A few years ago there was a fashion of putting the laundry detergent into a ball and putting the ball inside the washing machine with the clothes. It was all the rage and it was all you could do to not buy a bottle of detergent that didn’t come with a ball. These days you still see a few but for the most part bottles are ball less. You have to ask yourself what the hell did the washing machine engineers think about this. They spent countless hours designing, testing, manufacturing a process that adds the detergent at precisely the right time during the washing cycle and what do we do…throw a ball of soap in with the clothes and hope for the best! Completely bypassing this entire process that has had 1000’s of man hours invested into it along with 10s, 100s of 1000s of millions of dollars!
So what does this have to do with a coach…well let me tell you parallels. They spend hours putting together a training plan. The plan will contain periodized training. Gradual increases in duration and intensity designed to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. It will include longer distances designed to build up your endurance both physically and mentally. Overall it’s designed to get you to start line of the race in the best possible condition. It’s the same with washing machine, it’s designed to add water, add detergent, rinse and spin in a structured process that will get your clothes clean and bright in the best possible way.
So why is this important, well to be honest this is a bit of a rant. I know someone who will remain nameless training for an Ironman distance race. This is no small undertaking. Training for each discipline during the week typically is 3 swims, 3 bikes and 3 runs. You don’t need to be in MENSA to see that a couple of days are doubles and most people will understand the concept of the long run and or bike (usually a brick) at the weekend. Training varies from week to week but an average around 12 hours is the norm ramping up to 16 or 17 hours. This may be more for someone who has no kids or an”easier” work life, but for most people it’s around the right ball park.
However all this has to be tempered with a bit of life happens. When I trained for Ironman Arizona in 2012, I followed a free plan from Beginner Triathlete, every Sunday night I would look at the workouts and structure them to fit into my week as best as I could, on a good week 75% was done on the right day, on a bad week it was around 40%. But every workout for every week was completed. Every. Single. One!
So what happens when you think you know better, well usually the wheels fall off at some point. You can can bluff your way round a Sprint or an Olympic, trust me I have done it. You can muddle your way through a Half Ironman but when it comes to 140.6 miles there is no room for bluff. Any little weakness will be exposed and as the day wears on, that crack will grow and grow. I only wish this person well during their race, I hope they meet and surpass their expectation but I have my reservations and if history bears out it will be a race filled with excuses rather than with success.
Take it from me, like washing machine engineers, coaches are smart, they go to school. They learn how to create a sensible plan that if followed will get you the result you want…or pretty darn close to it.