While I’m a coach, I’m also a coached athlete. Some people raise an eyebrow when they hear a coach has a coach but to me, I see the benefit and can’t imagine not being coached because it’s been so valuable. Now, with that being said, I get to wear both the coach hat and the athlete hat and I have different roles for each one.
When it comes to my own training, I take my coach hat off. I let my coach do the coaching and I act as an athlete. This isn’t to say it’s a dictatorship because it absolutely is not. I have input, ask questions and learn along the way but ultimately I let her guide the ship. But since I flip between being a coached athlete to a coach several times throughout the day I often think of the roles each person plays and the duties associated with each. One would think a lot falls on the coach but really, as athletes it’s more than just waking up and knocking out a workout. Well, in my opinion, it should be…
Trust: I trust my coach and the plan. While it may take time to develop this trusting relationship, it’s something that must happen. Without it, the athlete will doubt their training and preparation. This ultimately can affect how you train and race and could possibly limit you reaching your full potential. If you struggle to trust your coach, you need to evaluate if it’s the coach or the act of being coached as coaching isn’t for everyone.
Stick to the plan: Life happens. We get sick, stuck at work, family obligations, etc. A schedule is not set in stone but I do my absolute best to stick to the plan that is laid out for me. I understand the fine balance of easy and hard days and that the schedule was written with purpose. I strive to manage my schedule as it was written so I can get the maximum benefit from my workouts and the week as a whole.
Execute: I have goals and I need to work for them. There is no job more important to me as an athlete then executing my workouts. The best plan is not going to get me to my goals unless I do the work. Some days I may nail my workout, others I may fall short. But every single day I do the work adhering to the guidelines as best I can. Knowing each effort serves a purpose, I go hard when I’m supposed to go hard, easy when I’m supposed to go easy and I rest when I’m supposed to rest.
Communicate: I communicate honest information that will help my coach help me. While commenting on workouts can take time and sometimes be a nuisance the information about how you felt, the challenges you faced, etc are what’s important. The numbers are secondary to how we actually feel and respond to efforts and workouts. If a run pace felt way too hard for the intended effort or my hard swim pace felt way too easy, this should be noted.
Sponge: I listen closely to everything my coach says and suggests. I read every single comment she makes on my workouts. I question things, analyze my own data, and take in every bit of information I can because I want to learn and become the best version of my athletic self that I can become.
Not every day or every week will go perfect or to plan. But as athletes we need to do work on our end to ensure we are getting the most out of our coaching and doing what we can to set ourselves up for success on race day. Coaches can give us tools to improve and write a solid plan, but it’s up to us as athletes to do our job to pull it all together.