A Little Push

I have also gone years of racing without really pushing myself until I see the finish line.  I have never really followed a training program beyond well, I am going to run three times, swim three times, and bike four times this week; one short and fast, one kind of tempoish, and the other long in each workout.  Then I do all of those workouts at my nice easy pace and wonder why when it comes race time, I have just one pace.

Duh.  You race how you train.

I finish my races and have fun – which are the primary goals of course – but I do not push myself really.  The truth is, I can be kind of a dud with training, just going through the motions, especially when I am alone in my training, no training partner to push me, no one to call me out on a lame workout. 

In general, when I train, I stay comfortable in my pace most of the time.  When I hit a motivation low and admit it to my friends, they usually encourage me to skip the workout, take a break and go to 2 for 1 Pizza Night or Burger and a Beer Night at the Marshall and get smashed.  As fun as this is (and as much as I love pizza & burgers), it would lead to me missing the workout the next day (and not losing that 10lbs)…which leads to…well, you all know how the nasty workout-skipping spiral goes.   

Now, all this encouragement by my friends to skip a day or two of training is all very well intentioned.  My friends think it is really cool and all that I am training for an Ironman, but they sure don’t have any interest in doing it (most of them would rather lick a cheese grater than spend 3-7 hours on a bike) or even really know all that much about triathlon.  

A few of them wish I would just “get over this” and “get back to normal” again.  (Hint, this is normal for me, I don’t see myself getting over it.)  A lot of them are still confused about what order things happen in triathlon (“is it the run first?”) and wonder how the IMLP distance compares to “that race in Hawaii.”

So lets just say that when my motivation is low, I need to find the will to go within myself.  So do you.  I think that many lucky triathletes are helped along with this by having people they train or meet with for long rides and runs.  They have that little extra push that helps them get out there – and I am insanely jealous of you all.

Not really kidding.

Often when you are low on motivation that is really the time you need to get out there.  That is when the mental training kicks in, running even though the thermometer reads -10 (or less) and you really don’t even want to look outside, getting up early for a workout even if it is really warm and cozy in those covers, going one more mile on that blasted trainer, making the long drive to the pool at a ridiculous hour.  All that stuff is money in the bank toward your mental toughness.

In the end when you toe up to the start line for your A race, no one else is really going to care that it was -10 in January so you bagged that run, or that it rained that day in May when you were going to ride 100 miles, or that it was kind of cold in May so you just couldn’t bring yourself to get into the water at Pleasant Pond.  Only you really.  Missing that stuff is what eats away at your mental toughness, chips away at your confidence.  That is the reason to get out there and push through those tougher times, so when you toe up to the line, you have little doubt are ready to roll.

All of this has lead up to my decision to enlist a little help on my Ironman journey – I now have a coach!  Actually, I decided this about a month or so ago, but I am just getting around to talking about it here.

I am working with Angela at TriMoxie Coaching – her and her business partner Mary are rock stars who are both experienced competitive triathletes and moms who understand the challenges involved with juggling life and training.  I am really excited about this, I know Ange will help push me to work harder than I would alone, and I also am pretty sure she will call me out if I am being a dud.  Seriously, you guys rock, and I am looking forward to working with you the next 289 days until Ironman Lake Placid, it is going to be a fun ride! 

Best of luck this weekend to all Kona athletes, you all inspire me!

About caratunkgirl

Short spunky girl from the tiny town of Caratunk, Maine. Active outdoor girl. I am a forester, whitewater raft guide, Ironman and 5x marathoner with Ultra dreams. Always ready for the next adventure with my dog Kineo by my side.
This entry was posted in coach, motivation, TriMoxie. Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to A Little Push

  1. Robin says:

    I hear ya! I'm very similar… though, sometimes I do push myself in training. In racing, I rarely push and am comfortable with a strong finish and a good time.
    I was thinking about joining a tri-team in NYC to help push me through the winter.
    Enjoy your new coach and best of luck!

