I am my new coach. I see this as an experiment. If I were going to publish the results in a peer-reviewed journal (such as American Journal of Picked-Last-For-Every-Team Turns Middle of Pack Ironman Triathlete), this would be a case study. The research method would be mostly qualitative. The literature on this topic is limited largely to my entries in workoutlog.com, emails found in my sent mail to former coach and mentor John Hirsch, and some anecdotal evidence within this blog.
I have to admit, I have some hesitation about the self-coaching thing. When I did my first marathon, in 2001, I trained with only a beginners plan copied from Runners World as my guide. I would do my long run on Sunday, limp around and use the elliptical Monday, Tuesday, and usually Wednesday. Then I would run again Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I did not know if this was normal. I didn’t really have anyone to ask and that was ok with me. I did what I thought I was supposed to do. I was terrified to skip a workout, so I followed the plan exactly and ended up running the only the only marathon to date where I was able to post a negative split. Since that time, I have had a lot of trouble following my own plans. My conversations with myself went like this way too often:
“You are supposed to do x workout tonight.”
“But I’m tired.”
“Yeah but its on your schedule.”
“The one I made up.”
“And who are you, anyway? What do you know about training plans? Are you a professional all of a sudden?”
“Uh… I don’t know….no. I kind of pulled the plan out of my a**, I guess. But still, shouldn’t I do the workout?”
“I would listen to my body. Its not like you really know enough about it to be giving coaching advice.”
“True. A nap would be the best move right now. Would you mind shutting my ringer off and turning off the light?”
After I got a coach in 2006, I shed my wicked workout-skipping ways. I have never been a rule-follower. I am more of a big-picture person than a lover of details. But when it came to training, I’d be damned if I didn’t follow the advice that I paid a professional to dispense. Moreover I didn’t have a clue how to even begin training for an ironman. I needed the plans, the advice, the experience and the encouragement John had to offer.
Make no mistake, I am still an attention whore. Some things do not change. Feel free to shower me with encouragement and/or praise anytime, regarding anything. I will never turn it away. As for the other stuff however, I think I am starting to get a handle on it. I know what I need to work on, I know what has worked for me and I know what hasn’t. I know for sure that sticking to the plan as it is written is one of the best ways to feel/be ready on race day. For me, nothing is worse than toeing the line knowing I did not committ fully to the training.
So this is what my mean coach told me to do today. It was horrible but I think its good for me. Moreover, this is one that could EASILY be done at home or modified to be done even in a hotel room. Check this out! I could only take 22 minutes of this kind of torture. I aim to do it one to two times a week for 30 minutes each.
Do a circuit of of about a minute each of:
1) jump rope
2) ab work (I used the ball)
3) side- jump alternate directions onto and off of a step aerobics step (I used two blocks. Taller people, ie everyone may want to use more)
4) jump as high as possible, land in a squat, repeat
5) ab work
6) “mountain man”- you are down like you are about to do a pushup but instead, lunge forward with one leg, then the other, alternating, while hands still on the ground.