Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Athlete mentality versus coaching mentality...

My training partner is an amazing person, incredible athlete and a very knowledgable fitness coach and training partner. There is a difference in your mindset between being a coach and being an athlete. I think when you are in your athlete mindset you lose some common sense and want to push through and be tough. Nothing can stop you or you'll be a "wuss," as she puts it. Especially at her level, where she is at the top of the field in her sport. As a coach you are looking from the outside at the bigger picture and have a clearer view of things.

She injured herself yesterday...and it became obvious to me how clear my view as her coach was from hers as an elite athlete. During the workout she said, "I have been feeling run down, like I might be catching something." Hmmmm, should she be working out? She assured me that, "She knows her body better than anyone and she is fine." I let it slide, thinking "She's right, she knows her body", forgetting that she actually hasn't had a day completely off in 9 days because her athlete, do or die, mentality told her to go out and run 8 miles on her day off. Since when does running 8 miles = recovery? That's how she justified it to me- "It was an 8 mile recovery run." Interesting....

We continued through the workout and low and behold... during her last set of squats her back tightened up and she strained it. Her athlete mentality kicked in again...First she told me she wanted to finish the workout which included sprints at the track. Thank goodness, some of her common sense kicked in and she decided that wouldn't be smart. Then after she took some pain killers and the inflammation started to go down she said she was going to get a run in later...what?!?!?! This again is the "athlete, no common sense, suck it up- you wuss" mentality that is why every athlete needs a coach. And later that evening she called to say she would be fine to train tomorrow- "Nope you are taking the day off!"

Now I have been writing her training program and have even included regeneration workouts twice a week with foam rolling and stretching. She has been following my program religiously and has been a joy to work with because she follows everything to the "T" and the results have been showing. Just last week she said to me, "I just want to let you know my body feels better than it ever has. Your training program is working great. Thank you." Her training has been all coming together, she is running sub 7 min/miles which was one of the goals of the program, she has improved on her bike which also one of the goals and her swimming has maintained if not gotten a little better. She has had energy and has felt great to give it her all every single workout.

She is on track to win this half ironman.

So, obviously I take it personally when she gets injured to try to figure out what went wrong with the program- how could I have kept this from happening? As a coach the last thing you ever want is for one of your athletes to get injured. And I naturally start to take blame and want to fix the situation and figure out why it happened.

Then I remember again the 8 mile "recovery" run. So at this point of her getting injured she has trained straight through for 9 days and actually hasn't followed the program I wrote. Deep breathe...I feel a little better...we also had two very hard days of training this past weekend after her supposed "day off" and I am sure by this point her body is ready for a break. Guess what? Since she didn't give her body a break...her body decided to take one and now she will take a day off completely.

Lesson learned- Hopefully she learned that she needs a day off once a week. When I write a training plan, the days off are scheduled on there just as purposely as any workout. They are just as important to the big picture. I also learned that my view is more clear than I thought and I should listen to my instincts as a coach and tell her to stop training as soon as the first sign shows up. I admire her "athlete do or die mentality" but at this point in can do more harm than good.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Fail to plan, plan to fail!

I am a planner...I have always been a planner. I plan everything- I plan our dinners for the week, I plan my training schedule, I plan my nutrition out, I plan our vacations, I always like to have a plan in place. I drive my husband nuts asking him, "What's the plan for the weekend? What's the plan for tonight?..."

I strongly believe that if you fail to plan, you should plan to fail. But, I also know that things don't always go as planned. I have learned to handle it pretty good when they don't as long as I know what the new plan is :) I also don't always stick to the plan even though I always have a plan, I'll just come up with a new plan when I find myself not sticking to it!

For the past few months my training partner and I have been following a plan I came up with for us to follow for this California Half Ironman we are both doing. By the way she is going to win this race and qualify to go to the World Championships in Hawaii. So, I wrote this plan with her in mind, making sure she is ready to compete against the best in the sport and win. Needless to say this isn't an easy training schedule.This is the first season I have had a training partner to help me stick to my own plan and we have not missed a single workout.

This weekend was no exception. We had a Brick planned for Friday with a 30 mile hilly ride and a 30 minute run and then a strength training workout later in the afternoon. Saturday I was going to do my usual long run and Sunday we had a 50 mile long endurance ride and a swim.

Well, we decided to move things around some and put the run on Friday to space it out even more from the Half Marathon next weekend. Since we do our runs on our own, because we are at different paces(she runs a 7 min/mile and I run a 9 min/mile), this worked out better since she was going to be out of town on Friday.

Friday- Did my 8 mile run and averaged a 9 min/mile! I finished in 1:12. Last year I did the Half marathon averaging 9:33 min/mile so I should be able to beat that this year! I felt very good about this run!

Saturday- Wake up and we have a Brick planned to ride a hilly ride and then run 30 minutes but...it is pouring rain outside. Now my training partner lived in Minnesota, before moving back to California,where it rained more then it rains here so she always says- "We will never miss a workout because it is raining." So, unless she says we aren't going, we are going...

She calls and says- "What are we going to do about the workout, it looks pretty dangerous out there?" Alright, if she is saying this then we are not going. Time for a new plan! It is going to be hard to assimilate our hilly brick on an indoor trainer so I decide that we can easily do our endurance ride, scheduled for tomorrow, indoors because that means keeping our heart rate up for about 21/2 hours or 50 miles while riding a bike. This doesn't need to be done outside, although much more exciting outside! I knew this was going to be really boring and hard to do but we could do it and not miss a workout.

