Coaching is a Science (But Mostly an Art!)
The basics of coaching are pretty much common knowledge… Do work, eat, recover, do more work, eat some more, recover some more, repeat, and eventually (hopefully) get a substantial fitness outcome. But, yep, you guessed it, things don’t always go that way! Coaching, like life, can be a lot like a dance. In fact, there are many metaphors in life and coaching that are similar, but alas, I’ll get into that in another blog post.
Let’s delve into some factors that I think are important for coaching to be effective.
Motivations and driving forces
Everybody has a reason, more likely a set of reasons, for wanting to become fitter. Taking the time to explore these reasons in greater depth can produce a more fulfilling outcome in the long run. Unfortunately, sometimes our strongest motivating factors can result in more stress over time, so taking the time to carefully curate and then operate from, the platform of a healthy and grounded set of motivations can set the tone for a more fulfilling outcome in sport and performance.
Abilities and biology
It’s no secret that each person has a unique set of biological circumstances that result in performance outcomes. Our chemistry and body geometry are predetermined, but that’s not to say that we can’t optimize what we’ve got! Willingness is included in this. What each person is willing to do to obtain fitness rewards is a gigantic piece of the puzzle.
Your coach is one of blocks in the foundation of your support system. Do the other people in your life support your goals and dreams? Secondarily, do you support them as well? Your first thought might be, “of course I do”, but a quick look at your weekly routine and daily actions may answer that question for you in a different light.
This is where science and art come into play the strongest and where your coaching investment proves to provide you the greatest benefit. A trained and experienced coach uses your subjective response to a workout and factors in your heart rate response, distances/times and sustained power outputs to determine how to adjust your schedule. Using subjective data in addition to these metrics allows a coach to continue to create workouts that properly challenge you without creating too much fatigue.
With some finesse and a little luck, you then achieve the result: a “peak” performance at your desired event.
A final point.
Collecting data through structured workouts and subjective responses brings athletes back to themselves. Competition doesn't always have to be focused on others... and I believe that this notion does somewhat of a disservice to the healthy pursuit of fitness through endurance as a means to quality of life and longevity.
Talitha Vogt is a certified endurance and behavior change coach with an elite racing background. She has 22 years of experience as a mountain biker, including 13 total years of racing and other endurance events including Xterra triathlons, uncountable cyclocross races, a little dabbling in road racing, and even some trail running. She provides custom-tailored, accommodating coaching locally in the front range of Colorado and online internationally.