Do you find that you most often become sick when you are really busy sitting on your ass, eating leftover Thanksgiving day desserts and contemplating the state of your out-of-shapeness?
I was sick just a few weeks back with a lovely stomach virus, and now I have a nasty head cold. whimper whimper. I give in to thee, oh Gods of sickness! Forgive me! I will do your bidding from this day forth!
Of course, I have no idea what that bidding might be. Scratch that idea.
I took DayQuil, which seemed a good idea at the time, but I am now a little light headed and woozy. I'm wondering how the bike ride coming up is going to go. Maybe I should do it on the trainer....hmmmm?
I foresee a bit of a problem with balance...
Because I have this DayQuil-treated head cold my ability to think coherently is limited, so bear with me. I want to write about PLANS.
So much of training and coaching is about planning. This week and last I have been steadily working on the ATPs (annual training plans) of my athletes. ATPs are fun to make (at least I think so) because so much is possible before any of the minutiae gets in the way. Your athlete wants to achieve X. You start playing with phases and hours and prep races and soon you have created a path to get from where the athlete is today, to where the athlete wants to be to achieve X.
And full of promise.
I love me a good plan.
Problems ensue, however, and this is where the challenge of being a coach comes into play. The plan is the easy, fun part. Detouring effectively when life gets in the way of the plan--that, like in life--is the hard part.
We (the athlete and I) are traveling down the beautiful, planned out road to achieve the golden X. All is good. And then BAM! The athlete's Aunt Esther dies and the weekend workout you had planned so carefully will not just be reduced--it will not happen. So you carefully manipulate the week--which affects the next week, which affects the whole mesocycle.
So you navigate that little snafu, get the athlete back on track and you are still on the way to the golden X, albeit having experienced a small, unexpected bump in the pavement. But then the athlete gets a cold that he doesn't tell you about, and it turns into a major illness that knocks him out of 5 days of training.
Now there is a major snafu for you.
So once again you carefully manipulate the plan so that the five days is just a nice break-- a needed break. You gently push the athlete back onto the road to X again... and you are back! The golden X is in sight once again!
And then the athlete decides, on a whim, that he NEEDS to do this upcoming 5k, and do you think he can PR? And it's in the middle of a build week, where you hadn't intended to taper him at all, but he won't PR if you don't taper him a bit...
It goes on.
It's definitely a craft.
What is interesting to me at this point is how my coach constructs and deals with my ATP. Because I craft my own athletes' ATPs so carefully, and then I spend the rest of the year navigating the inevitable detours the athlete experiences, I am acutely aware of how much I don't want to fuck up the ATP made for me. But sickness, vacations, knock down dead spousal "disagreements" that leave you without a night's sleep, your kid's swim meet, a sharp little pain that might turn into an injury, a new race I JUST HAVE TO DO--they all happen to me, too. And it's sometimes hard for me to see that it's okay to have my own own ATP manipulated to accommodate such roadblocks. I want to get to X. I know what is required to get to X. I want to steamroll any roadblocks and get on with the PLAN to X!
We Type A personalities are practiced in the art of not letting the roadblocks get in the way. But the tricky thing about triathlon (and running/swimming--or any other endurance sport) is that if you steamroll the roadblocks because you want X so desperately--it often backfires.
Which is why it's good to have a coach. Because usually the coach can convince you that the road to X is not, despite what you once thought, the original PLAN that was made. It can't be.
And so we plan. And then accommodate the roadblocks and plan again. and again. and again.
But right now... ahhhhh.
Looking out at the landscape of winter and my neat, orderly, clean ATPs so carefully constructed and untainted by the roadblocks to come, I feel excited. You are all going to make it to X! All of you! And so am I!
The ATPs are ready to be wrecked. And I'm ready to redirect. We will all get to X! WOOT!