In the world of endurance sports there are always opportunities for growth and development. As a coach who has worked with hundreds of athletes over the years my job is to spot trends and patterns. The trends and patterns that seems to be recurring every single year like clockwork are, to me, two of the biggest opportunities to fall into a trap.
In a not so distant past there were several times during the year that I, as an athlete, would struggle. When I would enter these moments I would not have the perspective to understand why these times occurred and what I can do to prevent them. Fast forward to my coaching career and I fully recognize, understand and appreciate the power of these two times a year.
The first opportunity we cross is the late winter/early spring season. The majority of athletes are far enough removed from their last race or accomplishment and yet not close enough to the next race or goal and they get stuck in no man’s land. This is a great time for the mind to wander and question if you’re putting the pieces together to get to your next goal. This is the time of year where the fruits of our labor aren’t always seen because we have no measuring stick that we deem of value. Typically that measuring stick is a race or some type of competition and so we neglect to see or appreciate the gains that we have made to this point.
The next one is what I like to call the Midsummer lull. This, like the winter/early spring, is one that we get caught in between our last event and our next event. The dog days of summer on us and every single mile that we log seems to be in the sweltering heat with no relief in sight. We become tired of hydrating and sweating, creating the piles of laundry that need our attention.
The other thing that seems to compound the problem of these two times a year are the holidays and summer/vacation travel. Often times we get caught up in what we are not doing or not able to do and we do not appreciate the progress we are able to make. In my opinion this is one of the key times that it is very vital for the coach and athlete relationship to be strong. The coach has access to several different data analyzing platforms and pieces of information that can help dissect even the smallest of gains.
In part two I will discuss with you my strategy as an athlete and a coach for overcoming these obstacles and turning them into opportunities that we can win in.