When I was 16 years old I was a feisty little shit. Actually all through High School. I got kicked out of choir my second day of High School because I rolled my eyes at the teacher because he screamed at me that I talk to much. I packed my bag and marched out of class. Instead of going to my Counselor to help me find a new elective course I decided I wasn’t messing around and went straight to the top … I marched my newly freshman sassy pants into the Principal’s Office, shut the door behind me and told him that Choir just wasn’t going to work for me because the teacher didn’t respect my social talents. He stared wide eyed as I am sure he wasn’t expecting my 90 pound frame to come marching in that day, but then he smiled and not only got me into a new class but walked me there personally.
I signed up for Competitive Debate.
And I never was told I talked too much again.
It was there I found my voice and hippy nature. My little tribe of misfits and pot-smoking, lovers of life. To be clear I have never smoked pot or cigarettes but I never gave a shit what other people did as long as they were nice people, even from a young age. I went to a Debate Camp at Stanford in California for 2-3 weeks the summer between freshman and sophomore year. I loved debate because I had a partner but I was in control of my own destiny. And I could argue with people. And I could flirt with the cute college judges if we are getting REALLY real!
I was also a Cheerleader in High School which was a stark difference than debate because I was on a “team” and surrounded by athletes. I lived in the athletic world AND in the hippy world. I was just as dynamic then as I am now. I have never been a one stop shop and frankly never will be.
Here is the thing.
I didn’t love my cheer coaches. I HATED being told to run and what to do. I enjoyed the practices, games, tumbling, screaming, stunting and short skirts … But I was never one for being told what to do or screamed at. It made me close up but not in a quiet way, more in a fuck off way. I only played team sports for a few years growing up because I liked the idea of solo tumbling. And playing with my friends. And working in the mall. Everything was always my decision as my parents were VERY supportive and the most incredible and patient and Unconditionally loving Mom and Dad in the Universe. I had MASSIVE respect for my parents. I still do. All other authority … Well, that is questionable. I was taught to be respectful and I always was. I am inherently a good and nice person. Being told what to do on the other hand…well I’ve never been good at that.
Even in the Corporate world. I worked at a very high end Investment Management Firm out of college for many years. I remember a boss I had that was a hot tempered British man. We got along fantastic until we didn’t. When we butt heads we BUTT heads! He would scream at me and I would one tone down scream back to quit yelling at me because I will NOT be talked to like that. I remember him pounding my desk one time because I stood up for myself but I wasn’t about to be screamed at like a dog. I was always on extremely good terms and was a stellar employee. I realized I wasn’t cut out for Finance after many years and eventually quit to study yoga and meditation at an Ashram in Kona, Hawaii. Much more “me”.
Now…How does this have to do with the title. It has everything to do with the title! Here is how:
I have never WANTED to be coached. I have never had a good experience with a coach or really got along with one. Let alone in my adult years when they always end up hitting on me and well, that just makes shit weird.
I have always been extremely independent and wanted to figure shit out on my own. Everything good and bad falls back on ME and me alone. I like to feel like I am creating my own fate and destiny. Period. Me and me alone. It is WHO I am I have accepted this and honor this aspect of my personality and life.
NOW let me disclaimer this!!!!!!
THERE ARE PHENOMENAL COACHES OUT THERE!!!!! In all aspects of life. Athletic, Nutritional, Life, ect….
I BELIEVE IN COACHING!!!!!!! A LOT! I think if you want or need to be coached than rock on with your bad self! We live in a society where for some god awful reason it is shameful to ask for help … That is WRONG.
If you need to get back on track. If you have certain goals you’d like to make. If you have NO clue how to move forward GET A COACH specific to your LIFE. I am not dissing coaching. I think it is wonderful. This is simply perspective from someone who has chosen to athletically NOT get coaching and to answer the questions I get fielded all.the.time. on WHY I don’t or should I get one. Period.
Phew…Now that that is out there…Let me give you a few thoughts on why or why not you should have a coach.
- What are your GOALS? If you have very ambitious time and pace goals than maybe you should look into someone coaching you. Someone who understands your lifestyle and has a proven track record of success. I want to finish. I want to have fun. I want to not have the pressure of time and pace. I don’t want to be “disappointed” after a race or training cycle because ONE day and race didn’t go as planned according to a number. I want to look back and say I just completed an Ironman, Marathon, ect and I trained my ass off for this and I did it!!! And I am SO happy and proud of myself. I see too many people work SO hard and then toss it all out the window because of a time they didn’t want. Now I GET having goals. But in the end…numbers don’t define a person. Being confident and disciplined to SHOW UP and then finish is pretty damn rad. Needless to say, evaluate YOUR goals. If you want to hit paces and times, go professional or really ramp up your training …Get a coach. If not … Maybe just consider the thought your money may be better spent elsewhere.
