The coaching world has a HUGE PROBLEM.
It happens in swimming, triathlon, running, cycling, weight training, fitness….. almost every sport.
It ruins athletes, breaks down their motivation, and destroys seasons.
The problem is that coaches design programs around them not you, the athlete. Even if you are self coached, you are not immune.
Many coaches design their program based on their own ego. They give you splits to hit based not on your current fitness levels, but on what they think you should hit. They design workouts and training programs not on where you are as an athlete, but on their own preconceived notion of what an athlete should be able to do. And the worst part? If you do not hit those times and are not able to do those workouts, it’s your fault!
You can fall into this trap even if you are self coached. Many self coached triathletes and swimmers have these false conceptions about what a “good training program should be” and times that a triathlete should have.
Have you or your coach ever said:
- “You should train X hours a week to be successful”
- “You should be swimming X times on these repeats….”
- “Every other workout needs to be HARD for me to get better”
How did it make you feel? Downcast? Like you never will get there? Not to mention that you left most workouts feeling like a failure because you were not able to hit the times, splits or even complete some workouts, which is a huge problem if you want to be successful.
One of the main reasons that programs, like the TSC Success Plan and The Fit Triathlete, live up to their name and are successful programs is because they put you, with all your current strengths and weaknesses, at the center of the program. Whether you start at a 2 min/100 or a 1:20/100 you should be able to adapt the program to you.
So how can you start being athlete centered even if you are self coached? Follow these 5 steps:
- Accept where you are and embrace it. If you are going to be training, you are starting on a transformational journey, on which is does not matter where you start it, but rather where you “end.”
- Start training from this beginning and push yourself just a little bit each time. Instead of setting inappropriate splits, set your splits to where you are then modify from there. So, if your cruise pace is 2:30 per 100, stick with it and let your paces come down naturally with training.
- Create a workout and nutrition plan that you can stick with. It is ok to have lofty goals of swimming, biking, and running 6 times a week. But most of the time those plans are unachievable because of limitations with your life. Instead of leaping straight into that training program and forcing it, make small changes that you know you can hit like getting to the pool an extra time each week and sticking with it. Once, you achieve it and it has become natural then add on one more goal, master it, and repeat.
- Approach your progress or obstacles with a sense of curiosity instead of morality. If your training plan falls through, instead of saying “I’m a failure” say “I wonder why this happened.” Get to the root cause, make adjustments and carry on.
- Be aware of the changes. I see this a lot with swimmers. They train for weeks and weeks and they get “only” get 5 s faster but they fail to see the major gains that they have made else where like the ability to swim 200 straight without stopping instead of gasping after a 25. Or that they are no longer tired after a workout. If you follow an athlete centered plan then change will happen and you must savor each part of that change.
So if your coach (or your inner coach) has a big ego and their program is more about them than you, you need to switch to “Team You.”