Tag Archives: training

A Few coaching/athlete thoughts…

17 Oct

This morning on my recovery run my mind floated all over the place as it typically does. The topics that came to mind are.
1. I believe all races/events should support and be sanctioned by the sports governing body like say Triathlon. It’s frustrating that all races are not USAT sanctioned and support them. USAT does so much for our sport and our athletes that we should all be members and all should support them! In Minnesota for some reason race directors don’t seem to feel this way and very few races are USAT sanctioned and that really disappoints me.
2. Coach/athlete relationships. As a coach and as an athlete, as a parent of a daughter who is a competitive athlete in swimming, running, Triathlon I’ve had a lot of experience here and seen many different styles. Not all coaches are the right fit for each athlete and this does not mean they are a bad coach; it just means their style and approach is not right for the athlete. Just like not all athletes can be coached the same, we are talking about sports like Triathlon, running, swimming etc… not a team sport like football. I can say that several athletes I have coached over the years has much better success when I coached them, than when they left and tried to go another path and some athletes, I coached have had success going another path so again really depends on the situation and the athlete. A coach really needs to get to know their athlete and what makes them perform, how to handle them emotionally, mentally, and physically. Like myself I know I can handle intense workouts, I can handle failure better than most and use it to fire me up and focus on the next event. I also know how to relax and do what I need to do to save energy and perform. Some athletes when a coach or outside party puts so much pressure on them, they actually stress, wear down their body and their performance suffer from the pressure and stress. Instead a coach needs to relax the athlete, help calm the nerves and help them relax and believe in themselves. When you build the confidence into the athlete and the athlete believes in that confidence and believes they have the ability to perform at a certain level a lot of times they will rise up and dig deep.
3. You can’t expect yourself or an athlete to peak at every race, to have that magical performance. So I believe how some coaches handle things making kids fight for their spot week in and week out and expect an athlete to always be on top of their game when they have stress and demands of workouts and weekly races and everything else a kid in college or high school goes through does not seem fair or right. Same goes for age group athletes or even pro level athletes. A race schedule needs to be thought out and planned. You can’t make all races be an “A” race and you can’t expect to PB or have amazing results at every race you do. Sometimes you train through races, are sore and tired and so your performance won’t be stellar and that’s OK because the goal of that race is not to be on top of your game but rather a solid workout and gain some race experience. I know a lot of college programs sort out in the pre-season who their top athletes are on the team those that will be in the championship season team and then they don’t race them much during the season rather they train them and taper them for the important events and let them skip the smaller ones. This makes a lot of sense to me, why try and race a kid week in and week out and fight for their spot? You only have 1-2 peak/great performances in you for a season so save them and use them on the days it matters most!
4. I believe you need to look at the athlete’s entire body of work! End of season awards, critics reviews, coaches picking who races at what events all of it age groupers to NCAA or high school teams. Don’t just focus on one race, rather look at the athlete’s entire body of work the entire season! If an athlete is consistently performing better than others all season long then why base awards, decisions on just one race/event? Like when athletes win end of season awards often times it’s sort of out of sight out of mind. So, if one athlete did most of their racing in the early season and was crushing it and because of things in their life did not race as much end of season, but another athlete raced more end of season I often see the nod go to the end of season athlete. This happens in football all the time, for things like the Heisman or an MVP if the better player is on a bad team and not winning games, and their season is cut short while other players go to bowl games or the playoffs it’s so easy for the better player to be overlooked for the athlete who is on the better team but maybe not the better player. Also, when looking over an athlete’s body of work you need to look at the events, what was the competition? Did they rise up against the good competition or are those results in small little races with no competition? Then you might need to consider weather conditions? And courses as well.