  2. JenniferLeah says:

    awesome!! make sure you share your training with us 🙂
    …and if caratunk wasn't on the other side of Maine I would swim/bike/run with ya!

  3. Jon says:

    Great post, Mandy! Gonna be a lot of outdoor cold runs this winter.

    Glad the coaching worked out!

  4. Congrats on the coach! Hopefully they are better motivation than your beer drinking and pizza eating friends. Speaking which, some pizza and beer sounds pretty good… It's the offseason, right? 🙂

  5. Laura says:

    Great decision!!!! When I get around to 140.6 I'll likely get a coach for similar reasons.. I spend most of my time in the GREY zone… not easy, but not hard enough to do anything but blow me up after a while… w/o the needed rest. Anyway… Can't wait to hear how your coached journey goes!!!

  6. I LOVE THIS! My coach definitely helps keep me in line and gets my ass out the door. It doesn't hurt that she follows me on twitter, reads my blog, phones me, emails me, hahaah.

    And if you ever need an extra push to get out the door email me, tweet me, blog me because I can always use a push myself. Remember it's SIU October!!

    ps – I LOVE pizza and burgers.. my friends are the same re triathlons in general.

  7. Christi says:

    Congratulations on a great decision! I am sure you will rock IMLP beyond your wildest dreams! I can't wait to read about your journey to greatness!

  8. Move to Columbus, Team Roll has 4 openings for next year, and you will be happy, then you will ride with them, then you will hate me for a long time, then you will be happy again when you race and see how awesome you have become, then you might forgive me.

    In all seriousness, you made a great choice, I am also looking into getting a coach, to prevent the burn out I got last season.

  9. Quinton J says:

    Awesome and honest post Ms. Caratunk. Your 'burger and beer friends' are off the hook…don't loose them. But I think you've got the right idea…and will probably surprise yourself with your own potential once your training get's more bad ass. Lake Placid…HERE SHE COMES!

  10. P says:

    Oh, how exciting! I'm jealous of people with training partners, too. And now I'm jealous of people with coaches. 😛

  11. Kovas says:

    I find that, when my motivation gets low, licking a cheese grater gives me that all-over tingly feeling again.

  12. Ange says:

    Hey Mandy!! I'm so excited to lead you on this very exciting journey to Ironman. That sounds so cliche but hey, it is true. It'll be very very rewarding for you, I am sure.
    Watch out Lake Placid-the Maine women are coming!!

  13. Matty O says:

    Great decision. I have thought about a coach, I don't listen well to others though. in all seriousness, I will do the opposite of what someone tells me haha. I know best afterall… right?!

    It has to be super hard for you to stay motivated by yourself. I at least see people out working out every day on the way home and give myself the ole' Well he is working out, why aren't you?! Or, that guy has to weigh 300 + pounds, get your ass out and run!

    Good luck, keep us posted!

  14. Jason says:

    Congrats on getting a coach. It was the best decision I ever made. I tried going it alone without the coach but wasn't making any strides and it was easy to skip a session.

    A friend of mine recently asked me about my coach and I said the following, which now another tri coach is using on her site.

    “A coach is the one thing I will never give up in terms of triathlon. You can take my sneakers and I'll run barefoot, take my Specialized and I will ride my Trek road bike but do not take my Coach. She is a counselor, motivator, inspiration and all around wellness guru for me. I can say this with confidence.” -JB, Honu Way To Live (www.baha703ironman.com)

    Good luck with the training and can't wait to read about it on your site.

  15. This is so awesome, girl – I am so excited for you!

  16. Andrew Opala says:

    You gotta coach!!!! YAYAYAYAYA – YAY!

    I just got one and I'm already lost – the ring is in my nose and she's leading me around in loops and insulting my country.

    And God saw what he had made and it was GOOD!

    Good luck Mandy – YOU ARE GOING TO ROCK!!!!!

