Its a bit of a weird time of year. As a triathlon coach I am planning sessions, calendars, test sets and try to bring additional value to every session. Hence the title of this blog: Triathlon Coach Planning & Values.
The European season is in full swing, the antipodeans on the other hand are in the middle of winter. This is the time of year when the lead coach has to balance a whole load of athletes' goals and ambitions. A good, experienced Triathlon coach will plan... even if it is in pencil... the season ahead, and beyond. The coach will break that down into cycles and then plan sessions accordingly.
Athletes often come to me and say I want to do this race or that race. Juniors with targets of achieving top 10 at AJTS. Trying to balance athlete race goals and ambitions can feel like mission impossible sometimes. Fun, challenging but I reckon Tom Cruise would like this mission for number MI7!
Athletes racing in the 2017/18 season have already targeted several Ironman races, 70.3 distance, World Duathlons, Challenge Events and then there is the Australian Junior Triathlon Series, not to mention all the local events. All different events... all different athletes. This is what makes a coach's job so much fun. I promote squad training as it provides many athlete benefits: not least having your coach on the deck; also the motivation & support of like-minded individuals, particularly useful to get you going again when your enthusiasm starts to wain.
I also cannot overstate the value of having a coach on the pool deck or at the run track. Having an expert there to help you, analyse your stroke, help you focus on your run form, stay relaxed on a bike or perhaps push you that little bit harder.
Now this is where the coach's job gets trickier. I have all these athletes, all with different fitness levels, different strengths and weaknesses, different targets. The ultimate challenge though is to make a team from all the individuals. To make all the sessions suitable for every individual but also accommodating all those aims and ambitions into a squad session.
OK... so before you start saying how does an Ironman train the same as someone training for a draft legal sprint race. Well, I believe there is far more overlap than you might imagine. Take the longer ironman runs / bikes and bricks out of it and most of the other sessions can be similar. Ironman athletes still need to do some faster sessions to raise the heart rate, otherwise the athlete will just train themselves to go longer... but slower! Skills created in draft legal sessions are directly transferable to ironman. If the coach is organised it is easy enough to split and adapt the sessions if necessary to suit the individuals and their goals.
As I mentioned in Bringing Balance a few weeks ago:
"This time of year in WA is the when the next season is built. One of the hardest things to do at this time is find a nice balance. Its no good flying in September here... we don't win anything for being king of the club run... it needs to be sustainable, consistent training for now. ALL the sessions I am leading at the moment are based around setting up the season ahead."
Sometimes key points need to be re-iterated. I believe that squad sessions will massively help you move forward to your triathlon goals.
As a slight aside:
I spotted this picture post from a WA Triathlete (Katy Duffield) - these are things every athlete can do, every athlete can bring to the pool deck, you should bring them to every session.
Your coach has put quality time to plan your sessions, prepare your individual training plan, the very least you can do as an athlete is show respect to the coaches and all the other athletes at the session by doing these 10 things that do not require any talent at all.
Hard work trumps talent, when talent doesn't work hard!