Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Best Laid Plans

So you know how Jan 1 rolls around and we all close our eyes and dream about the year we're going to create for ourselves? Ya. So mine went something like this:

I'm going to coach myself! I know *exactly* the type of training I want to do for myself... and I'm going to show up at Honu fit and fresh and ready for the race of my life!

So with that, I wrote out a rough 5 month plan for myself. It was awesome. Perfect progression of sessions leading into the key ones I wanted to be able to nail 3-4 weeks out... Long sessions, short sessions, hard sessions, easy sessions, hill reps and track workouts... even a rough idea of where rest blocks would best fit were planned out. I loved it and it made me feel so good to look at all that work on paper!

Then I went to implement my perfect plan. At first it went pretty well. But then one day it would rain, and I'd decide that my bike ride might be better done tomorrow instead of today... I'll just run instead... then it would rain again the next day, and the day after that. It's ok though I thought! I'll modify my plan and make this a RUN BLOCK. Bike block can be next week... if it's dry...

Then a dry day would finally come and I would hem and haw and procrastinate until I had like an hour until it was time to pick up Moana... Ok so a short ride is better than no ride... I'll just go do some short hill reps and call it good. Damn, those hurt. 4 is good enough, no? I don't really need to do 8 of those, I justified to myself...

And on and on it went until ~2 months had passed and I found myself modifying just about everything and simply doing whatever I felt like and if I didn't feel like it I just wouldn't go b/c who really cares, anyway? Turns out, being accountable to myself is pretty much like being accountable to no one. And that just doesn't work for me.

My decisions to hire coaches ALWAYS come when I'm out on my bike and wimping out on myself. This time around was no different. It was a couple weeks ago (on a ride that was going to be 2 hours including strength intervals but I modified it to ~1:15 easy spinning because that's how I roll when I'm accountable to myself). In good news, this time around I had pretty clear criteria about what I believe I need in a coach...

~I wanted a woman. Yes I know this is stereotypical but I think most women communicate better than most men. I believe that communication between coach and athlete is KEY for success. I know I am good at communicating with my coach and I wanted a coach who would  also be good at communicating with me.

~I wanted someone who I felt like had a view of training that was very similar to my own. I've tried going out on a limb and doing things differently. That's cool! I love challenging my own beliefs because who am I to say I've got it all nailed?? Except, guess what? I'm 40 now and after 20 years in triathlon and trying a variety of different types of training, I think I have a clear idea of what works and what doesn't work for me. I don't feel the need for some big experiment right now. I just want someone who will write some good solid standard training for me, pay attention to how I respond, and then progress the plan. Don't treat me with kid gloves, but don't try to actually kill me either. Just because I'm durable enough to handle a giant training load doesn't mean it's actually the best thing for me to do in the long term.

Anyway, with those two things in mind, I found Marilyn Chychota with Endurance Corner. For years I have valued the things I've learned at the Endurance Corner website. All their coaches seem so professional and every article I read there just seems so logical and spot on. Then I started following Marilyn's coaching page on FB. She posts a little something every morning and every morning I would read it and think YEP YEP YEP... I will admit, I was also attracted to the fact that Marilyn has started doing Crossfit! Finally I got off my ass and sent her an email introducing myself and promising that I am a low maintenance athlete who will do what she says and I will log in every day I pinky swear and will she please consider holding me accountable to my training because I suck at doing that for myself... In good news, she said YES so YAY I am back on a plan and could not be happier. :)

It is seriously astounding how when the workout is entered in Training Peaks by someone else how I will execute it on point exactly as written... vs if I am the one who put it there it gets modified to something easier almost 100% of the time. But you know, the last thing I would do is hire a coach and then have her spend time creating a program she thinks is appropriate for me and then not bother to execute it as written. I never understand when athletes do that. Maybe money is too valuable to me to waste it like that? Or as a coach myself I have too much respect for the thought that goes into those programs to disrespect the coach by modifying them? Regardless, having a plan to just do, not think is awesome and it is what I need. This morning was Day 1 and my plan called for 6x intervals on the bike and it never once occurred to me to just do 4x. Success!

Anyway, now my only real problem is that the Participant List came out for Honu and my name is not on it. WTF? I entered (or tried to anyway!) last September via Active.com- way before it filled up. I don't know where the glitch was but I've got 3 plane tickets to the Big Island, a condo/car reserved, TriBike Transport paid for, and a heart set on doing that race for the 8th time. I've sent letters to both Active and Ironman but no one will respond. Unfortunately neither of these organizations is known for their outstanding compassion customer service so I think my chances of having the opportunity to race there may be quite low but if there is anyone out there who has a heart and a voice with Ironman, will you please help??


Ange said...

Oh MIchelle!!!! Did you write a post for me?? haha.. seriously . You Know I was going to coach myself too! and.....same same same as you...just kept moving and changing and deciding ohhh.. I'm low on time. No need to ride 2 hrs! 1:10 is FINE! It's Only February after all!! And so on..... I Hired a coach too and am blogging it all soon. :) Glad you found someone too!
And Yikes!! How annoying and upsetting about HONU!!! I DO Hope that gets remedied! You must have the confirmation #s etc from active?

Roz Selbach said...

I'm back with Jen again. Pretty lazy coaching myself too and very happy to be back doing hard/fun/smart workouts and being accountable to someone in addition to myself. Just so much easier all around.

I emailed a couple contacts I would try for Honu. GOOD LUCK with that.