Training by perceived effort.

5 Dec

In today’s world of technology and gadgets so many people get focused on buying more gear and then focus training, racing and so on around the technical data things like power meters, heart rate monitors, GPS watches and so on produce. Now as a competitive athlete and coach yes of course I love these things and I love data and using the data to coach an athlete and help them improve. But not everyone can afford all of these things and not every athlete likes to wear monitors and gadgets of these sorts and that’s OK.

So as a coach I like to take things back to basics often times and teach athletes to train by perceived effort level. Cycling this can be really crucial because so many own a kinetic trainer which does not go by watts, and they don’t have power meter crank sets etc… so I can’t hardly prescribe them a workout based on FTP and watts. This is where I use a scale for perceived effort for them.

Perceived effort works really well; because it allows the athlete to train based on how they feel on a certain day and to the conditions of the day. When you get so focused on paces, or power outputs it can leave you sometimes either not pushing hard enough, or it can leave you feeling dejected and frustrated because for whatever reason you were not feeling so good that day and it was a struggle to hit your paces or power output. But when you go on a perceived effort scale it allows you to train based on how you feel that given day at that given moment and does not mess with your mental game it keeps you positive because you know you pushed as hard as you were suppose to for that given interval/workout.

Perceived effort also allows you to just run, bike, swim and not stare at a watch or computer. It allows you to free your mind some and focus on body cues not data that your fancy device is kicking out for you to see. I like this a lot for hard effort runs, runs on the track when you want to just open up and see what happens and really push you. Running shorter intervals like a 200 or 400 I really like going by a perceived effort level some days. Same goes with hill running; because hills are typically challenging and make our paces slow down if we focus on what the goal pace is suppose to be we will go nuts on hills and run them too hard and burn too much energy. But if we focus on a effort level scale and run them under control more based on the grade and length of the hill based on how we as an athlete feel it will allow us to stay more under control not burn too much energy and be able to get back into pace easier and recover easier once the road flattens out.

Heart rate is a great tool to use in coaching an athlete and training I do enjoy it but I also find it to be a limiting tool. Heart rate is affected by so many things; sleep, caffeine, heat, and humidity and so on. If the athlete try’s to focus their workout on heart rate they could really limit themselves especially if it’s a hard effort day or race. So again this is another great reason to use perceived effort level as a way to gage things. However I do really like using heart rate on Recovery days for athletes to slow them down and make sure they don’t push too hard and that they truly do perform at an easy low intensity recovery effort.

So if you can’t afford all the fancy tools out there for sale it’s OK you can still find a method to train. Race and accomplish the same types of efforts. Years ago athletes did not have anything but a simple stop watch and perceived effort to push themselves and train by just because the world has evolved and we now have access to a lot of fancy stuff does not mean we can’t remain a little old school now and again. So as much as I love fancy toys and data, and everyone truly does use the perceived effort method to train by until that sugar mama comes along and buys you a power meter and the other fancy tools to record every little piece of data you can.

(I do train very much by watts and power meters with the bike if an athlete has access to those things, I do still like to train athletes by goal paces, and within a running pace structure also, and I do use heart rate with them as well sometimes) So this blog was not supposed to discount those tools but give you an alternative way to think sometimes when training. A more old school method that is still very effective today!


Happy training, stay focused and make it happen! No excuses!


Coach MB 




You either want it, or you don’t! You either make excuses or you don’t!

3 Dec

Happy Saturday, I just finished my long run for the week as many runners most likely did as well. I’m in a base building phase right now before my serious training begins in a few weeks.

The run went very well and I’m feeling quite strong and good right now.

But my run today is not what my blog is about or the message today the message today is something I think about when I’m out running. Most Saturday’s a group of athletes I coach gather with me and we run together motivate each other and push each other. It’s really a special time of my day and hopefully their day.

Anyway back to my message; you either want it, or you don’t! You either make excuses or you don’t!  I think of this because as a coach and just as an athlete a person who talks to lots of people who talk the talk but so often don’t walk the walk.

