Are You a Good Student?
Getting the most out of your coach is YOUR responsibility!
I have seen many articles and blog posts in my day about what makes a good coach. What he/she should be doing, not doing, and for the most part, they are all pretty valid. The topic is also one sure to attract lots of attention. Picking a coach is tough.
But what about being a suitable and good client? In my many years coaching I have seen such promise in athletes that simply was never tapped into. Now that you have done your diligent searching, interviewed your possible coach and asked them the big 10 questions and are under way. How do you get the most out of your coach? Guess what, it’s your responsibility!
Do the work and do it right.
It’s your fitness, it’s your big race, your goals, and your body. You have to work hard, get up in the morning and follow the plan you and your coach set out to do.
You need to have a common understanding of where you’re going. You don’t say to your buddies “lets go to the movies! Sweet see you there.” You usually discuss what movie, what time, what day, what theater!!?! For those of you that hired a coach, said, “I want to do IM lake placid” and off you went… its likely you and your coach are on a different page. Have a long talk with your coach about the BIG PICTURE. This conversation should boil down to training phase’s, month to month, week to week and then, the day to day.
3 Keys to knowing your workout:
Before my clients do any workout they need to know 3 things. If you (the athlete) don’t know these, you need to ask!
1) How to do it. “3×15’ in zone 4 with 4’ rest” can be done a few ways. Uphill, flats, rd bike or TT bike. After a warm up or after 2 hr’s riding? What cadence? If the workout is 3 hours what do I do the rest of the time? I have prescribed all these variations before, anyone can write down 3×15’. You have to know all the details.
2) Why you’re doing it. You have to know why. What’s the purpose? What is the physiological adaptation I am looking for here? This will help you focus on that. Doing workouts blind is a waste! And it’s your fault! There is no magic workout! “Why is Joe a becoming a better runner than me? We do the same workouts?” He does it better, harder and smarter than you, that’s why.
3) How it pertains to you and you’re a race: “Why are you doing run intervals on a hill in Z4 while training for an Iron-distance race?” When you get down to specific workouts, you should be taking apart a certain aspect of the race or discipline and training each separate part. We talk about this in the off season training articles and the fall training seminar. Know where you’re going with every workout you do. Think of it in terms of a car. Your car runs on gas but there’s a reason you have a big battery in there. Know why its there.
You, the athlete, have to take action. Coaches don’t read minds. No coach is going to wake you up in the morning, ask you how you slept, etc. If you’re tired you have to communicate that. If you don’t have time to do a 3-hour workout next Sunday, or don’t know the 3 keys to knowing your work out, you have to ask!
I once heard at a stage race, “my coach sucks! I haven’t talked to him in 2 weeks!” I said, “that sucks, does he just not answer his phone?” The person replied, “ohh I don’t know, I haven’t called him.” Are you serious!! I quickly told that person that before you go telling people your coach sucks maybe you should make a call first. You have to communicate with your coach. You have to ask questions.
Written by Eric Kenney