At a recent regional Olympic distance triathlon, open water currents and course issues made the swim portion of the race take much longer than is normally expected. When one of our clients came out of the water, she looked at her watch and we could instantly see that she was dejected. Her time was over six minutes longer than she had hoped even though she was one of the first women out of the water. In a very well attended and “important” event such as this, being at the pointy end of the race was very impressive, no matter what the time.
When what she thought was becoming a bad race was combined with the cold temperatures and driving rain, the fire in her eyes quickly faded. This could have been a difficult day for all involved but she was able to regain her wits and save her podium position.
One of the most difficult things to coach is self motivation. Defined as “the initiative to continue a task or activity without another’s prodding or supervision” it would be easy to think that athletes can only be born with such inner drive. Taking anyone off of the streets and helping them to reach those high standards or complete such a difficult accomplishment as a triathlon would itself be difficult otherwise.
Every day we ask our clients or ourselves to get out of bed before dawn for those long runs or swim classes, to join the local group bike ride in the afternoons and make it to the gym during lunch. When preparing for a long season or long distance endurance event, these personal sacrifices are almost mandatory. Something has to help athletes gain that motivation.
Narcissistic words such as self-confidence and self-awareness are important parts of becoming motivated. If the athlete has the knowledge that they can achieve a certain effort or distance, it instantly gives them that confidence and awareness and that helps get them through the rough spots and bad weather. No longer are they whispering “I think I can;” they are screaming “I know I will!”
Without sounding too preferential, TrainingPeaks is a fantastic tool to help with this process. The structure of a schedule or plan given by the coach is a great way to build a client’s fitness level and preparation towards an event or goal. Then, the ability that the client has to provide feedback about those workouts and track and gauge their fitness and abilities also helps. When the athlete downloads their workouts, fills in such information as sleep habits, body composition and time worked out, they can see tangible proof that they are finishing their workouts and that they are truly getting fitter.
Now that the seasons of most traditional endurance sports are drawing to a close, using a structure training plan is even more important to help fight the doldrums of winter and the potential monotony of indoor training exercises.
Almost everyone responds well to structure, no matter what their core beliefs about the subject. Utilizing the experience and knowledge of a coach to help reach a goal combined with the organizational help of TrainingPeaks makes those goals and races all the more attainable.
Sign up for a TrainingPeaks account today: get motivated to stay on track with your fitness!