It’s really a simple question; do you want it? If you talk about doing something and it can be anything it can be a 5k or a marathon it could even be something non-athletic related. If you can go through the motions of signing up for the event, or talking about how you want to do an event etc…; but then when it really comes down to having to do the work like “training” so many just sort of get lost and don’t follow through with things. This brings up the other part of this blog post. You either make excuses, or you don’t! I hear so many excuses all the time from people it drives me crazy! Because if the person truly wanted it they would not have any excuses they would simply do what they need to do in order to prepare for the goal they have committed to. So if you can make excuses and skip workouts and not commit to your training then do you really want it? I would say NOT because you simply are not showing the passion, commitment, and motivation one needs in order to achieve success and actually complete what they say they want.

Like my friend Stu says you need to replace saying “I can’t” with “I won’t” because really you can but you choose not to. And that’s OK nobody ever says you have to do anything but I’m a believer that if you say you’re going to do something, if you say you want something, and if you commit (like sign up for a race) then you damn well better do it and get committed and focused and not quit. Because at one time you said I can and I want but then when you found out just how hard it is to do you made the excuses to back out and quit. That’s not a good example for anyone and really what does it do for you?

I’m very much wired in this way and many of the people I surround myself are wired this way also. I’m passionate, I’m focused, and I’m dedicated! When I commit to something I go in 110% and I don’t give up ever! I always find my focus and motivation and I always push my limits. I don’t believe in doing things half way so I can always answer the question with “I want it” and I never make excuses. I respect all the people out there who think and act this way and they are the people who achieve goals and inspire and motivate others. They are the ones making a difference in this world.

Being an athlete a person who chases goals is not always easy but if you have the right mind set mental strength and the commitment it’s always easy to make the right choices and live with no excuses and no regrets and simply just get after it!

So how do you answer those questions?

Do you want it? Will you make excuses, or not?

Don’t say you can’t because you can, just say I won’t and I don’t want it. Then nobody will think anything of it and all is good. But if you say “You want it” and I can then don’t make excuses and don’t quit. Stay strong focused and passionate and chase that goal!

Anyone can accomplish anything if they truly want it and are willing to do the work. Never set limits on yourself and always believe in yourself!

Go be amazing! And train with passion!


Coach MB 

Life is about moments!

1 Dec

Lately when I run or even sit in my basement on my Compu-trainer riding I have been thinking about “moments” little moments in life that make life special and lead to bigger moments.

Life can come and go so quickly we can be consumed by work, by family, and other distractions that speed things up and take us away from slowing down stopping and enjoying a moment.

It’s sad that we let these things get in our way so much, it’s sad that so many people get consumed by excess and material things and therefore work so many hours that they never stop and breathe the fresh air, watch birds in the tree or go for a simple run with a friend.

A friend of mine recently said to me; “I don’t care about material things, I don’t work to have big house and all that stuff. I care about experiences I work to fund experiences like traveling to do a marathon.”   The simple statement is exactly what I’m talking about and that simple little statement leads right into my message today and that is moments. Little moments, big moments just recognize these moments that happen in life and cherish them and keep making them!

As athletes that train and compete we have many moments and often times we overlook the little moments always looking into the future and we miss that what we just accomplished is a huge step on the way to the bigger picture goal or more major moment we want to have.

My daughter is an athlete and training for sport is a way her and I spend time and share moments together. Things as simple as when she comes home from school going out for a 3-4 mile run or even better running the Thanksgiving Day 5k together. These little moments I would never trade for anything, I happily alter my work schedule and get home to meet her after school so we can get that last bit of daylight before the sun sets and go for that run; because its little moments like this that matter to me so much in life.

I’ve had several wonderful moments lately that make me grateful for my health and grateful for the people around me. This past weekend a few athletes I coach (my friends) and I ran a half marathon together. We went and supported a runner on the team training for a marathon right now and helped pace her. It was so special and wonderful to be able to share this moment with Julie (the one training) and the other girls. As a coach it was so fun to see the look in Julie’s eye when things got tough how mentally she battled through moments of a race and then had the guts to push herself that last mile. I had another great moment this week when my friend Dan (who has been battling brain cancer) was free and able to go for a run and have a beer after work. Sure I had all ready done my workout earlier that day but I never say no to a friend and again it’s these little moments in life something as simple as this 4 mile run I shared with Dan that simply make me happy and smile and I never take for granted. 

