Coach Tip Tuesday: Putting the Pieces Together

Posted On:
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
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What’s up, friends??  It’s time for Coach Tip Tuesday!!

This week I’m talking about putting the pieces together.  Stay tuned because this one is something a lot of athletes tend to overlook.

No matter what your sport is, all athletes must put the pieces of their own puzzle together come event day.  What do I mean by this??  It means that you must mindfully “connect the dots” if you’re going to have a breakthrough performance or feel truly strong reaching your goal.  In a 5K, that means learning to quickly dial in a hard, but sustainable effort that you can execute for all 3.1 miles.  In a marathon, it means learning to pace, hydrate, and feed yourself so you can endure 26.2 miles.  In a triathlon, it means learning to swim, bike, and run in the same event and to transition quickly between all three sports.

So let’s say that you’re a strong cyclist looking to take on a triathlon, but you’re a weak swimmer.  In order to make the most of your strong cycling ability, you’ll need to work on your swim so that you exit the water feeling strong and ready to execute the bike.  Neglect to do this, and you’ll lose any advantage you have as a stand-alone cyclist since you’ll be too fatigued from the swim to have a strong bike leg.  If you’re a runner looking to get into triathlon, you’ll need to decrease the amount of time you spend running and trade in those running training hours for some time in pool and saddle.  Stand-alone running and cycling endurance does not translate over to overall triathlon endurance.  Plain and simple.

Another example: Looking to take on a half marathon or marathon in running??  It’s much more than just running for 13.1 or 26.2 miles.  Both of these distances require a combination of running endurance, pacing practice, and nutrition and hydration strategy to be executed well.  Neglect just one area and you risk not having the race that you might be truly capable of.

I’ve been in the endurance sports community for awhile now, and I’ve watched so many athletes have race day performances that they were disappointed in, and they can’t figure out what went “wrong” on their own.  There are a lot of things in involved in this tip this Tuesday, but it really boils down to this: consider ALL aspects of your event when planning out your training and racing plans.  If you are not sure what ALL aspects might be, seek out the advice of a certified, qualified, compassionate coach who can do a lot of that thinking for you and teach you some tactics along the way.  The “puzzle” of race day doesn’t have to be a bunch of pieces lying on the table; with some planning and guidance you can figure out how to put them together to create quite the awesome finished product. :)

As always, feel free to contact me about any of this or if you would like to know how best to put all of YOUR pieces together.


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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