Are you working WITH your coach?

I haven’t been the best trainee lately. I work with a fantastic coach, who is dedicated to helping me achieve the lofty goals I have set for this season. But part of working WITH a coach is keeping her (or him) informed on how each workout is going. That’s where I have been slacking. So I asked my coach Jen Harrison to contribute today and talk about why an athlete’s feedback is important.

As a coach, I rely heavily on my athletes daily updates on Training Peaks to keep track of each athlete’s progress.  When I plan the athlete’s week, I refer back to a few things:

1.) Their goals
2.)  Their Annual Training Plan – Macro Picture
3.) Previous workout feedback and subjective and objective feedback

First, if an athlete tells me he/she wants to do X at a race and they are sleeping in every day, blowing off X % of their workouts…then all I say to them is, “You have to help me in the process….you need to own your end of this deal.”  I can only do so much.  I can write awesome workouts, but if the athletes chooses to not do the workouts…well…then their goals must be adapted.  Unfortunately, most athletes do not adapt their goals and therefore have unrealistic views of what is reasonable.  My job is to keep this in balance as much as possible.

Second, there is always a bigger picture to the athlete’s training.  If the athlete is missing A, B and C workouts every week OR not filling out their log – then when it comes to me sitting down and planning the micro workouts (weekly workout/daily workouts) then this athlete keeps getting behind OR shows limited progress because they choose not to updated their log AND/OR they miss so many workouts, all we are doing is catching up all the time.  Again, not very productive.

Third, and honestly, the most challenging for me daily as a coach…I rely heavily on what the athlete tells me.  IF the athlete chooses to NOT update their log in Training Peaks AND chooses to not download their Garmin and files so I can analyze their data…that is a choice they are making in stunting their progress.  I can only do so much from my end. I ask (many times usually PER week) for updates from my athletes..and honestly, it is not hard to fill out Training Peaks….but some do not….for whatever reason it still is mind blowing to me…but without objective feedback (data, etc) and /or subjective feedback, for me to progress the athlete or even make the athlete faster, better is surely a challenge.  And, bluntly, it is frustrating to me as a coach..here I have this great athlete, paying me for my services, but I cannot truly do my job.

The best athletes are these:

They enter their daily workouts in TP every day or every few days.  If they have questions on any workouts, they email me asap. If the athlete is sick or needs to move workouts around, they email me.  This athlete downloads all their key bike and run workouts and gives me updates on their subjective feedback.  For example:  “I had a great run today because I ate a powerbar 1 hour before my run and it fueled me perfectly for this run.”  This is great subjective feedback…we are talking about HOW the athlete felt AND what they ate (nutrition is key) for their workout.  ALL of this coupled with interaction and data allows me to be able to progress them each week and each cycle!

So it’s time for me to refocus and make sure I update Jen EVERYDAY, that includes updating my Garmin data. Thanks to Jen for contributing today, though she’ll probably regret it when my emails are cluttering her inbox! . You can find out more about Jennifer Harrison Triathlon Coaching on her website.

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