Sunday, June 24, 2012

There's Something About Mary

I wrote this blog post in my head during the last hour of my long ride yesterday... I should set the scene: I had been riding by myself for 4 hours already battling 25 mph winds and it had been raining off and on all morning. I pushed the power a bit more than normal for the first 90' as a little experiment to see how I would hold up several hours later. Turns out, when you do that in the beginning, you swear a lot at the end. Anyway.

So I was filling my bottles at a beach park and checked my phone to see if Mary had sent me any info about her 1/2 IM she had raced... I had been thinking about her all morning and hoping that she was reaping some rewards from all the hard work she has put in over the last 6 months... And indeed, I could hear the happiness in her voice as I listened to her message about the big fat PR she had just posted! It was the first time I'd smiled that whole ride. :))) So I didn't know any other details at that point but it was just the motivation I needed to finish up my own ride the way I wanted/needed to finish. And interestingly, I totally stopped swearing.

Honestly I hardly even remember that last section yesterday b/c my head was just spinning with thoughts about how proud I was of Mary... how happy I felt that her hard work paid off and how relieved I was that what we had been doing was indeed working for her. So here's the thing- when a coach gets an athlete like Mary (one who does 100% of the work you prescribe exactly as you prescribe it and logs into TP immediately afterward uploading all of her power/pace files and writes detailed notes with all the feedback a coach could want), well, the coach starts to feel pretty damn responsible (and rightfully so!) for the results that athlete gets at races. In all honesty, it would have been pretty confusing to me if she would not have had a super race yesterday. She had done the work and her numbers were there in training so this result was really just confirmation that we are indeed on the right path.

Then I started thinking about some other scenarios... say, the athlete who never logs into TP to tell coach what they are doing. Result: coach is shooting in the dark trying to figure out what workouts are best for him/her. Race results? It's a crap shoot. Maybe they do well maybe they don't... but tough for coach to feel much responsibility (or pride??) in that scenario b/c athlete didn't hold up his/her end of the bargain on the communication piece. A good race result there is pretty much just luck. Or the athlete who uses coach's plan as a loose guide... sees a 2 hour bike on the schedule, doesn't read detailed instructions and goes out hammering with their local tri club and calls it good. Um. Ok. Same scenario there as above... Race results? It's a crap shoot. Maybe athlete does well maybe they don't but it's tough for coach to feel too much pride/responsibility either way. It's a two way street... an athlete needs to communicate in order to get the most out of his/her coaching relationship. Period. How many times does a coach have to send an email to an athlete requesting an update??

In good news, I've got a lot of athletes like Mary. :) And coaching them is highly rewarding! I am super excited too because in just a couple of days I am going to get to meet Mary in person for the first time! She's coming to the Ironwomen's Camp I am putting on in Kona this week/weekend... Hurry up and recover from that race, Mary, because I am going to kick your ass this weekend. But only because that's how I show love. xoxo

PS- I'll try to show you dolphins first! :)


Steve said...

"Hurry up and recover from that race, Mary, because I am going to kick your ass this weekend. But only because that's how I show love."

Poor Mary. :( Don't show too much love. :)

Molly said...

Mary looked fabulous all day yesterday!!! I know she's really looking forward to Kona camp - have fun!!! :)

mmmonyka said...

I hope you are equally enthusiastic when you receive random swim-training updates from an athlete you do not coach:)

mtanner said...

Thank you! Seriously, for everything including giving me some fight :)

Kiet said...

Well, I know Mary gets up at 4:30 AM several days per week bc that's when she usually makes her first move on WWF. Good job coach..

Anonymous said...

you are an amazing coach. I worked with one one time and logged details and got zero feedback. It was horrible. Congrats to Mary- and you!

hillary biscay said...

LOVE your thoughts on the 2-way street. couldn't have said it better-thank you! :)