Tag Archives: coaching

Just because you are down, does not mean its over!

6 Feb

This past Sunday I saw two incredible displays of never giving up even when you are down and it seems like things are over. Sport is an amazing display of pushing limits, challenging yourself and learning a lot about what you are made of.

 

Sunday morning I was watching college wrestling (I’m a Iowa Hawkeye) and they were wrestling Minnesota. Iowa’s 125 pounder and #1 ranked wrestler Thomas Gillman was flat out getting his butt kicked! In the first period the Gopher wrestler got a take-down then back points and was soon up 8-0 then he rode Gillman the entire 2nd period racking up over 3 minutes of ride time. I would say most of his though not good Gillman is going down. But never once did Thomas give up and quit wrestling, He kept fighting, he kept after it and taking his shots. Soon Gillman was on his offense got momentum shifted his direction and next thing you know he pins the Gopher wrestler and wins the match! It was a crazy amazing turn of events and one of the best wrestling matches I have ever seen.

Then came Sunday night and the Super Bowl! Now I know all most all of you watched this and were stunned when the game ended. If you watched the first three quarters you saw Atlanta Falcons pretty much dominate the Patriots and take a 28-3 lead with 2 minutes left in the third.

But Tom Brady and those Patriots did not stop believing and they did not stop playing. Most teams or athletes would have folded and quit assuming no way we can overcome this many points with just 15 minutes to play. But the Patriots showed an amazing never die, never quit attitude and stayed the course stuck to what they do and just kept chipping away at the Falcons as the Falcons kept making mistakes and wilting. Next thing you know the game is headed to overtime and the Patriots won the game! Simply an amazing comeback!

Both of those events showed such strength, such mental toughness and fight to keep going even when all the odds everything in the world said quit! And well that sums up how an endurance athlete needs to respond and act and think as well.

As endurance athletes we endure all types of things, things that kick us down take us off our game out of the race and make us want to quit. The lessons we need to learn is that if you’re a fighter, if you believe in yourself and you have passion and desire then no way you should ever let something try and slow you down and take you off your game.

It’s like a marathon runner who has been running a great race nailing all their splits staying tough and then mile 20 comes along legs turn to concrete the mind starts to say “Hey wait this does not feel good let’s quit” You slow for a mile maybe two and things appear like you will do the death march to the finish line, but since you’re a fighter and a positive thinker you keep pushing, pushing your limits, pushing through the pain and no quitting not giving in and you cross that finish line maybe still with that goal time, or place on the podium you wanted or maybe not but you are a lot closer to that goal time and with a finisher medal because you never quit! Had you given into the pain accepted defeat when those miles slowed you might have had a crap time, maybe not even finish as you walked along the final miles depressed and with a bad attitude. But when you keep that relentless forward motion and just keep fighting its amazing what can happen!

The same thing goes when you are an elite competitive racer and you are fighting for a top finish a podium spot and you fall back right away to your competitors and they look strong do you make excuses? Quit and drop back and say guess I just can’t beat them today or do you fight and dig your way back into the race from the hole you’re in? If you’re an athlete like Thomas Gillman you keep fighting and pushing and believing in yourself! Because you never know what can happen if you stay strong, stay focused and never give up!

So this season as you train remember these words, think of these examples of athletes being kicked and beaten and down that it appears they have not shot to bounce back, but then all the sudden they overcome the odds and they succeed!

When you have passion, desire, and a positive attitude! When you have confidence and believe in yourself magical things can happen! So don’t let anyone or anything kick you down just keep fighting and have that success go for the win!

 

Happy Training, Racing and being inspiring!

Cheers

Coach MB

 

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You have to Fight for it.

30 Jan

In life you set goals, you have dreams and things you want to achieve. These goals and dreams and success you want never comes easy and if it does come easy then we want to set a new challenge one that is much harder and makes us work that much more for it. Because the harder the challenge the happier we are when we reach it! the more pride we have the more confidence.

