Coach Tip Tuesday: "Crush" It, or Be Smart About It?? You decide.

Posted On:
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
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A black and white photo of an athlete reaching through the water as he is swimming.

It’s gonna be May, and it’s gonna be Coach Tip Tuesday!

How many of you out there have one “zone” when it comes to executing workouts? I know there are a bunch of you out there that do...I’ve seen it time and time again over the years. So, so many athletes feel the need to go as hard as they can and “crush” every workout.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to go hard and “crush” every workout. I’m also here to tell you that you shouldn't crush every workout. What should you do? Be SMART about every workout.

When following a training plan or executing a workout, it’s always important to consider the purpose and intent of the workout. Is the workout’s purpose to encourage good recovery? If so, then “crushing it” is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing. Are you a long course triathlete executing a long workout?? If that’s the case, the holding back (and not “crushing it”) would be the best strategy, since proper pacing is the objective in a long course race. If the main purpose of the workout is to work on skills development, then “crushing it” would completely obliterate that objective. However, if the workout is something like a Functional Threshold Power Test, Lactate Threshold Heart Rate Test, or Critical Swim Speed Test, then crushing it is exactly what is called for in that workout.

All of the things I’ve described above (and more!) are integral pieces of well-thought-out and designed training plans. Where workouts fall relative to each other in a training plan also drives their purpose. (As I’ve written before, there is a method to the madness when we coaches plan out a training week or a training cycle. :) )“Crushing” a workout that isn’t intended to be crushed might very well set you up poorly when it *does* come time to work hard in a workout that is planned to be a tougher one. (I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I’ve seen that happen over the years.)

This week, I want to encourage you to reframe your thoughts on “crushing it.” Instead of the normal definition of it (when one goes as hard as possible), I encourage you to think of “crushing it” as nailing the intended purpose of the workout and executing a smart workout. Read the workout, and truly digest what it is that you are supposed to be doing as you execute it. And then, go forth and do your very best to execute it as written. I promise that if you are smart about how you handle your training, you’ll see results that are greater than you can imagine. :)


Coach Laura Henry

Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. 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

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