Friday, November 30, 2012

Top 15 Lessons From the Coach

These are in random order and based on my year's of experience as an athlete and a coach.  

1. Appreciate the good days. The one’s when your body feels “on” and your motivation is high. You know, those days when you feel like you are flowing. Don’t worry or beat yourself up on the days when you feel like your body has been put through the washing machine on high spin and your feeling out of sorts. If you didn't have those days, you wouldn't appreciate the good ones.

2. Cultivate support. Find a training partner or group that you really look forward to being with - one that leaves you feeling “high” after a workout, not just from the workout, but from being together and sharing in the experience.

3. If something hurts you when you start working out, and continues to hurt after 10 minutes - stop and go home.  Is it really worth the risk of long term damage to forge through?

4. Work on skills - always ... and be patient. Continue to be open to learning and trying new things. Do not fear challenging yourself in different ways. Part of the fun is overcoming the challenge.

5. Vary your workouts. Don’t get sucked into the notion that unless you’re not breathing hard, the workout isn't productive. A healthy diet means nurturing your body with a variety of nutrient rich, quality foods.  A healthy workout schedule means getting rid of “junk” workouts and replacing with a variety of purposeful ones.

6. Quality sleep is just as important, if not more than the training itself.

7. You can be the most fit person in a field, but without belief in yourself you’ll never reach your full potential.  Focus on yourself and your own performance and not what everyone else is thinking or your fears about what might happen in a race. 

8. Be competitive, but be kind.

9. Never give up on yourself. You have to be your own best friend and talk yourself 
through things sometimes. 

10. Make sure to incorporate fun workouts - such as a destination bike ride, hike or run. Take a few weeks of the year just to play and give your body a rest. Organize a game of Ultimate Frisbee or Capture the Flag. Put a bell and a basket on your bike and tootle around.

11. Find someone just a bit faster than you to push you a bit on those days you need to be pushed. Find someone slower than you to keep you honest on the easy days. 

12. Say thanks to those who show-up for those early morning workouts expecting to see you. Being accountable can be a great motivator.

13. Try not to test out new shoes, or a new bike or even a new swim suit for the first time in a race or long workout. It could be a very painful lesson. 

14. Whatever your goals are, have a thought out plan of action. It really does help keep you focused. Write down your vision or your goal in BOLD marker and keep it where you see it every single day.

15. If something stops being fun, it’s time to move on to something else or a sign to take a break or switch things up.  Don’t fight it.