 

Now it is easy to set goals and it’s easy to talk and dream and say we want things. But when it really comes down to it we have to want it! And we have to be willing to fight for it. I had a run last week when this thought process starting building in my head. It was windy out and I was a touch tired but my workout called for me to hit some paces and have some periods of harder efforts. As I ran my miles solo down the winter roads and fighting the elements I kept telling myself you want it so you have to fight for it. The mind was trying to tell my body to quit and slow down and give in, then the other side of my mind would fight back and say no you must fight for it and earn it. Now I might not have hit all the paces I wanted to that day but I had a mental break through in that my effort was there. My effort was such that it felt like I was working harder than if I had actually hit my goal paces and that never give up quit I had that day was positive for me and gave me the confidence I need and want during a training cycle.

Every day we get up we have to fight for things, maybe it’s a promotion at work; it’s a fitness goal whatever it is we won’t have that success unless we fight and push our limits and earn it.

I meet people all the time that can talk a big game but when they get into the workout and the pain sets in things get hard they can easily back off the pedal and give up not push that wall back and make progress toward the success they dream and speak of. These are those big moments when as an athlete you have to fight for it. When you dig deep inside yourself and you push as hard as you can go that day and you stay mentally engaged and strong and chase that success you dream of.

In a race I’ve seen it so many times, one athlete gets out front and then sort of goes on cruise control, but then another athlete from the pack surges forward takes the lead and goes on to win the race. Now maybe that athlete who had the lead really try and had nothing left to match the other athlete, but I would bet more times than not the intensity of that race got so high that the one athlete was willing to fight for it more than the other and endure that pain and therefore win the race.  It’s all such a mental battle and telling yourself things like “fight for I” “how bad do you want it” etc… questions that you can ask yourself and use as motivation are key in truly reaching your success.  So stay positive and keep fighting! Don’t give up or back down when things get hard, embrace the pain and feel that sense of pride when you complete it!

The same type of mantra fight for it applies to those who can easily skip a workout, make an excuse of why they can’t wake up, why they can’t squeeze in their workout even if they have to cut it short because of time or something. When something matters to you then you will always find away to make it happen and fight for it. So on those days during those times when you can make lame excuses and not follow through and fight for it and you skip your workout ask yourself does it matter to you. Do you want it? And is it worth fighting for!?

 

Be inspired, stay inspired, stay motivated and remember you are motivating and others are watching so fight for it!

 

Cheers

Coach MB

Gotta Have Heart Training

 

 

 

Setting Goals! Chasing Goals!

19 Jan

Any competitive athlete or any athlete or person for that matter needs to be goal driven. Setting goals is ways to help keep you focused keep you on task and committed.

When it comes to setting goals as an athlete; and thinking about your race season, thinking about a goal within a certain race here is how I do things and maybe some tips to help you.

 

Every year about December or January I start thinking about the upcoming race season I think about the races I want to do and which races are my “A” races the ones I have goals for and what races are my “B” races that I just train through and take a little light hearted.

As an athlete you can really only peak a few times a year and you can really only look at having a few big races that you focus you’re training on and chase within a year.  But many of us like to race a lot as its fun! So we must look at many of our races as having fun no expectations and just train right through on our way to the big picture goal of the season.

But your goals might not be a certain race or time at the race or even place? They might be about weight loss or just finishing the distance or whatever you choose.

The Steps you need to follow to reach goals and have success.

Commitment! You must be committed to what you are doing, what you are chasing. You can’t be a person who talks but struggles to follow through. If you want to have success you must wake up each morning with a positive attitude and you must chase it!

Passion; you need to have passion for what you are doing as this passion will help you stay focused and on the path to reach your goal. This passion helps you stay committed.

Consistency; this is a huge one! Be consistent with your training, your diet all of it. You can’t cheat and skip workouts, you can’ change things around all the time. If you are training for a marathon you have no choice but to run the miles or reaching that goal won’t happen!

