A coach and my first week of training

I have a complicated life. I have a small child, a complex job, a great wife, and I love to watch hockey.

LOSTAnd as I was staring at the various do-it-yourself Ironman training programs I felt, well, overwhelmed. Half of them assumed I had already finished a half-Ironman, the other half that I was in super-duper shape and just need tweaking. The idea that a forty year old dude who just finished his first marathon would want to do something this insane did not fit into the assumed paradigm.

My wife recommended I get a coach. Now look the last time a coach and I interacted, I was 15 … And the results were not pretty. Being the fat slow geeky out-of-shape poorly coordinated kid trying to play team sports is not fun. My coach was charming in his willingness to tolerate my presence but it would have been better if I just played chess like the other dweebs… What became clear to me was that coaches were these dudes who knew a little bit more than you did, and that most of what they knew was useless. Furthermore they asked you to do things that you were clearly incapable of doing. More to the point they were interested in spending time on the good kids not the kids whose talents lied elsewhere…

So 25 years later, I am staring at this daunting exercise plan, and am thinking, what the heck do I do?

My first reaction is: I AM INVINCIBLE (cue-Golden Arrow) …

I’ll figure this out on my own. After all I just finished the Athens Marathon on my lonesome…

So.

Step 1 learn about swimming…

Do you ever hdinogorgon_923_600x450ave this reaction that you’re a dinosaur in an era of mammals? That’s what I felt like doing research on swimming. It seemed that everything I had been taught 25 years ago was wrong. I thought I knew how to swim… Apparently you’re supposed to rotate your body. Rotate? Rotating was the tool of the devil not the source of all goodness. And then there were these metrics: SWOLF and Laps and blah and bleh and meh… And I’m thinking what do I do here?

I felt like the 70’s were calling and they wanted their swimming technique back…

My first reaction is: not really relevant. But then I continue my research and realize that a significant chunk of finishing an Ironman is about efficiency. And efficiency is about technique and boy-oh-boy is my technique, well, dated…

So now what?

Despair, despondency, misery. Or I could find a coach who knows this material and can help me.

To the coach! But where do you find a coach? And how does a dude like me who has had this long history of working with coaches go find one or even evaluate one? Well I am big fan of matching services, and realizing that my first choice is about as likely to be wrong as it is going to be correct, I figure I’ll hire someone and in a few months know a lot about a coach is about and decide whether it works or doesn’t…

So I’m honest, use the trainingpeaks.com service and get a coaching recommendation. I look him up, and it seems like overkill.. I mean do I really need someone with that many achievements? And I am thinking: remember the plan you have no idea, so let’s go with it and see what works. And it is pricey.

So after a month of thinking through it, I pull the trigger.

First week, and already am seeing the value of having a coach, and especially one I can email every day with stupid questions…

First of all my wife doesn’t have to discuss my training with me. That’s what my coach is for. She’s much happier …

Secondly, I don’t have this gut wrenching fear that I am doing something wrong … I might be but I don’t have the fear.

Thirdly, it turns out that training has become a lot more sophisticated in 25 years – no shit Sherlock…

So what about the first week?

It’s funny; I thought training was about well… you know swimming, running and biking. How hard can it be?

Wrong

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This is a plane, right?

It’s about doing specific kinds of swims and specific kinds of runs and specific kinds of bicycle rides. I felt like I was this turbo-prop pilot being asked to fly a Boeing 787.

Sure both are planes, but really they are not…

My first week was a mess. First of all I had to do research to understand what the hell was being asked. Then during the exercise workout I forgot half the things I had to do. And then there is the open question of whether I was doing anything remotely accurate.

Despair. Despondency. But then I remembered I have a coach and he can help.

So week two is simpler. And I have this new plan. It’s called writing down the exercise program before I go out. And even better, I have this phone number and I’ll use it when I am at a loss as to what to do…

 

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