C.H.A.M.P. Consistency, the secret ingredient.
A few months back someone asked me what my coaching philosophy was. I don’t remember the answer I gave but I remember thinking it wasn’t as thorough of an answer as I would have liked. This caused me to do some deeper thinking on the subject. I spent some time doing some brain-storming and journaling. Eventually I condensed my philosophy into five key factors: Motivation, Health, Consistency, Accountability, and a (Training) Plan. The Scrabble player in me began to rearrange the letters when I noticed they spelled CHAMP. Seemed rather fitting!
Consistency is critical. The number one concern I hear athletes express is worrying about having the perfect plan tailored just for them. As I wrote in my first book, “Six-Word Lessons for Successful Triathletes: 100 Lessons for Essential Training and Racing” Lesson 9:
It’s the work, not the plan
Have you ever noticed when you ask yourself an open ended question your mind goes to work and brings forth answers? Sometimes the answers come immediately, sometimes they come to you while you are sleeping, sometimes they materialize in the world in the form of a coincidence.
Let me give you some examples. I've talked with many people who say to me, "I could never do a triathlon; I can't swim." Their brain receives that message loud and clear and turns its attention to something else. Compare this to the person who says, "A triathlon? Well, I don't know how to swim. I wonder if I could do a triathlon and if I could learn how to swim?" Now their brain begins to recognize opportunities to learn how to swim. Maybe it's a flyer posted on a wall for swimming lessons, maybe its at a party and someone is talking about their first triathlon and the person initiates a conversation inquiring how this other person did their first triathlon....
Oh me! Oh life! by Walt Whitman
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
One of my favorite movies of all time is Dead Poet's Society where I was first introduced to this poem written by Walt Whitman. Robin Williams' character brings poetry to life and the movie does a brilliant job of helping the audience feel poetry and by extension, life....
I'd love to encourage you and invite you to take a moment and think about what you can celebrate in or about your life right now?
People often focus on only grand accomplishments or moments to celebrate and miss the tiny, though extremely meaningful moments of everyday life. Sometimes the seemingly small celebrations, little joys here and there, the accumulation of micro-moments lead to incredible changes and a powerful perspective about your enjoyment of life. Perhaps you do have something monumental to celebrate and perhaps it's something seemingly small; either way take the time to celebrate it!
If you want to deepen your experience, do a little journaling. Write down the question, "What can I celebrate in my life today?" Then spend time writing down your answers. This will deepen your connection to the experience.
While you are either thinking or writing about what you can celebrate notice how you feel? Does the weight of the world feel a little less heavy? Does your mood...
This past weekend I completed Victoria 70.3 triathlon. In the week leading up to the race several people asked me if I was ready. While I was ready to finish I wasn’t ready to race; to push myself to my threshold. For a short time I even considered not doing the race and asked myself, “Why do I do this to myself?”
As I thought about my answers and my motivations for training and racing I realized that my fitness at this point is stronger because I had committed to the race several months earlier. If not for the race I would certainly have skipped several of the longer, harder workouts.
It dawned on me that regardless of my race performance I had already won.
Lesson #6 in my first book, Six Word Lessons for Successful Triathletes: 100 Lessons for Essential Training and Racing, is “Train to race, race to train.” Like most people I struggle with motivation and if left to my own devices I slide towards the...
Beginner Swimmers: Don’t Make This Mistake
Learning to swim well can be quite challenging as it is a technical skill. To a certain extent with other sports such as cycling and running improvements can be made simply by exerting more effort. But this approach backfires when applied to swimming. To swim more efficiently is not a matter of trying harder. Instead, swimming more efficiently (faster and with less effort) is about reducing the natural resistance of moving through the water. It takes technique.
The number one mistake beginner swimmers make is to swim “X” number of laps or for “Y” amount of time. The mindset around this type of training is understandable. You're concerned about maximizing your time in the water. Unfortunately, there are more drawbacks to this type of training than there are benefits.
Should the athlete be able to complete the distance of their intended race prior to race day? Of course!...
Many athletes are faced with the dilemma of training for an open water swim when they only have access to training in a pool. Either they live in an area with no ocean, lakes, or rivers that are swimmable or they are training for an early season race where the water temperatures for swimming in open water are simply too cold.
Get to the race a day or two early
If possible, get to the race site one or two days early and then go for a swim in the same body of water as the race and at the same. This way you’ll experience the most similar conditions as possible. Make note of the position of the sun to see if it will be directly in your line of sight limiting as most races begin at the break of dawn.
5 ways to use the pool
1. Same direction at the same time
Swim with a friend or better yet two in the same lane and have everyone swim together at the same time (not swimming circle as you might normally do). Having two...
Awhile back I was on a long run and as I neared the end and was battling the fatigue which typically occurs at the end of long runs, I experienced a light bulb moment. Whenever we are expanding our aerobic fitness, which is pretty much the point of a long run, there comes the moment when fatigue sets in to the point that we mentally and physically breakdown. While we typically don’t have a full breakdown there is almost always degradation, the degree to which can vary greatly depending on the athlete as well as the conditions of the run.
How much breakdown occurs is not the point. The point is regardless of the degree of breakdown, when fatigue sets in this creates a fantastic opportunity to work on and develop some key skills that will improve your racing whether it be in longer running races or triathlons of any distance. Triathlon running is essentially running fatigued due to the swimming and biking that precede it. Our tired long run form...
This past weekend I was at Ironman North Carolina & 70.3 with Team In Training, where I had the great fortune to coach 23 athletes. In the past month I've been priviledged to attend three Ironman events cheering on 49 athletes. I was in Madison, WI with Stoke Multisport and Louisville, KY and Wilmington, NC with Team In Training.
I've left each weekend feeling more inpsired and passionate about triathlon and life primarily because being on the course to witness athletes dig deep pushing themselves to their limit is incredibly powerful.
For all the athletes who were at these races or for anyone who's raced recently, I would ask you to take a moment and reflect on your race. What lessons did you learn or have reinforced that you can carry with you? How can your race experience serve you moving forward? What did you do well in your race? Too often we focus on what didn't go well. Regardless if you had the best race of your life or a...
Always Be Your Own Biggest Fan
My good friend Rose recently emailed me with her Six-Word lesson, “Be Your Own Biggest Fan.” Rose recently read my book and suggested this lesson for volume II. Here’s a little background on Rose’s sage advice. Several years ago we were up in Penticton for Ironman and listened to pro triathlete Lisa Bentley give a talk on how to stay motivated during such a long and mentally challenging race.
Rose recalls Lisa saying something to the effect of, “The day is long and things will not always go your way, and so you have to become your own biggest fan on the course. That you have to believe you can keep going, that being your own biggest fan keeps the cheerleader louder than the doubter.” Louder than the doubter! I love that. I might make it my new mantra. Thanks Rose and thanks Lisa!
I have several athletes that I coach that are about to take on Ironman Wisconsin in a...