Set the plan and follow it; this goes with consistency. You need to design a training plan, hire a coach who does his for you something along these lines. You need to have a clear plan in place and then you need to follow it with consistency. How are you going to achieve that goal?

No Excuses; OK this one comes with an (astric)  because yes things can happen. Not that they are excuses but sure we get sick, we get injured, work, family things can come up and mess with us but overall we can’t make excuses we just have to get up and put the work in!

Adapt and change along the way; Life tosses us curveballs all the time and when I race I always have a few different goals my A,B,C goals. This way if weather is bad and I have to dial back the pace I can adjust my goal on the fly and still find the positive in the race. If an injury occurs during training, or some other outside factor you did not see coming and it gets you off course step back adjust and move forward with a new goal in mind. Be willing to always adapt to things and do it with a good positive attitude.

 

Setting goals makes life fun! Chasing goals makes life even more fun! To me it’s the journey it’s the hard work I put in each day to make myself better! I love to compete to get on that start line push my limits and see what happens. So my life is all about the various goals I want to chase and how I’m going to get there. The goals help me with my consistency, my commitment and staying focused!  My passion and desire for sport is what keep me motivated and setting new goals and always pushing my limits.

Find what you love, what makes you smile and get out of bed and keep doing it!

Don’t be afraid to get out of the comfort zone, don’t be sacred of hard things and accept a hard challenge and do your best in taking on that challenge!

 

Be inspiring, be amazing! Stay positive! And see you on the race course!

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com 

You just never know? Stay in the moment! Believe!

16 Jan

My inspiration today for my blog post comes from two different people with two different outcomes that happened over the weekend with their races.

 

I’ll start with my friend Julie an athlete that I coach. Julie is an inspiring mom of three a very focused and dedicated athlete who for the last several months has been training for the Houston marathon. She had been working so hard putting in the time, the miles she even changed her diet to get healthier and shed a few pounds. Julie was fit and was ready and focused! But what happened this weekend in Texas was not her fault and it was something she could not control mother nature choose to be rude to marathon runners and brought in warm temps in the 70’s and 96% humidity and if you run you know that is absolute death to overcome! The race had sent participants and email on Friday before the Sunday race warning people of the warm weather and to slow down. What I loved about Julie was she said screw that I’m fit and I’m bad ass!! Let’s run! She was going to plan hydration and nutrition a little different to deal with the elements but pace strategy was staying the same she was going to attack that course and push her limits as planned and hold on as long as she could. Julie ran a strong race through 13 miles but by that point the temps, the humidity all of it just took its toll and she had to slow down. The next 13 miles of that marathon became what I call a death march. But Julie finished, she earned that finisher medal and she did herself proud! And Coach and her teammates on Gotta Have Heart Training are so proud and inspired by her. Now the point of this is people that we can train for months we can do things right be in amazing shape have our mental game all dialed in and then something like weather something that is out of our control can mess it all up. So what I say is we just need to focus on the things we can control, and let go of the things we can’t control. Weather is a huge factor in racing that can make or break our success. Now Julie did no PR or even come close to her PR marathon time. But what she did do is not quit! She stayed strong, she stayed tough and she kept a POSITIVE attitude and a relentless forward motion and she crossed that finish line! Sure as competitive athletes we might have some disappointment the next day trust me I have been here many times. But the success lies within us for pushing through the pain the torture of bad elements and chasing that finish line! I never regret finishing a race even when my time stinks and I miss my goal. I had one DNF once in a marathon because of a bad hamstring and that day haunts me all the time that now I push and push until I cross that line. And even on the worst of days when my mind tells me to quit a 100 times out there I don’t and I keep pushing until I finish. That is exactly what Julie did Sunday and you know what it will make her stronger and better and she will learn from this! So to all of you when adversity kicks you, when things out of your control slow you down and get you off your game adjust and stay positive and focused and never quit. Then reflect back learn and move onto the next day, the next race!

