I interviewing her??) To make a long story short…within the 1st 15 minutes of meeting Coach Sue I knew dead on that she was the one that fit my long list of needs…  She came to the table in my mind highly qualified, super motivated and more importantly we connected…  I spent a long time after that wondering about the men vs women coaching thing.  I guess some people have a preference but even though all of the coaches I did not choose were men I really don’t believe gender played a part of my decision.  For years in the Marines I served under some of the most motivational Gunny’s and brother Marines that the Corp had to offer (and some stinkers too).  But the great ones were and are still rock solid mentors who I’d willing lay down my life for.   So I don’t have an issue with men or woman in leadership positions but there are a few elements that need to be present for me to connect.  A true “great coach” has to know, live, and understand the qualities the he/she is expecting of you. Coach Sue came with the full package there so, I feel lucky to have her on my team, which has grown to now include my wife Abby.  As my biggest fan she has stepped up to clear the deck so I can make the huge commitment to the time required to train.  With a 4 AM start on most morning she is a constant source of encouragement during the dark moments. Even Izzy (my youngest daughter) got into the game early on with videos of my swim technique to send the coach. That’s a long funny story for another day… So, it is really a good investment of time and money to get a good coach..  Having each week’s training customized for you keeps you focused, mentally stable (By now I’d be in the fetal position) and it gives you someone to focus your anger on when the workload seems impossible and to praise when you get it all done. Here is my custom game plan for next week’s race day, remember this is specific to me and my twisted brain housing group…  Note it is the last sentence that I think makes it Coach Sue perfect: Set everything up, check it twice, once you get your wetsuit on, warm up in the water for 5-10 min, including 3 :30 sec surges at or near race pace Bike: first 35-40 miles @ 70-75% FTP (165w -176w) focusing on cadence, rolling smoothly up the hills, hydration, and calories. This is going to be the hardest part, watching people crush past– so what? this is your day out, all about you. If you are feeling like the reigns are pulling you back, up the cadence/effort starting at 35 miles in…if you feel comfy and like you are in a zone, stay there for 5 more miles Last 21 or 16 miles @75%-85% FTP (176w – 200w), not crushing it, just a little extra pop, still remembering hydration/nutrition targets, the last mile do your best to spin easy, upping your cadence to 88-92 rpm, getting ready to transition.  Coming into the parking lot/transition area, the dismount line comes up fast! Knowing it is coming, be ready to get your shoes out of the clips and get ready to stop the bike. Gracefully swing your leg over the bike (haste not speed!), trot to transition, get your shoes on and roll out…. This is just like your long transition runs for the first 10m, HR sub 145, find your cadence, calories and hydration every 2 miles.  This is where the self talk will be critical– trigger words– cadence, light feet, smooth should come to the forefront when you start facing challenges– let the challenges flow, focus on the trigger words to quiet any other noise The last 3 miles– your discretion– I recommend each mile builds a bit in pace– picking one target at a time and hunting it down systematically, each mile just a tick harder …..Remember to show a Champion’s pose crossing the finish line…  I love that part…  Thanks Coach Sue


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