When I train hard and am focused on a goal race I have lots of little moments along the way also. Things that happen during a workout that make me go YES exactly the feeling I was going for that kind of epiphany moment that gives you mental strength and confidence come race day.  These types of moments can be as simple as a swim workout that you have a goal pace to hit for your intervals and you nail it every time. It could be running 800’s on a track at Yasso pace before a marathon and hit smooth and consistent paces each one that leaves you full of confidence before race day. Lots of little things like this happen during a training cycle and we need to be aware of them and embrace them. 

Most of all with my words today I just want to motivate you all to go out and enjoy life, make moments, make memories and live in the here and now. Embrace what is around you and never take it for granted. Stop and make time for friends or family and go for those runs, or bike rides whatever it may be. Just don’t overlook something as simple as a 3 mile run with your kid or a friend because that 3 mile run is such a special moment and it’s something you and that other person will remember.  

Cheers to life’s little moments!

Coach MB


Don’t deserve it! Earn it!

29 Nov

Yesterday Olympic gold medal winner in the Triathlon Gwen Jorgenson posted that saying on twitter and it struck me and motivated me!

Think about that don’t deserve it, earn it!! So many people in life try to skate by do the bare minimum are not always willing to put in the effort, the work needed to truly earn it and have that success.

I have been guilty myself and I know many athletes have; to think hey we are good; we have talent so we don’t need to push our limits we don’t need to train that hard because we will just have success. What I say to that is even if we have some success with trying to deserve it and not earn it is typically we don’t feel satisfied and that proud. Because we know deep within ourselves we did not really earn that success we did not really prepare for that event as we should and we did not push our limits and leave our best out on the course.

Prefontaine has always been one of my biggest inspirations because the way “Pre” raced was to always give his best to always push his limits even when he knew he was going to win. Because “Pre”; believed to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.  Steve Prefontaine always earned it, he never backed off he trained hard and he raced even harder! When Pre had success he could feel satisfied and know he earned that success that right to walk with confidence.

As a coach I have worked with athletes and been around athletes that talk about success, set goals and dream but when it really gets down to it they don’t always earn that success. They train without focus sometimes, they skip workouts and they just take things so relaxed and easy that they never really find out how strong they are what they truly are capable of. Sure they might finish that event they set out to do; sure they might even have some success by reaching some of their goals along the way. But if they did not train day in and day out with relentless forward motion, with passion and desire to push their limits then they did not earn it.


When you train, when you race feel humbled, feel hungry and don’t think you deserve anything! No matter if it’s an easy recovery run, a hard interval run, a long swim workout or it’s race day go out with passion, desire, and heart! Go out and push your limits and earn that success you so desire. Knowing you gave all you had and never backed down even when things get tough is a wonderful feeling and one you will be more proud of than just going through the motions thinking you deserve it.

Best of luck! Happy Training and Racing!

Make it happen! No Limits! Gotta Have Heart!


Coach MB



Is it talent? or just hard work! it’s hard work!

17 Nov

My good friend Stu today sent me this great caption of Connor McGregor and next to it said the following words.

“There’s no talent here, this is hard work. This is an obsession talent does not exist, we are all equals as human beings. You could be anyone if you put in the time. You will reach the top, and that’s that. I am not talented, I am obsessed. “

I read that a few times today, thought about it and said right on!! I think about my own self and how I also am obsessed, and how hard I work and have worked over the years. The success I have that you all see does not just come easy from talent. That comes from many years of dedication and focus and an obsession and passion for being fit and endurance sports. I have not always been as fast as I am now and that goes for many athletes you see having loads of success. I compete in a lot of big races each year and there is some very strong and good athletes out there of all ages. Sure you can say they are talented but truly what they are is obsessed and passionate. They get up each day with a plan a goal and they see that plan through they don’t make excuses and they flat out get after it!