 

Story two of my weekend inspiration comes from my 14 year old daughter Bella. This weekend was a huge and very competitive swim meet at the University of Minnesota. The weekend started out rough as Friday night she swam the 500 freestyle and well she might have kept her time the same as she was seeded with it was way short of her goal and she had a bad swim and was very upset. The frustration was in her and we still had two more days of swimming. Saturday was a new day and she swam 3 more events and posted best times in 2 of the 3 events so things were showing some progress. But then came Sunday morning and a very cranky wake up from a 14 year old girl who was not feeling well and was thinking about scratching and not even swimming that day. After an intense morning at home her mom and I convinced her go swim give it a go and hey if you aren’t feeling well we can scratch your last event the 200 butterfly that you don’t like swimming anyway. So we were kind of thinking she might not even swim the 200 fly that day but just crank out her 200IM and 50 free see what happens and go home. The first two events went OK but she did not really improve time and just sort of stayed the same. She decided hey I’m going to swim this 200 fly as coach would not like me to skip it. Well she got on those blocks dove in and cranked out a best time in the 200 fly and made finals that night!! Her mom sent me a message because I had to leave early and miss that event for work. We were both in shock that she made finals but what we had now was a little girl smiling, happy and full of confidence! Now that evening we needed to go back to the pool late so she could swim in the finals of the 200 butterfly and what did she do but drop another 3 seconds on her time and move up the overall rankings from where she started finals. Another smile and happy 14 year old girl! It was a great way to end a long weekend a weekend full of ups and downs. The point to this story is sometimes we might not want to do something we might not feel so well and we might be scared but if we just go out give it a go and try our best with no expectations just let go and swim, bike, run whatever it is who knows what can happen! I know some days we just don’t feel well some days it seems like our head is not in the game but we have this race we signed up for on the calendar and we don’t want to let ourselves down, our coaches down whoever so we try and rally ourselves to get up for the challenge! And I know even on days when I’m sick and lacking energy the moment I get into the race or workout something clicks and you pull some performance out of your butt that leaves you scratching your head. So don’t ever quit or give up on yourself and when you have those bad races like Bella did on Friday night that left her frustrated you need to quickly turn things around find your positive energy and your groove and just get back out there and go for it!

 

We all fail more times than we win, there are always things out of our control that want to mess with us and get us off our game.  What you need to do in these moments is let go and focus on what you can control and a major thing you can always control is your attitude! You can control believing in yourself and having confidence and when you bring the right positive attitude a level of confidence to any race and any workout well you have now set yourself up for success!!

 

So stay in the game! And you just never know what might happen? So never quit, never give up!

Keep a relentless forward motion going and be proud of just finishing sometimes!

 

Cheers

Coach MB

 

FYI: all the athletes I coach and train with inspire and motivate me so much! And I thank them for that. I just happen to write about Julie and Bella today as my inspiration because they raced this weekend.

Effort and intensity workouts, it’s a fine line.

30 Dec

Today blog education is inspired by the words of Alan Culpepper from his book “Run like a Champion”

Alan has a chapter about effort and intensity; the line I’ll take from the book then elaborate in my own theory about this which will agree with what Alan writes also.

“There may be a fine line between a hard effort and an intense effort, but they are distinctly different concepts in running. A hard effort typically describes the physical output of a workout, or run, while an intense effort relates to the mental or psychological approach.”

 

I really like that because endurance sports, running, swimming, cycling all of it are so much about the mental toughness of an athlete and how an athlete can handle and adapt to things with mental strength. But as athletes we have those hard effort workouts the physical kind that has us breathless and about to puke sometimes.  I would say most people look for or relate to hard efforts more than intense efforts because it’s easy for them to say that was a tough workout that was hard and kicked my butt. A hard effort workout leaves your body exhausted, sore, and grasping for a rest day.

But an intense workout I think is the money workout, when an athlete can tell the difference and understand they are in an intense workout one that challenges them mentally; to me these are the break through workouts! We all have those off days, those days we struggle and the mental game starts talking to us and trying to derail us. But as an athlete when we recognize this intense effort, this mentally tough workout and we power through we dig deep and we get mentally tough, stay positive and succeed the outcome from that can be huge in our growing and moving on to chasing those goals we set for ourselves.

