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Coaches Blog

Stop and smell the roses

Updated: Jun 5, 2022

Photo Description: A photo of desert landscape butting into the Organ Mountains in Las Cruces, New Mexico. There are low-lying yellow plants that break up the brown of the rocks and the landscape, and then the brown mountains climb steeply up against a blue sky. The mountains look as if they are constructed of individual pillars linked together - in fact, looking like an organ in a church.

by Laura Henry

Coming to you from my westward route on my way to the Team MPI Coaches Retreat: West Coast Edition, it’s Coach Tip Tuesday!!

Over the last two days, I’ve driven over 1,000 miles on a road trip from Austin, Texas to Tempe, Arizona. I broke up the trip by stopping in Las Cruces, New Mexico. While I was there, Anakin (my Specialized Roubaix road bike) and I went on a ride to explore the area and soak up some sun.

The route I rode took me through the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico and then out to Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. This ride had EVERYTHING - city riding (complete with stopping every block), distracted drivers who tried to kill me at least three times, rural riding, Cyclocross practice (in the form of cattle grates), climbing, flats, downhills, beautiful views, and then silence that was so wonderfully deafening.

I have the opportunity to travel quite a bit, and I will take a bike with me every single time I’m able to. If I’m not able to take a bike, I do always have running gear with me. Exploring places away from home on bike or on foot is my favorite, as it is one of the best ways to truly experience an area.

Today, while I was out riding, I stopped often. I read the informational placards in the National Monument area, took photos, and sometimes just stood there, listening and appreciating the deep silence of this beautiful place.

I firmly believe that structured workouts help us to reach our goals and become our very best as athletes. But I also firmly believe that it’s SO incredibly important to remember why we do this in the first place, and many times, that means going a bit unstructured and slowing things down.

Not every workout needs to be high-intensity. Not every workout needs to beat the last workout completed on the same course. Not every workout is about metrics. Sometimes, the success of a workout is measured by its impact on your soul. This is ESPECIALLY true during the current phase of training that most athletes are in: Maintenance Phase. There will be time to do the “hard” work later on. For now, embracing new opportunities and truly focusing on ENJOYING fitness experiences is a great way to stay engaged in sport over the long-term.

When I coach athletes, I coach the entire person. The athlete side, and the human side. Many athletes love to focus on the athlete side (i.e. the workouts, the metrics, how fast they’re going, what the competition is doing), but if the human side of the athlete is left unattended, the athlete will be missing a very critical piece of the puzzle that can lead to their success. Success is more than metrics and times. In my experience, success is the ability to let go and embrace the feel-good opportunities that are presented and to seize them.

The next time you visit a new place, I challenge you to “stop and smell the roses.” Think about what you have the ability to experience, and fully embrace that opportunity. Slow down. Record some brain movies for you to replay later on. You can even do this in your home area; choose to see your backyard through a different lens. Remind yourself that you are more than what Coach Garmin tells you you are (Coach Garmin is probably wrong, anyway ;) ). Remind yourself that you are a human first and that athletic endeavors allow us to enhance our human experiences. Truly, this type of slow-down might be the very thing that helps you unlock your potential to become smarter, stronger, and faster. :)

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