So as you sit back and say I’m not as talented as that person no way I can beat them or be like them. Stop and think to yourself and say, do I work as hard as they do? Am I obsessed with chasing goals and trying to be the best I can?  Do I wake up each day make no excuses and find ways to train and train with a purpose with a smile and a positive attitude even when the workout calls for something you might not love or be strong at?

I will always say talent will be trumped by hard work! And those athletes that think they are so talented that they get lazy and don’t continue to work hard and push themselves day in and day out to get better, well those athletes eventually start getting beat by the ones willing to rise each day and work hard put out massive efforts and never give up!

I truly believe if you put in the time you will see the results and that you should never limit yourself! But you should always believe in yourself and you should always set high goals and no limits! The process to get to the top might take months or it might take years but regardless of that as long as you get working hard and pushing yourself day in and day out you will eventually taste that success you dream of. You will be victorious because you are obsessed and you worked your butt off!

I believe a little obsession is a good thing; it’s like having a strong passion for something. So don’t be afraid to channel that and go for it!

Enjoy your obsessions, enjoy your passions and never give up! Don’t think someone is more talented to you, just work harder than they do and you will soon be the one that everybody thinks is so talented!


Happy Training and remember you have to love to train!


Coach MB 


Love to Train!

16 Nov

This morning Pro-Triathlete Andy Potts posted something about how you need to love to train.

It said; “Love to train, Everyone loves to race. You gotta love to train. The daily quest for self improvement and the constant drive knowing that you can and will get better.”  

That quote simply made me come alive!! Because as many of us I love to race I truly love all about racing. Seeing my friends in transition, the excitement and thrill of competition and that taste of success!

But in order for us to expierence all of those things we must train and we must find passion and love in training. The no glory hours spent in your basement on a bike trainer the countless hours spent running in the dark or the monitnoy of lap after lap in the pool. But those people who find joy in this and can stay commited and passionate during those lonely hours of training those are the people who become stronger and make themselves better in so many ways besides just on race day!

The real success and improvement within ourselves happens on training day! It happens when we rise at 4:30am and hit the pool at 5:30am and swim lap after lap trying to hit our intervals. Or we crawl into our basements on a dark winter morning turn on some music and ride that bike on the trainer with the sweat pouring off us as we look at the same stuff posted on our walls. When you can find joy in that wow the things that will happen to you are quite amazing!! It’s within these moments of training that the magic happens!

I’m a coach and use “group” training as part of what I offer this group training can help make athletes love to train more. If you have friends and other like minded nuts to meet up with on a dark morning and then go do your workouts together pushing each other that can really spark a love to train inside you. Because then the training becomes more than just a lonely workout it becomes building lasting sweat filled freindships! The group helps give the athlete the motivation they might need to get out of bed and do the workout and the group can help the athlete push outside their comfort zone as well.

But not always is a group avail or needed or even good. Sometimes we just have to have the passion within ourselves to train the passion and dedication that makes us wake up in the morning and go rock that workout our coach gave us! These athletes I find build something else besides a fit body. They build mental toughness! They build an enternal strength that come race day pays off in a big way. This type of athlete is use to being alone, use to pushing themselves beyond limits and how to hurt without that paerson next to them holding their hand. Sure it can be lonely some days but it’s also very good! If you can pry yourself out of a warm bed in the winter time and go log the workout, esepcically when it’s a hard tempo/interval workout and you need to really focus and push through the pain cave that is huge!

I like to call training the “journey” and I love the journey! The journey to me the training is a mix of both group time and solo time. I do a nice mix and match with my workouts of sharing time with friends and sharing time alone.  Sharing time training with friends is amazing! I have built so many good friendships over the years with athletes I coach and train with; because face it when you are sweating and working hard and pursuing goals things just get simple they get down to the essence of life and if you have a person or group that you can share that with day in and day out and always be there for each other to lift each other up well those can become some pretty powerful friendships.

But I do love to train alone and work on the mental focus the focus to push into that pain cave when I really hurt and nobody is watching. Sometimes it’s those moments during my training that really shape me as an athlete and give me some great stuff to reflect back on during tough moments of a race.


