Tag Archives: #findfaster

Sharing your passions with your kids.

5 Jun

Finally I’m back writing my blog. I’m sorry to all my wonderful followers that I’ve been away but life has been nuts!

This week I have something special to write about and that is the joy I share getting to train and race with my 14 year old daughter Bella.

Having the same passions as your kid and getting to share these moments together is simply heartwarming and amazing! I just spent the weekend training with Bella as we prepare her for her first Triathlon of 2017 and dad’s first as well.

This coming weekend is Trinona Triathlon and Bella and I will be down south racing the sprint distance in what we call the daddy vs. daughter showdown!

Bella has been racing Triathlon since she was 7-8 years old and until last year she was just in youth/kids distance races like the Iron-Kids series. 2016 as she was 13 turning 14 she finally aged up to enter into sprint distance races (adult ones) which meant her and I could start training together more, and racing together!

One of the best moments of this training season was a week ago taking Bella out on a 26 mile bike ride with a group of women I coach and having her keep up and even push the pace on them! Sharing moments like this with your kid, simply put a huge smile on my face! Sure we have our moments out there because we are both a little stubborn and it can be hard to be dad and coach at the same time. But overall we have a blast together and we learn from each other!

So this weekend in Winona Bella and I have a small bet on who will win. Sure we have to create a bit of an equalizer time standard. But Bella is a way faster swimmer than I am, she bikes pretty strong and she can run. So it shall be an interesting race against the clock and each other. We both have just a bit of competitive nature in us. Ha

For me as dad it will just be so awesome to be in transition with her, and walk to the lake for that swim start together! Hopefully I can catch her on the course and give her a cheer! And when we both cross the finish line get our medals and are able to hug each other well that is going to be priceless.

Find things you can do with your kids like this, introduce them to your passions and you might find out they have a passion for it also! Because sharing moments like this with your kids is simply the best!

Bella and I have a full summer of racing together including USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in August in Omaha NE.  So it’s going to be an amazing summer, a fun one filled with a lot of heart and guts but one we both will remember forever! As we push each other to our limits!


Best of luck this weekend to all the athletes doing Trinona!



Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.comMB and BB Freewheel 2017 


Let go of the past, focus on the future!

12 Feb

As athletes especially competitive athletes who set goals and chase goals we often times get lost in the past chasing our success of yesteryear. This can be OK if we keep the right mindset but it can also be mentally draining and have negative effect on us.

This thought got brewing in my mind this morning on a run, reflecting back over data of several years of racing and training and asking that question inside ourselves “why can’t I get my times back to where they were three years ago?”

So that question has many different answers and paths, and it’s not that even as we age that we can’t get back to our youthful days of performance it’s how we do things, how we believe in ourselves mentally (confidence) and how we progress and keep moving.

As a coach I meet a lot of athletes without a lot of years of experience in racing or training for endurance events like marathon or a Triathlon. So as I meet these athletes and coach them and train them in a proper way to make improvements they make these massive gains and improvements over the course of the next 3-5 years and it builds all sorts of confidence in them which is wonderful. But as time goes by as an athlete gets faster and faster the rate of gain becomes smaller, now instead of every race being a PR time, it’s every few races or maybe one race per year and the others are still solid strong performances but just not at that rate of gain like they had in the early years of a focused training plan.  I have found with age group athletes and this equates to myself as well. That for many years we do this leisure way of training we just sort of workout at one level of intensity, we do things as we like with no true plan or understanding how to push our limits and get better. Then we decide to take things to another level, we hire a coach we begin to read some and learn and change our patterns for training. We now do interval sessions, we cross train, we increase mileage, we do slow recovery efforts and so on. As we make this shift we see these rapid changes within ourselves we watch race times quickly make huge leaps and get faster and faster and we are glowing with confidence and happiness/excitement. 

But as time goes and that PR in a marathon goes from 10 minutes shaved time to 10 seconds we start to have doubt in ourselves, doubt in our ways of doing things and methods. It can mentally drain us and make us feel down and less confident. This is that negative effect that can only be fixed with a shift within our mind. A new approach to things and believing in ourselves.

As athletes we have to understand that in the early years we will see massive gains in time drops but as we get faster and stronger those gains become smaller because the athlete is performing at such a high level all ready. We can’t take this as a negative but yet stay focused and positive and understand it.  Many of us age group athletes like myself had some really fast good times for the marathon etc… in our late 20’s and early 30’s but as we keep going and get into our 40’s then 50’s things change our bodies are a little different and we don’t quite have some of the speed like we use to. (This is not to say that past 40 you are done because I know a lot of wicked fast 40 and 50 year olds out there people who keep on getting faster and can stick it to the young kids) So don’t think you are past your prime and past setting personal best times because you are not. You just have to sometimes say it won’t happen as often, you need to be even more focused about your training, your sleep, your diet all the little things. Things that we could skip and short change a little in our younger days but as we get older we can’t.

