Coach Tip Tuesday: Seek Out Your Low-Hanging Fruit...and Pick It
We’ve sprung ahead and arrived back at Coach Tip Tuesday!!
Today, I want to encourage all of you to do something that I seek to do with each and every athlete I work with:
Seek out your low-hanging fruit...and pick it.
As anyone who has worked with me can tell you: I usually zero in on something that can be improved upon VERY quickly when I start working with an athlete. Why?? Because I want to find that “low-hanging fruit,” so to speak, and I want us to pick it. I want us to go after the VERY easy and obvious things we can do to help an athlete get stronger and feel better during workouts and in their racing.
Some people might see this as “nit-picking” or they might think that it means that I’m looking for something “wrong,” but that’s truly not the case at all.
Every athlete who hires me hires me because they are seeking something FROM me. Almost always, part of that something that an athlete is seeking is to get stronger, feel better, get faster, or stay injury-free. And without exception, I have been able to zero in on something that stands out to me that can accomplish this for each and every athlete I’ve worked with over the years.
Seeking out that low-hanging fruit is great for many reasons, but one of the big ones is this: It is a very easy way for an athlete to see results quickly. Typically, results from training take time (usually 8-12 weeks) to be truly seen or felt. BUT!! We can shorten that timeline if we go after that low-hanging fruit immediately.
What does that low-hanging fruit look like?? Here are some very common examples that I’ve encountered:
Not going easy enough on easy workouts or in easy intervals
Not hydrating enough (daily hydration or workout hydration)
Not fueling enough during workouts
Fueling with improper fueling sources during workouts (i.e. fat-based foods mid-workout versus foods that are more easily metabolized by the body)
Not focusing on cadence on the bike or run
Not focusing on form during the swim
Not having enough specificity in workouts
Not including enough variability within workouts or a training plan
Lack of strength training
Lack of flexibility or mobility
The list could honestly go on and on, but these are definitely common “fruits that hang low.” For athletes who are receptive to this feedback and are willing to implement suggestions for improvement, the differences in how they feel and perform can truly be astounding. One of the biggest ones is definitely nutrition/hydration: I cannot BEGIN to tell all of you how many athletes I’ve worked with who weren’t placing enough value on nutrition or hydration during workouts. Once I can get an athlete on-board with this, they are shocked at how much better they perform and feel.
I say this often to folks: Your way might be great!! But if you’re seeking a different result than you’ve achieved in the past, you need to be willing to actually DO something different than you’ve done in the past. You cannot do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. This means that you need to be willing to be honest with yourself, give yourself a hard look, and be willing to do something that might feel foreign or different to you.
What’s the worst thing that will happen?? That you end up where you already are?? But what’s the BEST thing that could happen?? That you reach your goals and feel AMAZING doing it??
So this week, I challenge you to take a hard look in the mirror. What is YOUR low-hanging fruit?? I KNOW it’s there, just staring you in the face. Don’t be afraid of admitting that you are not proficient in a particular area, that you don’t do something that you should, or that you have an opportunity for improvement somewhere. Go forth, pick that low-hanging fruit, and reap the results of that harvest.
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.