So there is many ways for an athlete to train and get through the journey to race day. And at the end of it all the athlete just simply has to love to train! They have to love getting up in the morning and pushing those limits when there is no medal, no finisher shirt and nothing more than simply some sweat and a satification feeling inside of I just did that and it felt awesome!

Find your passion, your love for training and watch all the changes happen!


Coach MB

#findfaster #lovetotrain #noexcuses #gottahaveheart


Proud coach!

9 Nov

I love coaching athletes. I love helping people set goals and then achieve those goals. I love taking your everyday age grouper and making them believe in themselves, building them full of confidence that they can accomplish some pretty amazing things! And how to live life without setting limits.


I use Training Peaks as my way to write training plans for the athletes and then communicate with the athlete through notes in Training Peaks after I review their workout data and read their notes about how it went. One of my favorite times of the day is in the morning after I have finished my workout and I make my smoothie sit at the computer log into Training peaks and start coaching.

The success these people have is remarkable, nothing makes me smile more than when an athlete the day before talks with me scared about their workout, scared about their paces and then the next day when they complete that workout and nail it, maybe even go little faster than planned and actually feel good after. Now that is success and that is awesome! When I read the notes that ooze with confidence and makes that athlete glow that is some powerful and cool stuff! And it’s the simple things that go along way with me also like the word “Thank you” when that athlete accomplishes something really hard and does it with great success and has that confidence in them then they say thanks coach. That really means the world to me and you can’t put a price on that.

As endurance athletes we love a good challenge, we are goal setters and we like plans to follow and be pretty strict about. But we also get very scared and we have many fears about some things we dream of or inspire to accomplish. When we limit ourselves like this with these fears, the fear of failure really is what it is or the fear of pain because most of us don’t love that painful feeling. We hold ourselves back and never really see all the potential that lies within us.

So as a coach I find my soothing easy ways to encourage the athlete to not be afraid, to take on that challenge and if they fail so be it; who cares! I pump them up full of belief and confidence even if the goal they are chasing seems like a long shot and all the scientific data says nope they can’t accomplish that. Because that data can often be wrong! And the only true way to find out what you are capable of is to try it, swing for the fence as I say and just let loose and go for it.

As a coach I love nothing more than when an athlete does exactly that gets way outside their comfort zone and just goes for it with a positive and care free attitude. When the athlete does this they almost always come back to me with a huge smile and say Thanks! Wow I did that!

And that is when coach smiles with pride!

Today after many of my athletes did their workouts I read some seriously awesome notes that made me smile with that proud coach smile! Because I could see the happiness and confidence that was just built inside that person!


So keep believing in yourself! Don’t be afraid to let loose and just go for it as you will never know if you can accomplish something unless you try. You will never grow and become the person you can be unless you push limits and live without fear!

So go be great, make yourself proud and make coach proud!


Coach MB

Without passion and desire… Well?

7 Nov

As we go through life as athletes or just regular everyday life with work family all of that. If we lack passion and desire and a true sense of confidence in ourselves then we struggle to succeed and things can become painful as we come up short over and over.

What struck me to go in this direction with my blog today is my beloved Iowa Hawkeyes football team that is very much underachieving this season and looks like a complete mess! They look like a bunch of guys just going through motions but with no fire or passion or heart. No excitement in their eyes to play the game, to study and to improve. It’s interesting that a team that was picked to suck last year went 12-0 in the regular season won close games and played with a lot of passion. 2016 comes around and they are picked to be good again with some many starters returning and then they go out and play lazy with no fire, they play sloppy they play like they don’t care. This of course pains me and all of Hawkeye nation but I look at this team and I think about my own self over the years as coach and as an athlete and now come my best to use the 2016 Hawkeyes as an analogy for us endurance athletes.

