Thursday, December 06, 2007


Last week, I met with a new coaching client who is training for an Ironman. He mentioned that he was excited to work with me, yet truthfully, a bit scared. The reason for the timidness was that he had heard that I put my athletes on a pretty aggressive schedule.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Ironman distance and the Ironman experience. I want all of my athletes to show up on race day knowing they are ready to tackle the distance. I want them confident that they are there to "race" and I'm also very proud of the ease in which my athletes recover from an Ironman. Of course, this is a relative thing, but most of my athletes feel pretty good in post race week.

This isn't about defending my coaching style but more so defending the respect of endurance events. Let's take marathons for example. Doesn't it seem that there are a lot of people showing up at marathons not really prepared to run a marathon? Look at the debacle at Chicago. Yes, most will say that was a result of the freakish hot weather on that day, but it was in the high 70's to low 80's! That's hot for a stand alone marathon, but for most IM competitors, that's the average IM marathon temperatures. Running out of water on race day in Chicago was a huge faux pas by the race director, but I think the bigger issue was that most weren't prepared properly. Look at the staggering amount of people participating in marathons each year. I think that most people would love to have "finished a marathon" on their life resumes and don't take into account the training and preparation involved to do one well. Well meaning "run" the marathon. Time is mostly irrelevant because there are all different abilities, but I think a marathon should be run. The news and tabloids were filled with pictures of Katie Holmes the day after she "fast walked" the NYC marathon! Tom was so proud. Give me a break! There are a lot of coaching programs now stating that "you to can complete a marathon in just 10 weeks of training". Not if you don't have a solid running base built before beginning those ten weeks. I don't feel there is a respect for the distance and if I get flamed for stating this, so be it.

Now, you are beginning to see this filter into Ironman races. I have been asked frequently if I'll be racing an IM again next season, to which I respond "I'm not sure yet". I have to much respect for the event to not show up at the starting line in my best condition ready to race. I no desire to do an IM just to do one. I could set a date to cover the distances from my house if I felt I needed to prove to myself that I could still cover the distances.

Endurance races are just that - "races". Anyone who has prepared well for one and raced one knows that the event deserves the respect of showing up at the starting line fully prepared. If you want the label but aren't really interested in doing the work, you need to question what your principals are to begin with.




Anonymous said...

I think I'm getting old and sounding like may father, but you hit the nail on the head. People seem to be distorting all sorts of things. We have employess that are called "case managers". Some of them do a fine job, others just push paper and never truly manage a case. I'm betting they would walk the marathon and it might even take a few days.


Eric said...

Thanks for responding Ed and glad you agree!

Anonymous said...

Hey Eric,
It's been awhile but I stop in every now and then and check up on yous guys, By the way this is a great topic for the discussion board.

Tell your new guy just what you wrote here, it works. I trained 3 years with you, always completing 90% of the volume, and have continued with pretty much the same formula for the last 3 years. (I tried a "less is more" year, but that didn't work as well). Except for a couple of races that I couldn't work out the mental part just right, I have finish all 10 IM's satisfied that I did race them and recovered very quickly.

By the way, this last IMFLA was one of my fastest, but not a PR and I am shooting for a new PR there next year. Respecet is a good title here, in respecting the distances I get motivation during training and even more on race day.

anyway my 2 cents
hope all is well with you and yours
Steve S

Cliff Tam said...


Inside Triathlon has an article similair to what you posted =>

There is a diff between signing up for a race and preparing for the race.

Eric said...

Steve - great to hear from you!
Cliff, thanks for the link. I'll check it out.



triguyjt said...

hey eric.. found your blog from angelas links. nice stuff..
i'm trying your little circuit workout tonight at the balls etc. wife is personal trainer...speaking of the wife. she has been pulled over but she did not get a free pass like your wife...keep posting..enjoy it..
best in training.if you don't mind, i will put your blog on my bloglist at my site..

Eric said...

Hi JT, thanks for reading and certainly feel free to add my blog to your blog list.

Good luck with my circuit - as long as you have the balls, you'll be fine!