Tri Coach Tuesday: Maximizing the Coach-Athlete Relationship

The Coach/Athlete Relationship
How to Get the Most out of Your Coach

by Peter S. Alfino

Whether you have already hired a coach or are thinking of hiring a coach there are certain steps you can take to foster the Coach/Athlete relationship. Each coach has their own style and philosophies, but there are certain expectations an athlete should have when they hire a coach. Setting your expectations upfront is crucial in establishing a mutually beneficial working relationship.

At minimum you should ask the following questions during the selection process. How and when will my training plan be provided? What type of review process do you have in place? If I need to ask you a question what is the best manner in which to reach you? What are your pre and post race notification requirements? A good coach will explain their processes up front but this doesn’t exclude you from communicating your preferences. Following are some suggestions on how to make the most of your relationship with your coach.

Goals: 
Establish goals and benchmark sessions to measure progress along the way. This is a “given” and I won’t spend a lot of time on goal establishment. Discuss your race plan and ask for your coaches input. Ask what tests and criteria they use to establish fitness gains. At the end of the season how will you and your coach evaluate progress and success?

Timely and Open Communication:
The cooperation of both the athlete and coach is required if there is to be effective communication.

Coaches should provide workouts that are clear and concise. What are the duration, intensity, terrain and desired outcomes of your workout? What phase of training are you in and what purpose does your current block of training play in the annual training plan? How will you receive your workouts and when can you expect to have your plan for the upcoming week or months of training?

The athlete can foster the relationship by providing meaningful feedback on how they absorbed the workouts provided. In short, fill out your training logs in a timely manner and be thorough. “Completed” “done” “that was hard” tells your coach very little. Provide information on how you felt before, during and after the session. How did your body feel during the main set of the workout? What was your wattage? Heart rate? Pacing? What successes or obstacles did you encounter during the session? What was your mental state of mind? How did you sleep the night before? How has your diet been? The more relevant information you share, the easier it becomes for your coach to develop a plan with your fitness gains in mind.

The first step towards quality communication with your coach is to realize that you play a key role in fostering the relationship. Many times, important factors which influence performance are left unmentioned. Remember this is a business relationship. Coaches don’t want to play counselor. Share only information that impacts your training but don’t expect your coach to give you advice outside of the sport.

Trust:
When you make the decision to hire a coach you are putting your faith in their hands. There are different methods which lead to the finish line of any race. If you hire someone to drive “your bus” for the season then let them drive the bus. The internet, training partners and magazine articles can all provide distractions and plant a seed of doubt in your mind. Don’t give up on your training program before giving it adequate time to be evaluated. Don’t be afraid to ask your coach about different philosophies and methods. A good coach will be fair, firm and honest with you.

What to Expect from your Coach:
Realize that not every coach has all the answers. If they don’t have an answer then they should provide assistance on where to find the answer. Your coach has a life and don’t expect them to be available 365/24/7. Respect your coach’s time and ask them when it is acceptable to call for questions and what a reasonable response time should be when you contact them.

What can you do to foster the relationship?
If you don’t know something then ask? Coaches love to teach about the sport and like when athletes become life long students. Work hard and be consistent day in and day out. Coaches will work harder for athletes who work hard to achieve the goals established up front.

The dept of the coach/athlete relationship is formed when both parties have pre established goals and expectations and two way communication is established. Make the most of your coach by taking an active role.

Read the full article here

USA TRIATHLON HALL OF FAME NOMINATION WINDOW TO CLOSE DECEMBER 1

Select elite athlete, age-group athlete and contributor nominees to be inducted next August in Cleveland

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The deadline to nominate elite athletes, age-group athletes and contributors to the ninth induction class of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame is approaching quickly, with nominations being accepted until Dec. 1. New inductees to the Hall of Fame will be honored during a banquet in Cleveland on Aug. 9, 2018, in conjunction with the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships from Aug. 11-12.

Launched in 2008, the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame serves to recognize, honor and commemorate those individuals and groups that have demonstrated excellence in every aspect of multisport, thereby inspiring others to elevate their own performance, participation and community involvement.

Categories of eligibility include elite athletes, age-group athletes and contributors. The elite and age-group athlete categories recognize individuals who, while licensed as an elite or age-group athlete respectively by USA Triathlon, competed with great success in national or world events over a period of years; demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship; and contributed in other ways to the betterment of multisport.

To be nominated in the elite category, an athlete must not have competed as an elite for at least three years prior to consideration or must be at least 40 years old.

For both elite and age-group categories, achievements in all disciplines governed by USA Triathlon may be considered — including triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, paratriathlon, off-road triathlon and winter triathlon.

The contributor category is intended to honor an individual who has made significant contributions to the growth, reputation, character and/or success of any of the disciplines governed by USA Triathlon. A wide variety of roles may be considered under this designation, including but not limited to: sport pioneers; event organizers; officials; coaches; trainers; inventors of equipment, processes or systems; members of the media; volunteers; or others who have served the governing body.

Anyone may submit nominations in one or multiple of the eligible categories. All nominations will be reviewed by a selection committee to ensure that nominees meet the criteria. All nominations meeting the criteria will then be forwarded to a voting committee, which will consider the merits of each nominee and make the final designation.

The nomination form is available at usatriathlon.org/halloffame and can be either completed and submitted directly online or emailed to Ellis.davis@usatriathlon.org.

How to Recover like a Pro

From Boulder Sports Clinic

As an athlete of any kind, we are always pushing the limits of our body. Workouts break us down. In order to reach the finish line of our next race we need our body to adapt to the stress of training.

