Coach Tip Tuesday: Getting Ready to Get Ready

Posted On:
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
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A runner at a track who is getting ready to start their run.

Like clockwork, it’s Coach Tip Tuesday once again!

Here’s a question that I have heard SO many athletes ask over the last couple of months:

“What am I even doing?”

The worldwide response to COVID-19 (shutdowns, cancellations, etc.) has reshaped the landscape of endurance sports as we have come to know them.  Without any races for so many months on end, athletes all over have had to confront their “whys” that drive them to complete workouts on a daily basis.

More than a few people learned the following about themselves during this time: Their “whys” were much more tied to an actual race than they might have previously realized. And so, they ended up asking that question, “What am I even doing?”

Races are WONDERFUL.  They are fun, social, and they allow one to experience a location through a lens that is difficult (if not impossible) to view things through on any other day.  Races also entice athletes with swag, medals, podiums, and photo opportunities.  Really, there is SO MUCH to love about the race scene.  And as such, races become a very strong motivator for people.  Getting a nice, shiny medal after pushing yourself to reach a goal certainly can feel like a well-deserved and excellent reward!!  Cheering your friends on as you navigate a race course is exceptionally fun.  “Officially” beating your previous best time at a particular distance is extremely gratifying, and provides “proof” that all the hard work done in training was “worth it.”  Raising money for a cause near and dear to one’s heart and then completing an event in honor of that cause (or in honor of a loved one) is something that provides a massive sense of fulfillment for many.

Yes, indeed, races provide us with opportunities to challenge ourselves, connect with our communities, honor those we love, and connect with a cause that is bigger than ourselves. But what happens when we don’t have this?? Is what we are doing worth it anymore if we don’t have races?

I bet you all know what I’m about to say: YES, it’s absolutely worth it.  

For those of you out there who are extremely motivated by races, I know that it might seem like races are SO VERY far away right now and that it’s improbable that a race will happen soon.  And I can tell you this based on what I’ve observed over the last few months: if you let your mind focus on what you are NOT doing, it will stop you from being able to do what you COULD do.

No matter how things have felt over the last several months, races will not be gone forever.  I can say that with 100% certainty.  And so, to those of you out there who are highly motivated by races, I encourage you to think of this time period like this:

You are getting ready to get ready.

Since there are not any races, we don’t have a lot of race specificity in our training right now.  As such, this time is providing a WONDERFUL opportunity for each and every one of us to work on some things that typically don’t get attention this time of year.  Maybe there is a skill that we could focus on (mental skills, bike handling skills, transition practice, open water swimming, running drills, technique in any sport/discipline, strength training, mobility work, etc. are all options).  Maybe we could focus on the FUN behind what we do, instead of the “super-seriousness” of a race.  Maybe we could fine-tune some nutrition habits that could set us up for success in the future.

No matter what you choose, there is SOMETHING you can do right now to prepare for when it’s actually time to get ready for that goal you’ve set for yourself. You can get ready to get ready.

The work you are doing now is not in vain just because you are not racing this Saturday or even five Saturdays from now. Like I’ve talked about in the past, training is very much like Lego Bricks in the sense that each and every Lego Brick you lay down (i.e. each and every workout you do, skill you learn, element you practice) is a vital piece of the final, wonderful creation you will ultimately make.

As always, I want you to find joy in what you do.  By reframing your mindset and realizing that we are getting ready to get ready, you can find purpose in what you are doing, even if this year isn’t turning out like you envisioned it would.  Just because it looks different doesn’t mean it’s bad.  It’s just different.

Now, go out there and get ready to get ready. :)


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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