So, there we were on the indoor trainers pedaling away for 2 1/2 hours, sweat pouring off of us, going through water bottle after water bottle, towel after towel, song after song on my ipod....maintaining a heart rate around 150 and about 20mph speed we rode 50 miles in 2 1/2 hours. Because the bike is still and you are turning your legs over sitting in the same spot without any repreive, unlike outdoors, there tends to be more chafing. This wasn't pretty.

We made it...we did our 50 mile ride and lost probably 10 pounds of water in sweat. We were both wiped out! We went to the pool and did our swim in the rain which actually felt good. We did 3 x 600m. After a Surge Post workout shake and jacuzzi we were good as new....well, not really, I think we both went home and went to bed at 8pm.

Sunday was a new day and we were both praying for sunshine! We still had a brick to do. Woke up and it was drizzling still but we decided to head out anyway and stick to the bike paths where we wouldn't be in danger of a car fish tailing. People in California don't know how to drive in the rain. So, we rode 30 miles on the bike paths, not as hilly as originally planned but with our left over fatigue from the day before our legs were pretty tired by the time we got to our run. We both hit the pavement running after 30 miles on the bike, Erika covering just over 4 miles and myself covering just over 3 miles. Another good workout in the bank!

To finish the weekend off, we met later in the evening to get our strength training done. This took a half hour, we got it done, felt pretty good and felt great that we had stuck to our plan for the weekend and hadn't missed a single workout!

Can't wait to see what I put on the plan for this week!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Getting Psyched up to race next weekend!

Well, I am getting psyched up to run a half marathon next weekend. This is the same half marathon I ran last year so of course I have certain expectations on myself to beat my time last year. In this half marathon last year I ran a 9:33 min/mile pace finishing in about 2:05. This year I would love to finish in under 2:00 hours with a 9 min/ mile pace but that would be quite an improvement. I have been hitting the track once a week working on my speed along with one longer run a week. Today I headed out for my last long run before the half marathon next weekend and I ran 8 miles in 1:12! So I am right on track for my 9 min/mile! With a small taper this week and the race adrenaline I should be able to hold that pace for 13 miles. Or at least come pretty close. This race next weekend will give me an idea of how my run will be at the Half Ironman in 8 weeks. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Swam 12.6 miles, rode 250 miles, ran 54 miles...

Since my last post I have swam 12.6 miles, rode my bike 250 miles and ran 54 miles...so sorry I haven't posted, I have been busy :)

This past 3 weeks of training has been going really well. Along with doing all of the above I have also been making time for regeneration workouts including stretching and foam rolling, and I have been visiting an ART specialist. ART stands for "active release therapy" and is a type of massage that breaks up any scar tissue that may be accumulating. I haven't had any injuries just aches and pains especially after I finished my 15 mile run(now the farthest I have ever ran.) I have come to the conclusion that running is not good for you. My body feels like it has been beat up after I finish a long run. Will I ever get used to running 13-15 miles at once? We'll see...

I was originally planning to do the LA Marathon as training for my Ironman but I am also signed up for a Half Ironman 3 weeks after the LA Marathon takes place. After reading and talking to people about training for an ironman I have learned that doing a marathon doesn't benefit you at all in training for an Ironman because the intensity is so different. All I would accomplish by doing the marathon is losing a week of training before to taper for it, having the psychological edge that I have run 26 miles and losing a week of training following it to recover and hopefully I wouldn't get sick because something like 70% of people who complete a marathon get sick a week later because your immune system drops so much...told you this running stuff isn't good for you. The psychological part would be the only reason to do it but I don't think that is enough of a reason. I know I will complete the Ironman, there is no doubt in my head.

So I have decided I will focus on the first Half Ironman of the year which is the California Half Ironman, the same race I did last year. So I have to beat my time from last year of course. I am excited to repeat a race, I have never done the same race twice and I feel like I have an advantage going into this race already having done it a year ago. So last year I finished in 6:10 putting me in the top half(I was 37 out of 84 people). This year I want to get under 6 hours and ideally finish in 5:45! This would put me in the top 25 which puts me in the ballpark to qualify for the 70.3 world championships. Last year the girl who came in 26th at 5:54 qualified. Something to shoot for!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A New Year!

January is here! Time is flying by! I love January because in my industry, the fitness industry, it is when our job is easy and needed the most. Everyone is really motivated, all of your clients follow everything you tell them and therefore they all see amazing results and love you. There is always a lot of energy in the gym with new people signing up and old people back in feeling motivated. It is a lot of fun this time of year.

As far as my own training I am now a month into my specific training for my Ironman. I am 3 months away from my first race, the California Half Ironman. My training is going well. I had a great week of training this past week with a 13 mile run, a 40 mile bike and so far 4000m of swimming. I am getting my flip turns down and starting to feel like a swimmer. My body is feeling pretty good. I am doing a core workout where I do power two days a week in the gym and strength two days a week and then I take 2 days to do regeneration in the gym(foam roll and stretch).

I will keep you posted in the coming weeks as my training progresses. Tomorrow I have my first BRICK where I will ride about 20 miles followed by a 30 minute run.

Nothing to it but to do it! That has been my mantra...