Coach Tip Tuesday: The Triumph Can't Be Had Without the Struggle

Posted On:
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
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A photo of the finisher chute at IRONMAN 70.3 Syracuse in 2016. I am on the right, heading into the finish line with a big smile on my face and my right arm held up about to high-five a spectator on the other side of the fence in the finisher chute. This was the first time that Vader Arm and I completed a triathlon after the fractures I sustained in 2015 (both my foot and my arm). This finish was MUCH more significant and exciting to me because of the obstacles I had to overcome to earn it.

Tuesday, Tuesday!! Yes, indeed. It’s Coach Tip Tuesday!!

Coming off of SUCH a great weekend of racing by Team MPI athletes (both those I work with and then others who I don’t!!), I’ve been thinking a lot about how hard these victories were earned by these athletes.

As a coach, I am invited by athletes to be a part of their inner circles and personal lives.  I learn A LOT about what is going on in their lives  - the good, the bad, the sad, and the happy.  One of the major things I do as a coach is help athletes manage the inclusion of sport, goal-setting, and/or racing in their lives in a way that is balanced with all of those other elements of their lives.

As such, I know first-hand from listening to so many athletes over the years that there is a very real struggle that goes on behind the scenes for each athlete.  What that struggle is is different for each athlete, but each athlete does have a current of struggle woven into the fabric of their endurance training lives.

What I also know from experience is that that struggle - that adversity, the hardships, the bad days - makes it so that the accomplishments achieved by athletes are that much more poignant.  In fact, I have observed that the adversity that is faced and overcome by athletes along the paths to their goals is exactly what makes their accomplishments so significant to them.  If they hadn’t faced the adversity or the struggle, the end result would not be as meaningful to them.

I’ve personally experienced this as an athlete, so I know this to be true.  Since 2015, each sport-related accomplishment I’ve had has been much more significant because The Vader Arm Saga made it so that it has taken me A LOT to get to where I am today.  I’ve also experienced it in my personal life; like SO many things in sport, the lessons learned translate over the “real” life as well. :)

So this week, my tip is this: When you are struggling, facing adversity, experiencing self-doubt, or just plain want to throw in the towel, remember that working through and overcoming that hardship is EXACTLY what will make reaching your goal feel SO much better and more valuable to you.  Know that you will learn and grow as a person and athlete from that less-than-stellar experience or time.  And know that even with the struggle, you can be victorious in your own realm.  Yes, indeed:  "The triumph can’t be had without the struggle." -Wilma Randolph


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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