Crossing the line from “hard” effort to “intense” effort is all in your mental approach all in how you think about the workout and attack the workout. To have an intense workout one that will prepare you for race day, you have to let go a little and be very positive! I coach athletes that are far away, but also athletes that are local near me and we train as a group often. The group and team aspect of doing your workouts with training partners can quickly take your hard effort to an intense effort and make the run painful. The workout it’s self could be a challenging tough physical one, but then you mix in that little bit of competitiveness of having a training partner with you and it can become intense and mentally taxing also. By nature we want to keep up or beat our training partners and this type of competition within a training environment has positive and negative effects. I think a person needs to be very strong mentally and very positive upbeat person that can handle adversity, can be patient, and if they are humbled will be OK with that.

Example: Let’s say your workout is a mid distance hard tempo run, you’re coach has prescribed certain paces for you to hit but you are with your training partner who might be similar pace as you but for whatever reason they are feeling really good and fit that day and turn the workout into a harder effort a pseudo race maybe. This can even happen if you are alone and set your watch to beep and tell you if you are getting too slow and not hitting your prescribed paces. What happens now is this workout turns into “intense” because mentally you have to get tough, you have to overcome the physical feeling you have to stay pace with your training partner or what the watch is telling you. (The caution for any runner doing a run or workout is not too add so much intensity that you wind up running harder than what is called for.”  As adding too much intensity can physically deplete you and kick your butt so bad that you struggle the next few days to recover from that workout and then it makes your other workouts suffer. So be cautious when entering into this zone.

 

As a coach, as an athlete I do appreciate the intense workouts that make us work mentally. Racing is hard, racing pushes us mentally just as much or more than it does physically. So often people are scared, they are scared to really go for it! They have fear of bonking, or whatever it is that scares them. When things get tough its human nature for us to shut down, slow down and stop fighting because physically it’s so hard and hurts. This is where having some good “intense” workouts that make us mentally stronger and build confidence within us!

And having confidence and belief within you is king!! I see athletes all the time that have loads of physical talent but they are so mentally weak, so crazy in their head that it derails them and leads them to more failure than success. They can easily shut down when things get tough, I also see where being in the group training element can affect them because their training partner is killing it they can’t keep pace so they shut down and come up with an excuse to quit or run slow. These people need more intense workouts and mental strength work to overcome these things and stay positive and keep pushing and moving and embracing the pain.

Then you see some athletes that are just so strong mentally and when surges happen on a training run, or in a race they can dig deep and withstand the pain that sets in physically, they can overcome the mental demons that make them want to back off and quit because physically it’s so hard. These athletes can find the balance in training between a hard effort and an intense one. They embrace intense efforts and use them to grow and become stronger. But these types of athletes also have to be cautious and not do this too often and then physically beat themselves up and leave them hurt or sore all the time.

So as you see it is just such a fine line between the two as Alan states in his book and as an athlete you need to learn to tell the two apart and embrace both.

One last line from Alan’s book that I agree 100% with!

“Perceived effort is becoming a lost art and must be practiced if there is any hope of running at your best on race day.”  In today’s world we have so much technology, so much data we can collect and so many runners get obsessed with this and focused on this data and technology and so often they need to just let go and perform on perceived effort based on what the day, the course gives them. This approach will also help keep the athlete in a more positive state of mind and in many ways can let them grow and become faster/stronger because they might get into that “intense” workout more and push their limits and not hold back trying to focus on a certain pace. So use the technology, its fun to see the data post workout, but during the workout practice some perceived effort levels and see what happens.

 

Happy Training, Happy Racing, train that mind and get mentally tough and positive to withstand any adversity or negative/painful things tossed your way!

 

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com 

 

 

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!

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com 

 

 

 

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!

Cheers

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!

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com