Expect The Expected!


Posted by Coach Mark Turner

In coaching we often talk about training for adversity and planning for unexpected events. We tell athletes to strive to think ahead, anticipate what might be, and have a game plan for the unanticipated. Often we do this to such a degree and focus on what might be that we miss having a solid game plan for what is certain to be. And while thinking about what might be, and having a strategy for the unexpected is a vital part of any race plan, equally as important is a plan that “expects the expected”.

You know the things that are likely to happen and yet you simply don't want to plan for or even think about them, and yet they do happen, each and every race. The nagging spot on the heel that always get's rubbed raw... but maybe this time it won't. The timing chip band you don't safety pin on... that always falls off. The bottle cage you know is tightened perfectly... that comes loose on the first railroad track.

The reality that you know and I know is that the average race course is littered with gear and opportunities lost to our failure to expect... and plan for... the expected.

The idea of expecting the expected was brought home to me on a recent evening drive with my wife, Lee and fellow Team MPI coach Amanda. On our way to grab a post-camp dinner with some athletes, volunteers, and staff from the Team Semper Fi Camp, Coach Amanda introduced Lee and I to a game that involved spotting and calling out Waffle Houses. It's quite simple. One is to call out "Waffle House" upon said sighting and then slap the roof of the car.

On the drive back to the hotel after a wonderful meal at a local Pensacola restaurant, Lee innocently spots and calls  out, “Waffle House!” which, of course, creates in Amanda, the Pavlovian response of smacking the top of the interior roof... loudly. Which also, of course, causes Lee to exclaim, “WHAT THE %$&^% WAS THAT?”

To which, of course, I reply helpfully, “What did you expect to happen when you called out, "WAFFLE HOUSE”? You're like that guy on YouTube who says, “I didn't realize there would be an explosion when I shook up a water bottled filled with vinegar and baking soda.” Expect that explosion.

The thing is, when we fail to expect the expected, we will always have an incomplete race plan. It may not involve Waffle House game level excitement, but such a failure could lead to really bad things on race day. So remember... there is always a Waffle House thump! Expect the expected and address as needed!

~ Coach MarkT

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