I made some big mistakes this year, and I think everyone can agree it showed. I did some other things really well, all things considered.
Coaching myself this year was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I learned more about the sport in 6 months than I have in 13 years. For the most part I had a blast doing it and that gives me a lot of fire about pursuing a career in coaching. I’ve always been the kind of person that has to learn my lessons from direct experience. I have a tough time taking things at their word. So what did I learn this year?
1 – S&C is great for my physical health, extremely hard to program but ultimately totally essential for moving fast. I can’t say honestly that I didn’t mess this aspect of training up big time, but there were parts of it that worked. One thing is that I had almost no injuries this year, and I was able to “re learn” how to sprint after a bad hamstring strain (and years of hamstring/achilles problems). Maybe the older athletes will understand this better but to me this was big. I was able to step out onto the track and do quality sessions without questioning if my body was going to break. I’ve spent a lot of money and time on treatment tables in my career. I think there is a purpose to it, especially in certain circumstances. Manual therapist professionals are incredible resources for athletes and coaches. Also, many of them are excellent at using S&C as treatment, and even more important, combining all the different treatment tools into an individualized program. Pro tip: find a therapist that has a weight room in their clinic and will move from the table to the weights and back during the appointment. No not resistance bands and some dumbells, but those too. I’m talking squat rack, heavy weights and boxes. The last few years have taught me that the best way to prepare your body to train hard is to challenge it in the correct ways. S&C helped me increase tissue tolerance, joint ROM, coordination and mechanics much more effectively than getting treated on the table. Could a trained S&C coach working with me 1on1 in the gym every day have done a better job than I did on my own? ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTION! Did I wish I had one every single day I was in there? YUP! But I didn’t have the money and I wasn’t in the right situation to acquire one, and I felt that reading and being consulted about this was better than giving someone remote the reigns entirely. As far as changes I would make moving forward with an S&C program, I would
- start the reactive lifts earlier in the year and therefore progress into plyos sooner
- cut back on the heavy lifts earlier
- less volume in the gym throughout general prep
- I have a much better concept of what injury prevention looks like for me than I did a year ago. The exercises in that regard would be more streamlined
- have a formal drill progression all year
2 – The 800 is ultimately an aerobic event that requires speed. As a stand alone statement that sounds pretty obvious. When you get down to the details, I messed this up big time. If you’ve been reading this blog you know that I wanted to come at the event this year more from a quality perspective than I had previously. I felt that I wasn’t going to run 1:44 without increasing the average pace of my sessions, including a more robust “bottom up” approach: a season long progression from max speed upward to 800 pace. I ended up increasing my rests to target faster paces in almost everything. As a rule, that was wrong. Early in the year there is a purpose to having long rests in between max speed intervals. There are also certain other sessions that need long rest. But I could have done a much better job progressing my bottom up sessions to be more aerobic, and do it earlier. I should not have put so much emphasis on pace in everything else. I should have accepted a certain range of pace and maintained a strict focus on the aerobic challenge. I over compensated based on things I think I should have done in previous years. The good news is I think I see how it all balances out now. Whenever I read over these blogs I’m dissatisfied with how they sound. Its difficult to express ideas about training without giving concrete examples. In my mind I have programming ideas swirling around like puzzle pieces and I’m arranging them to see how they fit, constantly readjusting and reassessing. I don’t think about training in the words you see here, but in how it would feel to go from one session to the next, or different ways to manipulate and progress a movement in the gym. But I can tell you that those pieces make more sense to me now. There is more physical context to them; I can feel the way they fit together. The patterns they create are much more satisfying. I know I will always have questions, the art of coaching is incredibly attractive to me in large part because I will never be able to master it. Right now it just feels good to see how far I’ve come in that understanding, even if the cost was pretty high.
Here is the link to my training log for the year
I don’t entirely know what I’m going to do moving forward. I’m almost 28, living with my parents, out of money and coming off a terrible season. I’m taking my coaching certifications and looking at further schooling, and I plan on pursuing that to the fullest extent that I can. In that respect, I’m very excited to have finally decided a career path. With regards to Tokyo 2020, I have very little interest in working a traditional job while training at this level. That’s possibly because I’m a spoiled brat. I love the lifestyle of training. I don’t mind spending 6 months of the year away because my body can’t handle indoor tracks and I have to be all over for competitions. My social life is more or less non existent, but I get to do something that is important to me. I didn’t really mind training alone all year to do that. What I do mind is living that way and knowing I’m not putting all of myself into it. Some athletes thrive in a more balanced lifestyle. For various reasons, that’s just not me.
I have wanted to start taking on more athletes myself for a while. I coached a couple athletes last year. The enjoyment and passion I had for it is a big reason why I decided to dive head first into it now and pursue it as a career. So, as a terrible sales pitch, if after reading about how much I sucked at coaching myself this season you are thinking “Wow I really need what that guy has to offer!” then PLEASE shoot me an email or a text and we can talk about your delusions–I mean ambitions. No for serious though, I live and breath this stuff and will work extremely hard on your behalf.
As always, thanks for reading friendo’s. If you are sick of following my career please subscribe to Olivia’s because she stole my powers and ran 2:01 this summer.