Saturday night Iowa played Penn state and just got hammered! The Defensive gave up 599 yards the most any Iowa team has given up since 1999. And when I read the post game interviews the theme was from both PSU players and Iowa players was Iowa had not fire or desire or passion in their eyes. They went through motions of playing the game but they really never played the game, they never really fought made adjustments and showed heart to correct a sinking ship that night in Happy Valley. This is the same kind of thing I’ve seen from athletes I coach over the years. They sign up for events they put them in their calendar and they train for them but they train without a clear mind and focused. They train lacking some heart and passion and they sort of just go through the motions. Sometimes they train hard, sometimes they don’t sometimes they do the workouts and some days they just skip and let life distract them. That is no way to chase success and live life! That is not going to get you any place but heart ache ville and lost. If you lack the passion and desire but yet try and fool yourself and make yourself hap heartily go through the motions of training and preparing come race day you won’t truly be ready and you certainly won’t be mentally ready to perform. And then comes failure, then comes the negative feelings, then comes the lack of confidence and the big downward spiral.

You can look the part, be all fit looking and so on but if mentally you are not fired up and full of passion and desire. If you are not 100% committed to what you are doing and focused, if you are not ready to adapt when things go south and make the changes as needed to keep moving forward in a positive manner then ouch it’s going to be failure and leave you in one bad place.

To me a big part of a coach job is to help an athlete overcome this help them find their passion and fire, make them have fun and stay committed to achieve their goals. I like to bring hard work ethic and passion to my coaching, I also like to bring fun and find ways to inspire the athlete to keep moving forward and want it! There is a lot of motivating and inspiring movies, books and songs out there that if you open your mind when reading them or listening to them you can get your passion and motivation back. There is a thing like going to watch a race on TV or in person seeing say a wheeler or para-athlete compete and see how they overcome such adversity to reach their goals to maybe help motivate you. I use all these things to find ways to motivate an athlete if I feel they are losing it and yet have this goal dangling out in front of them.  This is one thing I think the Iowa coaching staff is lacking right now and they are not helping with the motivation of this team. It also comes from within the locker room and that team leadership from the older players, the superstars etc… in team sports the highs and lows can come so quickly and with the right leadership from within the team can be fixed. Individual sports are a little different but many individual sports have a team dynamic to them also. My coaching business has two elements to it. One is just coaching the athlete the 1:1 piece the virtual athlete that is out of state and I can’t see daily.  This requires a lot of my attention and effort to work direct with that athlete and keep them engaged keep that fire burning and their focus to follow the plan so they can have success! The second part of my business is the “group” workouts and Team aspect for those that live near me and will commute and meet with one awesome group of people. This is powerful! This can really push people in positive directions, keep them motivated and inspired and keeps them accountable. The power of having supportive people around you that are like minded and also chasing goals is pretty awesome! The energy that everyone gets feeding off each other, the knowing your friends will be there so you better be there is huge at keeping people honest. This also helps when you begin to lose your passion and desire as someone in the group might help you find it again. We all find motivation in different ways, we all find different things that drive us to success and as a coach it’s my job to learn about each of my athletes as best I can and then find those ways to keep them engaged and hungry.

But at the end of the day the athlete has to want it, the athlete has to have the passion and desire within them to push their limits and chase that success no matter what it takes.

These 2016 Iowa Hawkeyes have all the talent and pieces to win games, they just need to find their swagger, their confidence and look deep within themselves and the team and have that passion for the game help them focus and play smarter and harder.

If you are having some lackluster performances look deep within yourself and see if it’s more of a lack of passion and desire not that you are out of shape or not trained properly.

Find your passion, find your desire and keeping pushing limits and chasing goals!

Coach MB


Chicago Cubs World Champs! Never Give up!

3 Nov

Congrats to the Chicago Cubs 2016 World Champions! I have been a lifelong Cubs fan as a kid I would run home from school and turn on WGN and listen to Harry Carry and Steve Stone call Cubs games. I watched all the great Cubs players of the 80’s 90’s and 2000’s and I’ve watched them lose over and over and over. Wrigley Field is a classic ball park it’s one of those sanctuary type places and the Cubs are an organization that has a very loyal fan base that has just accepted losing for so many years but that feeling is no longer and it’s quite an amazing feeling!


