Tag Archives: running

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!

 

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com 

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

 

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 

 

 

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!

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

 

 

Without passion and desire… Well?

7 Nov

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coach MB

 

Chicago Cubs World Champs! Never Give up!

3 Nov

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Never Give up!

Coach MB