Coach Tip Tuesday: Cs Get Degrees
Updated: Sep 7
Photo Description: The arm of a person wearing a graduation gown is holding out a rolled-up diploma toward the camera.
Seven days have already passed, so it’s time for another Coach Tip Tuesday!!
Some of you reading this have known me for most of my life, and if you’re one of the (fortunate?? :) ) ones who has known me since I was a kid, you know that I was THAT kid who aimed to get As in school. (Well, except for in math. The maths and I do not co-exist well.) Anyway, you all are going to think that this post is out of character for me, but truly, I think that this post is a sign of my growth. :D
Once I went to college (and basically worked full-time while simultaneously attending school full-time) and then DEFINITELY when I entered the workforce (often working 2-3 jobs at a time), I learned a very important lesson:
Cs get degrees.
Yes, indeed, the folks who attended Trumbull High School and Ithaca College with me who earned Cs across the board got the same high school diploma or four-year degree that I did, even if their grades were significantly different than mine.
As it turns out, this lesson is something that has carried through my adult life, and has DEFINITELY permeated my endurance life. Which leads me to this week’s tip:
Workouts are NOT pass/fail. There is a much broader range with which to assess workouts. And just like in school (and in life): Cs get degrees.
Some of you out there are probably scratching your heads, thinking that I’m telling you to aim for mediocrity and not to do your best.
I’m actually encouraging the exact opposite: I’m challenging you to work on training your mental skills so that you can see a workout with a wide-angle lens. Within a single workout, there are likely things that went really well AND things that didn’t go well at all. In my experience, athletes tend to focus on one or the other, and have a hard time seeing the yin/yang that exists in workouts, just as it exists in all of life.
Some folks (you know who you are) might only see the good pieces, and not want to acknowledge what didn’t go well in a workout. Some folks (I used to be one of them) exist in a state of relative denial about these things that could be worked on or improved in future workouts.
Other folks only see the bad, and there are MANY of you out there (believe me, I know….I read A LOT of post-workout notes :) ) who will have one thing go wrong in a workout and have that one thing set the tone for how you feel about the entire workout.
Right now, the majority of us do not have “big” goals bearing down on us. When we are training for a specific event, we can measure our progress and training against the goal we’ve set for ourselves that event, or by the parameters that we must execute to successfully complete the event (i.e. time cutoffs). Without a “big” goal looming on the horizon for a bit now, we don't have that “something” that we can measure our workouts/selves against. As such, this provides us with a wonderful opportunity to work on this mental skill - not viewing workouts as pass/fail.
This week, I challenge you to do the following:
Complete the workouts you have planned, and take notes immediately after finishing the workout. Write about how you felt (physically and emotionally), what sensations you experienced, what you did for nutrition/hydration, and what you did to manage any adversity that you encountered.
Then, take a “break” from the workout, and revisit your data and your notes 24-48 hours later. See if that time allows you to see the workout in a different light than you saw it after you finished it. If you do feel differently about it, ask yourself why. Also, take note of what has changed in how you perceive the workout, and the next time you complete a workout, aim to bring some of that perspective to that workout.
Additionally, as you evaluate your own workouts, imagine that the data you are looking at and the notes you are reading were written by someone you love (who isn’t you). What would you say to that other person?? What would you encourage them to see in the workout?? Would you steer them to see only the good?? Only the bad?? Or would you encourage them to bring a well-rounded perspective to what they had accomplished that acknowledges that workouts can have learning/teachable moments along with moments of glory??
Workouts, just like so many things in life, are not pass/fail. Cs DO get degrees, which means that all workouts - even those that you don’t view as AMAZING - can help you succeed over the long haul. Embrace this perspective, and you’ll be set up for success, my friends. :)
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Endurance and Paratriathlon Certified Coach, IRONMAN U Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success. She can be reached at laura@teamMPI.com.