It’s not about the workouts

Published: February 19, 2013,on Blog, Weekly Workout Tip

bilal bracelet

Time to revisit these themes as we set out on our 2014 triathlon journeys.  Many athletes still hold dear some ancient ideas about coaching, training, and racing.

Perhaps its time to clear the air on behalf of all the professional coaches out there in the TRI universe.   Collectively, we can swear under oath to you that..

It’s not about the workouts

“What??”  you say.   ” I pay for my workouts from you. I get them. I do most of them. Sometimes I move them around, modify them a bit, over-bake the pace with my friends, draft, workout a little tight, etc.  But, well, I work out as I’m supposed to. What more do you want?”

Well, dear athlete.  We want you to TRAIN and not just work out. There is a huge difference.

Working out= staying in your jeans, having fun, no long term planning, no variations in fatigue.  You generally feel fit but experience no profound adaptations in your physiology, may plateau, and your regime is not a progression but rather a routine. Nothing wrong with that. But it’s not training… For beginner triathletes this looks like swim, bike ,run, rinse, repeat.   And these same athletes wonder why race day is exponentially more challenging than their daily regime.

Training= following a vision, doing workouts to your best effort, never giving up, growing wiser and more expansive in your views and knowledge of your chosen sport,  and following the lead of a trained coach who imparts knowledge, encouragement, and pushes you past your self-imposed limits and barriers.  You’ll never know if don’t you try, but human nature is that we do not routinely set ourselves up for challenges greater than our limits.  But really, what are our limits?  …Confines of the mind that need further discussion.

Coaches bring your through your fear of failure on a journey that leads to success greater than you imagined.

I once said to my coach “If I live through this workout, I’m gonna fire your A#@!!!   And the calm, steady reply was, “well, I’ll wait for your call. Time to get moving!”

And another day my coach said, “Listen, SR,  I’m going to clear out all your head noise for you and take it away. No more self doubt, questioning, or uncertainty about racing pro as an older lady, mom,etc.  My job is to silence your head noise and to let your talent shine through in your racing, GOT IT!!!???

So training is this journey into the deeper parts of yourself as a person, an athlete, and a person with doubts, feelings, a life, a family, and a balancing act.   It’s not following some random spreadsheet from a book.  It’s a live dialogue between you and a mentor who will break you at times and put the pieces back together to make you ever stronger.

2014:  your year to TRAIN and stop clocking hours just working out.

It’s up to you.  


photo:  athlete Bilal Saib who replaced Ironman workouts with Ironman training once we began our journey










  1. Great write -up! I am just getting back in the swing of things myself after a long break away due to a number of factors. The thing I miss the most, my college track coach. I have a ‘book’ that is my coach for now, but when things get better in some areas, I am going to hire a coach!

  2. Cameron Simpson says:

    Wow!!! Great words from a great coach!

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