Racing Advice from Coach

>> Monday, July 09, 2018

I've been mentioning Coach Jen Harrison a lot lately as I've done 2 of her workouts the last 2 weekends. (She's the one who gave me a handful of interval workouts before a road mile in 2013, and the one who coached me to a 59:05 10 Mile back in 2010 - here's the first post about intervals recently, and here's the second one.) She posted something recently on her blog that I wanted to share.

In this blog post, Jen talked about just wrapping up 5 races in 5 weekends: a 10 mile road race, a sprint tri, Madison 70.3 tri, and 2 more sprint tris. Here's part of her post:

An athlete I coach recently asked me, "What do you think about when you are racing?" I loved that question.

I don’t think. I just do.

I know my strengths and I know my limiters. One of my best strengths and something I worked so very hard at is compartmentalization. As a mom there were days in the past I would sleep MAYBE 4 hours at night and have to race. Or, I would have dozens of my own athletes at a race and answer questions all morning only to turn around and race myself. I have learned to compartmentalize everything.

I create boxes in my head. One box is family, another is work, another is my body, another is the race, etc. And, when I race I take out the work box and the self racing box, etc. I leave the KID box and husband box and “I have to go grocery shopping” box on the shelf. I do not allow myself to go there. It is just a waste of energy and space at that time. It is like flipping the switch. If you can work on this innate ability, it will be the best use of your time from a mental preparation standpoint. Don’t think about work – about your kids – about your spouse – leave that on the shelf. COMPARTMENTALIZE your life and it makes things so much easier to live and be present.

The five races I did consisted of: 10 mile run race, Sprint Triathlon, Madison 70.3, Sprint Triathlon and another Sprint (longer one) Triathlon.

THIS NEXT PART IS INTERESTING. It's maybe more interesting for those who can win their age group at races more than those who finish mid-pack, but this is worth noting:

In all of those races, I never once had a watch on. I was present and racing the competition. What was I going to do if my watched beeped, “you are working too hard!” Slow down? Why? In a 1/2 Ironman, of course I am prudent and smart, but in a Sprint Triathlon?? Either I am up front or I am not. Period. No data is going to gauge that feeling of ALL OUT for me better than my gut. Learn how to race and learn how to suffer – and just use the data for a check in. But, I am flying by people coming out of the water hitting buttons or fumbling w/ their watches and I just get those 10 more seconds out of myself as that unfolds.

Many of us race for different reasons. I know myself and as I continue to get older and slower I race the competition. Locally, I am racing every girl. At the big races (Madison 70.3) I race my Age Group.

But, what is really important is not that I think data is bad. Goodness no! I coach with all the data. What I just think is way more important is what many coaches try to teach and many athletes try to learn: JUST DELIVER the results.

My inclination is to ask "Thoughts?" after reading this... but Jen coaches the majority of the best athletes I know, so I KNOW she knows her shit. Just thought this section of her blog was worth sharing. Here's the full post if you're interested.


Jennifer Harrison 10:11 AM, July 10, 2018  

Thanks Steve! :) Glad this resonated with you!

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