Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Quick Update

In my effort to keep my promise to myself regarding posting every two weeks (or so), I'll give a quick report on the goings on in my little universe.

Personally, the body is continuing to heal well and I am playing a fair amount of golf with my kids, in addition to riding regularly with a number of athletes I am looking after (I loved it when Des Dickey said's so much better in my mind than "MY ATHLETES") and both the bike shop and the coaching businesses are doing quite well.

Golf was my first addiction and as such, seems to be something I can pick up at almost any time and resume a respectable level of competance after only a few trips around the course. My rounds have been limited to mostly a time-efficient 9 holes, but over the last several weeks, I've quickly seen these rounds drop from the low 40's into the high 30's. I am getting indescribable pleasure though, from playing with Becca and Sarah. They are improving at such a quick rate and the time spent with them on the course is the most special of any I have ever spent. We talk about everything...even things I would rather not and every round is an opportunity for a gut-busting comment from one of them. The other day on the practice green Sarah asked "how long will it be before I beat you?" I replied, "you may never beat me" (hoping to appeal to her competitive nature). She quickly responeded "yes, I will get old!".

The riding has been quite pleasurable, as well. It has been mostly limited to relatively easy, longer rides with athletes preparing for Lake Placid, but I am managing to stay resonably thin.
I am currently still 'looking after' 8 of these warriors. This is one more than in '07, as I've picked up a late comer in need of harnessing his talents for the long stuff just as I was relieved of my duties by another athlete.

I feel that all of them are on or ahead of schedule regarding their preparation and have realistic, yet challenging goals. I believe that this is a critical role for the coach to play...the assistance in establishing realistic short and long term goals. As for their training, each program is quite unique, but there are obviously some strong similarities at this point. They will all be getting in their more specific long IM race intensity efforts after having "raised the left" in the months previous, and will be recovering a bit more than most other athletes coached by others (from what I've heard) this week. I've found that we avoid 'digging too deep a hole" at this time and that we can avoid injury/over-training, while maintaining a great deal of quality simultaneously. This also allows a proper taper going forward, without the need for a total shut down that can be quite risky.

The business side of things is also quite good. With the races of Summer approaching, the dissolution of two bike shop competitors nearby and the soaring gas prices, as well as the continued support of our own Team Runners Edge and Team in Training athletes, we are keeping very busy at the shop. The coaching business is going very well, too. I have a business plan that was about to launch with a couple associates in which we could accommodate additional athletes looking for a program like that which I've outlined in previous posts, as well as, put together some training camps throughout the year, but this has been temporarily placed on "the back burner" while additional personnel is recruited. I will implement this plan, but only when I am confident it will be done with the same level of personal attention I try to give to every athlete.

Well, that's about back in a couple weeks with tales of the taper!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Simple Tenets

When I first started coaching about 7 years ago, a close friend advised me, before I began, to read everything I could find regarding the great coaches and their methods, about exercise physiology and exactly why these particular coaches had been successful. He told me plain and simple "Write down your philosophy and always stay true to it". Of course, he didn't mean to ignore what others advised nor did he mean that I shouldn't stay up to date with the latest research in the field...only that I should think long and think hard should I consider breaking one of my tenets. While the original wording has changed over time, the list remains almost exactly the same as I wrote it in my first of many marble notebooks. They are:

-An athlete that is 10% under-trained can have a great day, but one that is 1% over-trained never will.

-The principle of specificity must be honored as often as possible

-Training must be individual

-Training must be takes about six weeks to adapt to a particular level of stress

-Every workout has a purpose

-An athlete is either capable of higher output from their body over a given time or (equivalently) they must be able to hold previous levels of output longer...otherwise, they are not training.

-The primary predictor of success in endurance sports is maximum sustainable (or Functional Threshold) pace/power

-Sessions at/near maximum sustainable effort are the backbone of endurance training.

-The adaptations from L2-L5 (Endurance through VO2) are identical...we merely trade volume for intensity.

-The shorter, hard(er) session(s) precede the longer, easier sessions after recovery

I'll try to keep on top of the blog and go through each in a bit of detail in coming entries.