I also find with athletes that struggle in this area of comparing times and fitness too years past is that most the time they still have it in them and they still have all that speed to get faster but because they trained so hard for those early years they get to the end of a season take a mental break and some time off (which I think all athletes no matter what level they are need these breaks at the end of the season) but they extend those breaks they say I’ll take one month relaxed and easy and not focused, one more turns into two and then into three and next thing they know their friends started training and getting focused a month or two ago and now they are lagging behind trying to catch up and mentally this bogs them down and makes them lose confidence. This is the point the athlete needs to let go and start pushing their limits, less thinking and just stay within themselves, keep training hard with passion and focus and in due time they will catch up to the others and then pass the others because deep inside them is all the speed and strength they just have to dig it out again. So these “end of season time offs” can be a good thing and a bad thing if not managed properly.  So when you take a break take a week or two off then enter back into building fitness with moderate workouts but if you have goals the next season and want to get back to work you can only allow these breaks to last so long before you get back into a routine otherwise you play catch up half the year and will set yourself back from continuing to grow and set personal bests. The movie American Flyers had a great line a quote at the training center. “Once you got it up, keep it up” I live by that and love it.  As an athlete myself I allow mental breaks, but fitness breaks I don’t allow much of that I just find a new way to do things to keep myself engaged and staying fit. Try this approach to make sure you don’t lose too much fitness and spend months or trying to get in shape again before your training cycle kicks in and that race approaches that you want to excel in.

But at the end of the day, no matter our age, our years of training and racing, our experience level all of it. We can still chase dreams, we can still get faster and stronger, and we can still set personal bests. Because the root to continued success lies within us, within our mind! It’s all about mental toughness! It’s all about how bad do you want it, how hard are you willing to work, how much pain are you willing to endure? When the workout is hard, the intervals are fast are you going to keep pushing your limits and fighting? Or are you going to make an excuse and back off and quit? At the end of the day the answer to any growth and success is all about your mental toughness, and How Bad do you want it! How much are you willing to work for that success because the success the growth the PR times don’t come with half hearted efforts, and just thinking about it, thinking it will come easy. They will only come if you have passion, desire, fire, and a relentless forward motion and positive attitude to push even when you think you can’t push anymore.


Go be great! Never stop believing! Never think your days are over and you can’ grow!

Because it’s all crap! No matter your age or fitness level you can always grow, always get faster and always keep having success chasing dreams and goals!



Coach MB


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!


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


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



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

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



Emotions… How they can affect performance.

28 Oct

Emotions are part of being human emotions can be positive and they can be negative the can enhance our performance and decrease it. Emotions come in many different forms emotions are our feelings and reactions to things that happen to us.

When we have negative, sad emotions things that are building up inside of us from some outside frustrations maybe how a person has treated us, maybe that sadness of a fight/argument with a friend or family member. Those types of emotions that come from that will decrease your performance it will suck energy you need to perform and make you feel tired and strain during the workout or race. I love running for letting go of emotions like this but I also know during this time my performance lacks. I run and all of us run for various reasons and one of those reasons I think a lot of people use running for is to let go of some emotions of the sad variety and just clear their head. Running is a wonderful tool for this just be warned that all that extra energy used being emotional inside about what is troubling you will decrease performance and make the workout feel hard.

The goal and key is to hopefully eliminate these types of emotions around race days when you need your max energy and focus for the race.

Using Emotions as fuel can be powerful. Anger and that internal fire to prove someone wrong can be huge in motivating an athlete to push through pain and really perform at a high level.  The emotion can start out as a negative maybe a coach or a outside source is making you feel a little bad and not believing in you that you can rise to the challenge and so you take that emotion and turn it into fuel into a positive of angry energy to push through the race and come out with another kind of emotion Smiles and sense of confidence and a little I told you so.

Sometimes I have used this approach in coaching I have tried to anger the athlete in a touch of a way that it motivates them and fires them up to go kick ass and really perform strong. Now one must be careful with this approach as depending on the person you are trying this with it could backfire.

I love to race and push on emotions on the powerful passionate confident angry type of emotions that become good fuel and don’t drain my energy. Those days when you feel your back is against the wall and everyone is rooting against you and hoping you fail that is sometimes when I really shine and I’ve seen a lot of athletes really shine here! There is something to be said for performing with a chip on your shoulder so to speak.

The emotions of arrogance and feeling over confident these are very tricky. We all need to feel confident and believe in ourselves in our ability to perform and reach goal. But we also can become quite lazy and maybe not give that 100% effort when we have our emotions going so much in this direction. These types of emotions don’t per say drain your energy level but more don’t use all your energy and typically leave you saying ugh I had more in the tank and I failed because I did not prepare myself for this event because I thought it would be easy because I’m so good. I’ve seen this as a coach often times athletes that have a lot of success and are truly talented that they don’t always get up for each event and then when another athlete comes in riding that crazy emotion of anger and the chip on their shoulder the athlete with that emotion of arrogance gets beat. So be cautious if you fall into this zone be confident as you need that but never under estimate your competition and think you can slack off cause you have the race won.

So as humans as people who have hearts, and many different emotions that flow through us and rapidly change assess what emotions are happening inside of you, think about how you can try and control your emotions and either ignore the negative sad ones that drain so much energy from you that it becomes a struggle to move your legs, or how you can take the anger focused, driven type of emotions and turn them into fire to kick some butt and perform at a high level reaching goals.

The goal is to find out how you can take your emotions and turns them into positive fuel not have them suck your energy away.

Make sense?


Go be great! And run high on emotions!!


Coach MB