5. Learn about yourself and learn about your athlete! As a coach of age group athletes for many years, athletes of many different ability and age, and female or male. I have learned that you can’t coach each of them the same. I would say the same goes for younger athletes as well on NCAA or high school teams. I would say that Bella and I are similar and that our bodies have become accustomed to Triathlon training and mix of the three sports. So, when the two of us focus on running events and try to run train more and limit the amount of swimming and biking we do our bodies actually suffer and run slower than when we limit the run miles and focus on all three sports. Some athletes can thrive on high miles of running and some can’t. I use to be a high mileage run guy when I was doing a lot of marathons, but I believe I broke myself down more during that time and spent more money and time at massage and various therapy to recover than when I focused on less miles, but quality miles and then did more swim and bike. This can take time to figure out but if the athlete and coach have a good relationship, they will figure this out and do what is best for the athlete that in turn becomes better for the team. I’m excited about going back to the marathon sometime soon on my new method of training where I run less miles and do more bike rides for endurance recovery days. Focus my runs on intensity and pace work. The same for Bella during Triathlon season she could run 19:08 5k off a swim and bike, but then comes cross country season and she is just running and her times slow down by one minute or more because her legs are just not responding to the workouts and mileage. I believe had she kept training like a Triathlete her cross-country times for 5k would have been below 20 minutes all season. She had one of her best races of the season when she was coming off being sick and had little extra rest and some cross training. So, learn about your athletes and don’t be so rigid! They are not all the same.
6. Some athletes thrive in a group setting, some athletes thrive solo. I love group training, and I love a supportive team atmosphere! I do think most athletes will get better this way, and will push harder as long as the team the coach the athletes are all positive and a good mesh. When I was coaching this way many of my athletes really flourished! But some athletes that came into the group just were not a good fit. Nothing against that person just not the right style of fit for me as coach or the athletes in my group. But when you get the right combination of athletes and coach in a group man thing can really boom and a lot of growth and success can happen!
7. Learn to flow with change, learn to adopt new methods, don’t be rigid and try new ways! As a coach and athlete, I have learned you can’t keep doing the same old workouts, same old method of training year in and year out. You need to sure keep some things that work and change some things that don’t work. We can’t be archaic in our ways but adapt and go with new technology, new trends and try some new things. I always loved this approach with coaching athletes at group workouts. I wanted them to learn how to quickly roll with change and how to expect the unexpecting. Race situations things can change quickly and often especially in endurance races like say Ironman. We need to learn as athletes that we can’t control everything and can’t always plan for everything. So being in a workout thinking you’re doing 8×400 and then coach tosses out now do 4 more 400’s during the workout that can make a quick positive or negative affect in your mind and you must learn how to adapt quickly and stay positive. The same goes with planning out an athlete’s workouts for the season. I never want to plan too far in advance because I like to see how the athlete progresses and handles certain things. I also am a coach/athlete who studies a lot and likes to learn from others and then try some of those things learned on myself or other athletes and see how it works? I believe we always need to keep an open mind and be learning and changing.
8. No matter what happens in training and in racing, always stay positive! And Always believe in yourself! Don’t let one race get you down, don’t let one race determine your season or ability as an athlete!
9. Be open and honest and have good communication! As an athlete speak your mind to your coach and give feedback, let them know what is working and what is not. Let them know what methods work best with you and how you respond to things. Coach be open to this communication and be willing to change your thoughts and methods or give a good reason why, and explanation of the workout and why? Find the key words and ways to handle the athlete or coach emotionally. I find this is the biggest challenge and biggest thing that can bring success. How to handle the emotions of other people, how to get them fired up and in the zone, how to relax them and how to make them feel positive about themselves!
10. Just have fun and smile! And show gratitude and feel blessed! Having the ability to swim, bike, run is amazing! Don’t take it for granted, don’t waste your gift, don’t blow your talent! Embrace it!

Thanks for listening, if you agree, if you like this, if you want a coach. Please leave a comment, send me a note as I love to hear from you!
Just enjoy life and each moment you are given! No Limits! Never Give up!
Peace
Coach MB

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 

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

16 Jan

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Cheers

Coach MB

 

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

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

30 Dec

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com 

 

 

Training by perceived effort.

5 Dec

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

17 Nov

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Happy Training and remember you have to love to train!

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com 

 

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!

Cheers

Coach MB

www.gottahavehearttraining.com

#findfaster #lovetotrain #noexcuses #gottahaveheart