  17. Awesome Mandy! Can't wait to hear about what you think about coaching!

  18. Emz says:

    I just adore you. Love your honest posts! Can't wait to hear about the coach.

    Love Kovas's comment. but ouch.

  19. MOOREBOG says:

    When is Pleasant pond warm enough to swim in? Coming through tomorrow (10-8-10),and have been told to stay off logging roads due to mud, and I certainly don't want to get stuck. Used to hit Marshall's when the Canadians were plentiful hunting the area…now that was fun!!!

  20. Runners Fuel says:

    Great choice! If I could afford it, I'd do the same.

  21. Anne-Marie says:

    Great post! Having a coach was one of the best investments I've made in my racing/training, so I'm sure you will benefit.

    Also, I hear what you mean on the non-tri friends who don't get it. Some of my friends will still ask me “how long is your next marathon? is that one shorter or longer than the Pittsburgh Marathon?” and I just have to chuckle. My family doesn't get it either — esp. why I wanted to do an IM. When I finished IM Louisville, my parents basically said “that's great you finished! you aren't going to do any more of these, are you?” I refused to answer that one 😉

  22. Anne-Marie says:

    Also, I love that line “would rather lick a cheese grater”! I might have to steal that one at some point 🙂

  23. Robin says:

    That's great! Having a coach can be the right push when you really need it. And IM is such a long distance to do without support around you. The training is far harder than the race day.

  24. Ben says:

    Ange found my blog last night, I'm assuming through your blog, and actually said I motivated her! I looked at the coaching idea too as I read her blog, but it's just not in the budget right now I'm afraid. But good luck and I totally want to hear more about how it's going!

  25. misszippy says:

    Good for you. I'm sure you will love having a coach! When I did LP, I had Troy Jacobson coach me. Cannot imagine having done it without his guidance.

  26. Love the honesty. Congrats on your decision!

  27. Aimee says:

    I train alone too, so I know all too well about how the motivation to get out there has to come from within. I think it's awesome that you got a coach! Good for you!

  28. Colleen says:

    Congrats on getting a coach… 🙂 You are so right about everything and so honest! 🙂

  29. DRog says:

    Nice !!!
    Congrats on this decision – way to step it up.

    I'm so excited to follow you this year and SEE you @ IMLP baby!

  30. skierz says:

    That is awesome! A little nudge will always get you to a faster better place and make the journey a little easier knowing you are accountable to the person you are paying! Way to go!

  31. Hi there!
    Sooo glad you elicited a coach in your camp. it will make ALL the difference. I know it did for me.

    and while I do most of my actual training solo, having my coach to report to makes it not lonely at all. it gives it added purpose.


  32. Molly says:

    that's great you decided to get a coach, it will be huge to be held accountable to someone during your training. I was lucky to be able to do my long runs with friend on Saturday mornings, I honestly don't know if I could have done those runs without them.

    Game on huh?!?!

  33. Mark says:

    GREAT move getting a coach. I have also procured a coach for next season. I need someone to call me out, and some incentive of getting my ass out of bed early. I know that I can not get workouts in later in the day.

    Good luck with your training. Can not wait for you to experience your new part-time job.


  34. coaches rule. If I didnt have someone helping coach me I would half ass a whole lot of runs.

  35. JudyMac says:

    If you need a virtual training partner to check in with as well, just yell. 9 months to IM France (ulp!)

  36. Maria says:

    Yay for coaches….mine has his work cut out for him for sure! I hope you enjoy the extra push and motivation!

  37. Glenn Jones says:

    Thanks for this post. It's very timely for me. I've been fighting a few nagging “conditions” (runner's knee) for a while, and my motivation to train is at an all time low. I never really thought about the mental aspect though until you so eloquently pointed it out here. Thanks! I've got to HTFU.

  38. Bryan Payne says:

    If I ever come out your way, you got to take me to the Marshall.

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