I thought I would follow up on my previous post with a bit of specificity in regards to what can be done at the pool to become a better swimmer. When I look back to my beginning days in the pool, 25 yards was a challenge and I would simply swim back and forth. I wasn’t sure what the pace clock was, nor how to use it. I had no clue about lane etiquette and thought I had to look pretty to swim fast. Continue reading
We’ll be publishing weekly here at NWT, with the long term goal of publishing daily–start small and finish strong!
One of the best ways to improve at almost anything is to work the weakest link within the set of skills required to be good. For triathlon, we tend to keep things simple and focus on swim, bike and run. That seems easy enough, but before we put the bike away for a couple of months and set off for 50 mile run weeks, are we actually sure what makes up our true limiter? Continue reading
As the team I coach begins to grow, it is important to surround my crew with other advisors they can learn from. Initially, when an opportunity for growth presents itself, one needs to be careful not to focus that growth directly on the interest of the business. Having spent over a year with Endurance Corner, the first thing I learned was always add value to the team; a direct result of that is a value to the business through retention. Focus on them. Continue reading
Eventually we learn the #1 limiter facing improved performance is consistency. I talk to lots of folks about performance within the AG ranks, and I’m amazed at the amount of people who feel genetics is the main limiting factor. Few realize you have to train nearly every day for years before your genetics begin to hold you back.
Once consistency is established, (and consistency is 1-2 hours a day, EVERY day of s/b/r), the only thing that matters is specificity to your goal event.
This past weekend I raced (participated?) in a cyclocross event. Locally, folks will accuse me of having a leg up genetic wise, which makes me smile since I know my background. Anyway, to make a long story short, I got my ass kicked. This is OK, as it showed some weaknesses. The other thing this highlights is while consistency is extremely important, without specificity to your goal event, you will get beat badly.
If you are one my athletes, you learn this really quick. Couple of my guys are training for an IM, and when I said no to a marathon in the same 12 months as their IM, I received some blank stares. Simply put, (after the recovery cost) the training for a marathon is not specific enough to an IM, and there is little bleed over. A marathon trains you to run 26.2 miles fast. If you’ve ever run an IM marathon, fast is not how one would describe it.
“But we do this for fun!” This is a common response when I say no marathon.
Well, you certainly do not need a coach to have fun, and if fun is your goal I suggest you consider not hiring me. Fun is a real time thing; you are either having fun or you are not. You do not train to have fun. You train to win, to beat others or yourself. So, while having fun is a very good goal and one I respect; I do not think you need to pay money to a coach to have fun.
The process of training and competing can be an enjoyable one; in fact I hope it is or you will not get very far. However, if you are going to go through a process and hire someone to guide you through it, I hope fun is not the primary goal.
Back to specificity.
If you want to be the best basket weaver you can be, you weave baskets.
To be your best, this is all that matters–establish consistency and then the closer your A event gets, the more specific your training becomes for that event.
It is very difficult to train for more than 1-2 A races per year when they are the same event, but it can be done! Imagine trying to train for multiple events within one year…! Not gonna happen (to your best ability)unless you have a genetic edge and/or YEARS of endurance training.
In order to stay sane and have fun (I do allow you to have some fun), insert some races that do not require specific training to finish without killing yourself (CX, 5ks/10ks/Master swim events). However throughout the year, what you do during the week should be based on consistent training and specificity to your goal event. So, you have to be OK with being OK at these fun events, as you will not be specifically trained for them.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with running a marathon and an IM in the same year if fun is the goal. It only becomes a problem when you are dissapointed with the result of your IM and continue to train for 2 events every year; thinking it is the solution to being faster at IM.
Consistency, then specificity.
This post is long over due. I’ve been meaning to properly introduce NWT Coaching to the blogging world, and have only now had the chance to do so.
At first, I was fearful of getting into coaching. Then I realized that fear was based on the criticism that is eventually going to come. I had the chance to read some excerpts from the work of a mentor, and this passage caught my eye, “put yourself out there, and let the market determine if your experiences and knowledge have value.”
Wow! Great advice, and once again I see why it makes sense to surround myself with people like him.
The criticism comes with whatever we do. Don’t let the fear of this fact cloud your vision of what really matters: being happy while helping those who ask. If the market responds, and you are happy in real time–go with it!
I’ve had the chance to speak with a few folks about where I plan on taking coaching, both from a short term and long term view. First, thank you to those that have reached out and to those who have helped take some ideas to the next level.
NWT Coaching, or NorthWest Triathlon Coaching, is a small group of like-minded athletes looking to improve at the HIM and full IM distance. Quite often when I say NorthWest, people have mentioned that NorthEast may have been a better name, geographically speaking. I can agree with the initial reaction, so let me explain….
I’m a finance guy, and in the finance world, you can plot your performance along what is known as the Efficient Frontier. I’m not going to bore you with the details of that, but basically if you plot the performance of a portfolio into a graph of four quadrants, with the y-axis being performance and the x-axis being risk, you can determine where you lie on this frontier. The further up and to the left you are, the better.
The ideal area to be in is the northwest quadrant, where you take the least amount of risk and get the most return.
I feel that one of the most important aspects of my job as a coach is to tailor a training plan that includes the appropriate level of intensity and volume (risk) to get you the most performance on race day (return). I believe that the average age group triathlete is living in the southeast quadrant–taking too much risk, and thus, consistency suffers and performance diminishes.
At NWT, the mission is to shift the focus of the athlete; to introduce them to true pace and beneficial amounts of intensity and volume, and allow performance to increase. A website is currently being developed where a user forum will be used for team interaction, in addition to regular direct contact. Look for that soon at http://www.nwtcoaching.com/
Over time, other people within the local community who appreciate our vision of team learning will be added to the group. They may not be part of the coaching team, but they can help our athletes improve. The main ideal you will discover within our group is quite simple: Everyone is concerned with making each other better, as much or more than they are themselves. As a result, that is what we become.
NWT Coaching is a small group of like-minded athletes looking to improve at the HIM and full IM distance.
For more information on coaching services, please click the “About” page above where you can read a bit more about who we are. Feel free to contact us for additional information.