Thursday, February 12, 2015

Coach's Corner: Remember to Enjoy It

Most of you are probably not familiar with Brett Sutton, and you'll likely never hear his name come up in conversation. He's a triathlon coach, known for pushing his athletes really hard, his occasionally abrasive personality, and his nearly indecipherable language skills. He's coached some of the world's top triathletes to amazing results, while others have not responded as favorably to his program.

His CV is neither here nor there; the only reason I bring it up is because I think his recent post, Triathlon Training: Consistency vs Adaptability, is something we should all take a couple of minutes to read and absorb.

Here are a few of the main takeaways:
  • Being hyper-focused on achieving our sporting goals can have a negative impact on us, particularly if it's causing anxiety.
  • Consistency is important, but adaptability is the critical element in a training plan.
  • Missing a training session (or two) has no negative effect on the long term plan, and that "pushing through" offers little to no benefit.
  • Don't cram missed sessions in elsewhere.
The last paragraph really struck a chord

[Don't] be slaves to anything. Enjoy your chosen sport. It’s a great one. But to be successful you need to work with your circumstances, not fight them. Because if you’re fighting them they’ll eventually win and one day you’ll be with a group of people and the subject of triathlon will come up and you will say, ‘yeah, I used to do that!’ instead of still enjoying your hobby.

I'll be the first to admit I'm guilty of this. I've treated this sport - which is a hobby I choose to do - as if it were the only thing in the world. I've tied my self-worth to it, I've been depressed because of it. I've felt like a piece of shit for missing an arbitrary training session and have used the words "I have to do XX" more times than I would care to count.

I bring this up today because I see a lot of people heading down that same road - and sometimes we need to hear it more than once, and from people other than our friends and training partners. The cool thing is, none of us is every going to make our living solely from racing and training, so that's one less thing to worry about!

If you're not enjoying what you're doing - don't do it!

It's great to have goals; I have plenty. It's important to have them, and to challenge yourself to be the best you that you can be. But you've got to be reasonable, too. Beating yourself up because you didn't hit an arbitrary time goal for your hobby just isn't productive.

Like Coach Sutton says, there's consistency, and there's adaptability. Every workout/session should have a purpose. It's good to be consistent, but missing a session isn't the end of the world - nor should you cram to make it up. If you wanted to run 6 miles today and you ran 4, don't tack on 2 extra miles to your run tomorrow. They're gone. Let it go.

And if you want to go to a happy hour, or hit the Tiki Barge, or shoot just want to take a nap after work one day - do it. If you feel it's more productive for you to do that than burn another match and put yourself in a hole, who's stopping you?!

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