- Answer this … Do you have a STRONG network of people. As solo of events as Ironman and Marathons are, it takes a fucking village. You will NEED people in your corner when the going gets tough. You need people to talk you off the ledge when you want to quit and go eat donuts and drink beer instead of riding or running. You need people who UNDERSTAND your lifestyle and ambitions no matter what they are. A coach can provide a team and a network. They do this well. That is essential what a coach is. Your own personal cheerleader. If you need this, get a coach. If you have a strong network of people, maybe you don’t necessarily need the running club, tri team, or coaching. Once again, evaluate your own life and see where you fall on this spectrum of support.
- Are you FIERCELY internally motivated? I have heard SO many times that people get coaches to keep them accountable regardless of time goals. THIS IS SO TRUE!!!! Coaches will do this for you. It is one of the biggest benefits of coaching I believe! If you are training for an Ironman for example and are not internally motivated to make your own schedules and STICK TO THEM then hire a coach. Period. And there is no shame in either way. THIS is what coaching is all about. If you want to go the self-coached route be sure you can be your own cheerleader and coach. You need you. You can’t get into your head and skip workouts. You have to be strong enough to get your ass out of bed with nobody but yourself to hold yourself accountable too. Nobody will ask you what you did today, how did you feel, did you half-ass it, ect. You have to be able to talk yourself through these questions and be HONEST with yourself. Internal motivation is the number ingredient for self-coaching.
- Are you good at asking questions and researching? Coaches lay it out for you. No decisions. No thought. This is your workout and workouts for the week. No brain work on your end. Another benefit of coaching. When I trained for an Ironman I researched on my own about 50 different plans. I asked a million and a half questions to coaches and friends. I stalked people down on social media to see what they were doing. Then I compiled it all and made my own training plans each week and month. I was able to cater these to how I felt and my lifestyle. I could swap workouts and add rest days. It was all on me to do this. And I honestly LOVED it. I loved writing plans and figuring out how my own body responded and what my body needed. With a deep background in yoga I am very in-tune with what my body needs and doesn’t need. This is essential for self-coaching. You have to be able to LISTEN and act. Research and ask questions. Accept that you don’t know everything but you can always learn anything.
- A few days ago I was explaining to a friend that I love running so much. That it has been refreshing NOT training for anything specific these last few months. I loved to just RUN…stop and decorate my hair with flowers and stop to pet dogs. I cover the same distance but I do it without a watch and zero cares in the world. I don’t care about pace and I leave each run feeling accomplished and proud. Yes. Each and every one. Because there is no pressure. My friend simply said to me….Don’t ever loose that about yourself, you know the flowers in the hair and the spirit you bring to the sport….It stayed with me. It is my own unique and authentic experience with running and triathlon. It is essentially my voice for the sport I love. Find YOUR own voice and use it loudly! I never claim to be a “time stellar athlete” but that wouldn’t be “me”. That is not my goal and dream. It is someone else’s goal and dream and a beautiful one. But we have to honor our own inner spirit and voice and find our path. It is a journey for us and us alone to decide what that will look like.
I have friends across the board … Striving for Kona and BQs, Finishers, One-and-Done friends, casual participants and ones who have coaches who just want to see what their bodies can do. I have sat at a dinner table singing Happy Birthday to Wilson Kipsang in Iten, Kenya and I have hugged a man who lost over 100 pounds and was completing his first marathon. Both are just as special in my eyes. Everyone really is equal in this sport. We all just have different personal goals. And EVERY DAMN ONE of those goals is pretty spectacular. How boring would it be if we ALL had the exact same goals and time goals or if we all just wanted to finish.
That is the beauty of this sport. We can ALL succeed in our own way. With our own strengths and weaknesses. With our own authenticity and voices. And we can ALL cheer for each other and be so fucking proud when we hit our goals! THAT is what is amazing about this sport and why I love it so much.
In the end … does it matter if you are self coached or coached? Nope. Not one bit. Evaluate YOUR life and goals and make the decision best for you. My decision was to be self-coached. And I will stick with it for the long foreseeable future. It works for me. And is where I like to be. And where you like to be is perfect too. We can all succeed and have FUN in this crazy endurance world TOGETHER!