Now my translation of the 2016 Cubs into the world of endurance sports; the 2016 Cubs taught us to never give up and to always believe in yourself! Sure they played the entire season has the favorite as the team to beat but that type of pressure can also be tough and can bring on all kinds of nerves and stressful feelings to deal with. Just like an elite athlete who dominates and is always on top of their game just because they win a lot and everyone picks them to win does not mean it will always happen and always come easy. That athlete will need to stay hungry work hard and make changes as needed to keep rolling with the times and the competition as they also get better.

But then came the post season and the Cubs kept getting pushed and no longer where they the big bully of MLB no longer were they always the team to beat and picked to win. The post season showed us that even when things get tough even when you lose your mojo and lose and fail a few times you have to keep believing in yourself you have to keep fighting and never give up. The Cubs had back to back games against the Dodgers where they were shut out! They could not hit the ball for crap and they were slumping and struggling this can be a runner who just keeps falling flat race and after race not hitting goals, not placing how they want etc… and this type of failure can really mess with a person’s mind and get them into a tough place to dig out of. After that two game stretch even I was wondering can this Cubs team get it together and rally and then win this series to move on. Well what did they do Rizzo borrowed a bat started getting some hits and that change in energy that positive energy became contagious throughout the team and the others followed and began hitting the ball and eventually won the series for them.  That never give up attitude they had that believing in each other was exactly what any athlete needs to do when they fall into a funk a series of bad races after bad races. They need to learn from the mistakes they are making and they need to keep getting up and fighting and believing they can overcome this and reach their goals. A lot of this also comes from good coaching, good support people around you that will help guide you keep you lose and relaxed and believing in yourself. Joe Madden did an amazing job of keeping these young players focused on the moment and not bringing too much pressure or nerves onto them but just let them relax and play the game.  As an endurance coach I like to do this as well if an athlete is struggling I like to get them to quit over thinking and just relax and run or swim or ride whatever it is they do and find ways to take away the pressure.

Last night’s game 7 was another amazing display of never give up and believing in yourself and your team and coach. Sure the Cubs got the lead with Dexter’s leadoff home run and then they even built on this lead throughout the game. But then the Cleveland Indians fought back and got the momentum going on their side and the Cubs kept making mistakes almost like trying to give the game away. This could be a Triathlete or a marathon runner etc… you get into your race you start out with the lead feeling good but then someone catches you or the splits start to slow and that time goal you are chasing starts to feel like it won’t happen. This is the negative stuff that creeps in during a performance that as an athlete a strong athlete we have to overcome and fight through if we want to truly taste success and reach our goals. So as Cleveland fought back and tied the game and stole all the momentum in front of their home crowd the Chicago Cubs had two choices; one rollover and give up become negative and stop believing in themselves, or they could do exactly what they did and pick themselves up and get positive get hungry and fight and never give up! Go after it and reach that goal they had for themselves. This is perfect example of what can happen in a race and I’ve been there you are out front feeling good and pushing your limits and then all of a sudden another competitor comes blazing past you and overtakes your position in the race. Now this can either deflate you or leave you sad and feeling negative inside or you can dig deep and keep fighting to race with that person and overtake them again. This is that never give up fight you need to find within yourself. This is what the Cubs did last night they rallied and they kept fighting and never gave up even when late in the game they made mistakes and Cleveland tried to steal their thunder.

Think about my analogy here today and think about how you will overcome things when they start to break down and fall apart.

As a Cubs fan I’m pumped today, I feel bad for the Cleveland Indians because they are a great team and played a great series but I don’t feel that bad I’m happy my Cubs are World Champs!

The Cubs had more heart and were destine to overcome all the adversity and drama that happened to them this post season. And that is how you have to look at yourself during your nest season of competition in endurance sport. Adversity and drama will happen its how you handle it and fight to overcome it that will determine your success.

Never Give up!

Coach MB


Keep It Loose!

1 Nov

The last few weeks have had me thinking and opening my eyes to things. I see things on the outside world and then try and think about how to apply and bring it into my own world. All though what I’m going to talk about today I feel is something I have been very good at and do implement well.


As a coach we have many roles it’s not only the science behind writing the proper training plans and having athletes do the right workouts to be physically fit on race day and peaking at the right times for the goal races. We also have to mentally help the athlete stay focused, believe in themselves and build confidence within the athlete. And we need to make it fun and keep things loose.

