Tag Archives: #USAT

Letting go of disappointment!

27 Aug

Letting go of a disappointing race.

We all have these moments in life, these moments of disappointment and heartache. These moments that leave us frustrated, and sad. As athletes we spend so much time training, and focused on chasing dreams to have that success and to rise above the competition and then when it does not happen the chrash comes, the disappointment and the million questions of “what if”, “where did it go wrong”, “what could I have done different”. Our minds flow with emotions and we spend the next few weeks trying to let go of these feelings move past that performance and move into the next phase of our training and racing with a new fire, a new focus!

In the book “How bad do you want it” Matt Fitzgerald writes a chapter called “The Art of letting go” I like using that title for talking about the post race blues. Letting go of a bad performance is really hard, endurance athletes, multisport athletes we are all so intense, and driven, type A people with goals and focus and it does not matter if we are 25 year old elite athletes or 43 year old age group athletes. We all have are goals, and what we view as success we all want that chance to stand on a podium or to run that qualifying time standard like a Boston marathon qualifying time. But sometimes the day is just not ours, sometimes it is things within our control that limit us and cause the failure, but often times it is things out of our control that cause us to come up short of the goal we set.

Much of this is fresh in my mind right now because a week ago at ITU World Championships for my main sport of the standard distance Duathlon (10k run, 40k bike, 5k run) I came up short of my goal, I came up disappointed and sad. But I also came out of this race being proud of myself, and developing a new mental toughness, a new strength knowing I can overcome some really hard and painful things. So my emotions all week have been quite the mixed bag. Yet here I set writing about the art of letting go and this is typically a process I myself must go through after every major race, at the end of my seasons this is part of my healing process.
My race came up short last week in Penticton, Canada because of an injury. I had tweaked my hamstring a few days prior to the race and even after all the treatments from the TEAM USA staff I could not get it to release and heal and be ready to go at 100%. And even with this pain, and knowing that my hamstring could explode (and it did) at any moment I still toed the line that day with a confidence and I am going for it attitude!
I raced in pain, I endured a new level of pain to fight through and I found a new mental toughness, a never give up, never quit toughness that pushed me through the race and over the finish line. For that I am proud but again here I sit trying to learn to let go of this performance that was far shy of my goal, my dream for the past year and now move on into the next phase of my training and racing. Letting go of these feelings and emotions is hard and what I will say to each of you that needs to go through this same process is flow with it, have the moments of sadness, have the moments of disappointment, but yet have the moments of happiness and success as well! Because not always is success measured in a podium finish or a BQ time on the marathon course. Sometimes success is measured in the small battles, the things we overcame just to finish a race. And even when you come shy of a top 3 in the World (podium) finish like I did you can still have a quality result and find something to be proud of and build on like my race I might have missed the bronze or silver medal but I can say I was the top American! And I was the top American and still 12th in the world with an injured hamstring and not racing at 100%. This will give me confidence to build on as I progress into next season, set new goals and chase my dreams. This is what you need to do also as an athlete and as you let go of the heartache of a bad race and move onto the next one. Find the positive in the failure and use it to fuel you and help you grow as an athlete and as a person.
When failure happens, or you come shy of the success you wanted. Don’t blame others just look at yourself say it’s now in the past and then move into the future.

It’s not easy to let go, but once you can let go and move on with a smile, and a proud confidence in you then the growth can begin and the next chapter can start.
Best of Luck everyone! Keep chasing dreams, don’t ever give up! Don’t let failure make you doubt yourself because we all go through these low moments in life to reach the high moments.
Coach MB


BC2017 MB run


Let go of the past, focus on the future!

12 Feb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



Coach MB


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