Training programs are relatively easy to create. Just use the formula A+B=C where A is the athlete, B are the athletes goals and C is the program.
Here’s the thing though, the A part of this equation is not that simple. Let’s take Sally for example. Sally is entirely fictional but her situation is fairly typical. Sally’s “A” part of the equation says she is a 35 year old with two years of triathlon experience. She swam in university and decided triathlon would be a fun thing to do in her 30’s. That seems simple enough but inevitably there is more to the story. Sally is a mother of two young children which takes time and energy. She can only swim on Monday and Thursday and on Friday’s she works at the local bingo hall calling out numbers like B78 to the 70-80 age groupers. She has a small leg length discrepancy from all the breast stroke kick she did in university and her right foot gets blisters if she runs more than an hour. Sally is one of the most confident people you will meet in her job as a neuroscientist but when she gets close to races she is a complete train wreck. She hates the idea of a mass swim start, in fact just the thought of it makes her hyperventilate. Sally hates mornings. Sally has a pet turtle which can and must be fed at 5pm every day or it may die due to lack of routine and Sally’s overzealous husband is so certain that Sally will make it as a pro he has quit his job and started searching for sponsorship for her. So far he has secured an energy bar sponsor so the family can eat without any real income and he has also negotiated a contract which will provide the family with free elastic shoe laces in exchange for 12 blog posts per year. Sally can commit about 10-12 hours per week to her training but once June rolls around she can commit a bit more.
So what’s the point of all this? The point is that planning for athletes is not as simple as A+B=C but a good coach will make it seem that way. The jigsaw puzzle that is Sally is complex yet strikingly common unless the athlete is free of pretty much all other life responsibilities or has a contract with Red Bull. We all have a framework within which we can operate and a good program should figure out a way to make that happen and deliver it in a simple, easy to execute manner that finds a way to success regardless of the obstacles.
Jasper Blake, Head Coach