Those who have coached me (namely Kurt and Jen) have told me I read and think too much. Obviously they were not referring to my reading novels and thinking about what to serve for dinner, but about reading too many triathlon-related blogs, too many swim/bike/run magazines, and too many books on training. I counter that I am not just an athlete, but a coach, and I need to be current and well-versed in all recent literature on our sport.
Which is true. To an extent.
But mostly I read such things because I really enjoy thinking about how to train and about those who train all the time. I actually can't get enough of it. I get giddy when I find a new swim/bike or run training book I think might be a worthy read.
As a coach, I can vouch that it is easier to coach one who does not read and think about our sport. Athletes who read and think want to know why you have assigned what you have assigned. This desire to know why makes the coach accountable for what he/she assigns, which isn't a bad thing in my opinion, but it's also a major time suck for said coach--who must constantly explain and justify his/her coaching to the thinking/reading/questioning athlete.
The best athletes (to coach--and also, perhaps, in general) don't think so much as act. They get out there--and they do it. I'm partially convinced it is not so much how they train (as in what methodology their coaches are using)--but the fact that they JUST train. They look on Training Peaks, do what it says, recover as instructed, report back in, and then go about the rest of their day. The don't fret. They don't question. They always trust. They don't do more or less than asked. They do as told. They are, in short, "good soldiers." (FYI, this is Kurt's favorite phrase to describe this type of athlete--a gem if you get one on your coaching roster.) And the same thing happens when they race: these athletes don't over -think it. They just do it.
I know I'm better suited to being a coach than an athlete. This isn't to say I don't consider myself an athlete, or that I don't love to train and compete. I do. It's just I enjoy the reading more than the training--(maybe not more than the racing). I enjoy the planning more than the training as well. And most of all I enjoy debating and talking about training with other coaches more than almost anything. I think these facts make me quite suited to coach others.
Unfortunately, these facts also make me extremely difficult to coach. And unfortunately, the coaches I have had (or still have in the case of Kurt) become exasperated by me pretty much on a daily basis. I read and think too much, they say... but the thing is... that ain't gonna change, even if it does hinder my progress as an athlete. I don't want it change. It is, at the very core, who I am: a reader, a thinker, a debater, a planner, a writer.
I write all that out because I'm really quite tired of being told I think and read too much, and this is my response. (Kurt and Jen--I know you both love me anyway.. admit it!) I feel better now. Thank you.
Also, if you are a thinker who is reading this blog, than perhaps you, too, can relate to this reader/thinker conundrum: how does one act the "good soldier" and also manage to be the person she *actually* is?