The proof is in the pudding…or so the saying goes. I like proof and I like pudding this seems like it would be a good start to a little real talk conversation.

Plain and simple I absolutely love what I do as a coach. What are the biggest struggles that I have is when an athlete does not see what I see is a coach. In my growth as a coach I have learned new ways to use the analytics to help paint the picture for an athlete. Any good politician can spin anything to make it look one way or another. Data is not much different. However there are some points of data that are straight black and white and cannot be spun. I try to seek those out when I’m presenting an athlete with results or progress or regression.

As a coach I have to hold myself accountable for an athlete’s progress and also hold the athlete accountable for equal progress. Undoubtedly, there have been times that I have made a mistake and I always try to correct that mistake, admit it and learn from it.Equally, there are times that athletes make mistakes and we work on those and move forward. But that’s not what this blog post is about. This blog post is showing you the proof that I have found in the pudding.

How do you address an athlete who is clearly making progress but doesn’t see it. That is one of the great mysteries and struggles of coaching but it is one of the things that we should strive for, as coaches, to help unlock the athletes mind.

I present to you, exhibit A, Paul Miller.

Paul Miller is an 8x IM finisher with aspirations of a legacy spot to Kona and, one day, seeing 10:30 on the race clock. In the past 2 years he has had an all time PR and multiple finishes under 12 hours so the progress is definitely there.

In his last build up to Ironman Wisconsin, he admitted that he didn’t have a great build because of a couple of very strange issues that we had to take a little bit of time off for, which is very uncommon for him. Leading into the race there was frustration in his perceived Fitness level and part of that is because of a shaky build and perhaps his overall goal setting and appreciation of the variation of course difficulties.

In an attempt to try to settle everything out and figure out just what was going on in if this athlete actually progressing, I just decided to pull a few bike numbers from Ironman Chattanooga in 2017, Ironman Texas in 2018 and his most recent race at Ironman Wisconsin in 2019.

In Part two of this blog series I will lay out which data points I targeted and why. In Part 3, I present the data findings from this athletes performances and what we can learn from them. Part 2 –