Have you ever been sore after a workout? Of course! That soreness is a sign that you’ve successfully broken down muscle tissue during your activity that is required to become better, faster, and stronger.

We frequently read about the latest training recommendations in the world, which claim to shape you into a better athlete: training supplements, nutritional fads, ice baths, muscle rubs, compression garments, and stretching……

 

What is the optimal recovery routine? To answer that question we sat down with top American professional triathlete Justin Metzler.

In addition to year-round training, Justin raced twelve 70.3s, or half Ironman distance triathlons last year on five continents with multiple podium finishes. This level of consistent racing requires massive weekly hours of swimming, biking, and running with many of those days having multiple training sessions. In order to recover from one session enough to hit the next just as hard, he has dialed in the most effective recovery tools-and he is sharing his secrets with us.

How do you recover from a typical training session?

Immediately following a training session or race I have a recovery drink. Regardless of the type of session or which sport, any type of workout will break down muscle and deplete glycogen stores. My immediate goal is to replenish the glycogen and supply my body with the amino acids it needs to rebuild the muscle I just broke down. After trying a lot of different flavors and brands, I prefer First Endurance Ultragen. It has the optimal balance of carbohydrate to protein in addition to a number of essential vitamins and minerals to help rebuild for the next session. Not to mention, it tastes great!

When I can, I tend to structure the training to have enough down time in between the workouts to allow me to relax, put my feet up, and grab some food. In between sessions I am primarily focusing on foods high in protein and nutrient density. Some examples include lean meats, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.

What is a typical routine after your training is completely done for the day?

After the training is done I try to relax, answer emails, talk with my nutrition and coaching clients, and make a healthful dinner with my girlfriend- fellow professional triathlete, Jeanni Seymour. Just like everyone else, our day-to-day is quite busy and we often are out training from dawn to dusk. But we always try to make dinner a time that we can cook together, eat together and catch up on the days activities. Once or twice a week, we have a glass of red wine to help relax!

Before bed, I always try to use my Normatec boots for somewhere between 30-60 minutes. On harder days I go for less time at a softer setting. On easier days I bump up the intensity and sit in them for a bit longer. The boots are a great tool to aid in recovery but I try not to disrupt my body’s natural recovery process.

I always have some form of protein before bed. Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or whey protein are my ‘go-to’s. The protein helps give my body what it needs recover over night, the time when the majority of your recovery gains will be made. People often overlook the fact that your ability to improve is dictated by your ability to absorb training load. So recovery is equally important to any hard training session that you may do.

How much sleep do you get each night?

As I mentioned, sleep is a big priority for me. I have spent the money necessary to have a great mattress, sound machine, ear plugs, etc in order to try to get the most quality sleep I can every night. I aim to get 8-10 hours a night, and I don’t usually nap unless I fail to get my normal amount of sleep.

Do you have recovery days built into your training plan?

My training is structured to have some days of active recovery. On recovery days, I use the lighter workouts as a warm up for any foam rolling, stretching, or rehab exercises I may need to focus on. I also try to schedule chiropractic and massage appointments every week to help address any small issues before they become something I actually have to worry about.

Do you take any supplements?

The only supplements I take are fish oil (I like the KLEAN or Zone Labs brands) and a multivitamin (First Endurance multi-v is my favorite). As a professional who gets drug tested regularly, I watch what I consume carefully. I find that with a proper healthful diet, most people don’t need many supplements. Shoot for a minimum of four fruits and four vegetables every day.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to any runner or triathlete about recovery?

Nail your nutrition. You should have just as much importance placed on fueling correctly as you do building a training schedule. The worst thing to happen to any endurance athlete in a race is hitting the wall and having to slow down or get the dreaded DNF.

In every workout you use stored glycogen for fuel. If you deplete the glycogen stores you hit the wall. To fully come back from depleting your stores, it takes days or weeks. This means your next workouts suffer or you’re not able to complete them.

The key is to never let your glycogen stores get too low. Think of it like the fuel gage on your car. Try to never let it dip below 25-50% capacity.

I try to have a form of carbohydrates every 30 minutes during a workout. A gel, half a bar, banana, or sports drink, helps to make sure my “fuel tank” never falls below the level I am shooting for.

How does Boulder Sports Chiropractic help you?

It is so important to stay on top of injury risk. My body is my livelihood and if I’m injured, I can’t race! Getting weekly treatments to focus on any tightness I may have from shoulder pain to calf tightness keeps me from having any injury set backs. I love the Active Release Technique and dry needling. In addition to massage and rehab; chiropractic care and the modalities Boulder Sports Chiropractic rely on are a critical part to my body work protocol.

More about Justin…

In addition to professional triathlon, Justin has a degree in human physiology and nutrition. He has a unique set of skills developed through hours in the classroom paired with 10 years of multisport experience. When he is not training, he helps athletes like you build customized nutrition plans to address any weakness in training, racing or general body composition.

Services Justin offers: one-on-one monthly coaching, race specific training plans, race nutrition strategies, race weight planning, daily nutrition strategies for optimal body composition and general nutrition guidelines.

If you feel like you could benefit from building a proper nutrition plan for training/racing, or to learn more about the services that Justin offers, contact him at:

Contact Justin

At Boulder Sports Chiropractic, we use movement screens to biomechanically evaluate how your whole body is moving and how it works together.We use the best techniques to address your source of pain and dysfunction including Active Release Technique, Graston, and Dry Needling.

We send every patient home with the rehab exercises or stretches to give you the tools to fix the problem, not just treat the symptoms! Contact us today to schedule your appointment.