As a huge Chicago Cubs fan this has been something floating in my head all season and until just recently after another season of watching how my daughter high school cross country coach handles things it did not hit me. Joe Madden the manager of the Cubs brings a fun real loose atmosphere to the Cubs clubhouse and with a team loaded full of talent but young talent that is so crucial to get these guys to perform at the level they are capable of. Sure the old seasoned veterans like John Lester might not need as much of this loose vibe Joe brings but the young guys like Kris Byrant and Javier Baez I bet it helps a lot! The pressures athletes put on themselves and certainly at a Major League baseball level can be un-needed stress that sucks energy from an athlete and has them so nervous that they clam up and can’t perform.

I believe this is where coaches can be set apart. Take out the X’s and O’s so to speak the workouts and look at the little things the X-factors that can make or break a season a performance.  Athletes will put enough pressure on themselves to perform they will be full of nerves and especially in young athletes like high school level this can become too much and really overwhelm them. Sure there is the exception of that athlete that has ice for veins and that killer instinct but even still with those traits that athlete might be even better if they had a bit more of a let it go kind of vibe in them.

How I like to approach things with an athlete is and I guess this hit home this morning when my daughter compared me to her swim coach of many years that she loves. Bella connects very well with Coach Dan her amazing swim coach that gets so much out of his swimmers! But as a runner (and she loves to run) her coach for the last three years is more rigid less fun and more of a put the pressure on the girls instead of keep things fun and loose and show some heart.  So the two coaches have had a major impact on her one in a positive direction, the other in a more negative direction. So when my daughter compared me to Coach Dan and said I’m like the Coach Dan of running it made me smile. I took that as a huge compliment because of how much she respects Dan.

So back to my approach, in training we have to work hard, we have to be focused and we have to be dedicated. Things will be hard and some days I might be a little harsh or firm with the athlete to make them do their best at the workout. But even when I’m on a track with runners doing a hard interval workout and everyone is embracing the pain cave I still bring high energy, fun and some humor to the workout to try and relax the athlete I still try and pump them up with praise even when missing paces but I can see they are working hard. The goal is to keep them feeling positive and having fun! The goal is to try and take their mind off the hard work the pressure of trying to hit certain paces and let them perform a little more; loose.

Yes when an athlete has time goals, etc… certain paces will need to be hit, they will need to be able to step up and perform at a certain level but if you take the pressure off them and just focus them on giving a solid hard effort and keep them positive and believe in themselves you will see that eventually it will all click and that athlete will be crushing it and doing exactly what they need to do and without even knowing it or focusing on it.

So as a coach we train hard and we focus. But come race day we relax we take the pressure off ourselves and we try and just be loose laugh, sing songs and get ready to go race. As a coach you can’t put the pressure on the athlete but you need to take the pressure away from the athlete. This is what Joe Madden has done so well all season for the Cubs. The players know what they need to do to win, the players know they need to win to stay alive and advance and reach the goals they have set so why does the coach have to put extra pressure on them to go do this? Nope the coach needs to try and relieve that pressure and make the athlete loose and relaxed and let them just go out have fun and take what the day gives them.

Stress is such an unhealthy emotion, stress causes so many problems and affects people in negative ways more times than not. So as a coach we need to take that stress away from our athletes and make them smile laugh and go have fun. The results will follow if we do this.

Runners especially can be very type A and want strict plans to follow stare at their watches and if the paces deviate from what the plan say they freak out. This is why come race day I like to give a little direction to the athlete about how to run the race and the paces they need to reach their goal but I also tell them to just relax settle in and embrace the moment run by perceived effort and what the day gives you. This is where shedding that watch and just go for a  run can really come in handy because if you look at the watch during the race and you have one bad mile split it can alter your state of mind make you think too much and then bring on that stress and negative feelings that can destroy your race.

So in the end you need to just let go a little stay loose smile relax and have fun. If you do that thing will work out and the success will happen! The goal is don’t add any extra stress to yourself or an athlete that can suck energy away from what they need to do.


Happy Training, Racing and having fun enjoying your passions!


Coach MB