Posted On:
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Coach Tip Tuesday: There's Rarely a Perfect Race

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Coach Tip Tuesday is back for another round!!

The next couple of weekends are very busy with goal races for all of the athletes who I work for - both Team MPI and Fleet Feet Syracuse.  As we head into this busy race time, I want to talk about this:

There is rarely such a thing as a perfect race.

Am I being a pessimist??  Nope.  I’m being very real.  Over the course of a “career” in endurance sports, athletes may race dozens, even hundreds or thousands, of times, but they will likely be able to count the number of “perfect” races on one hand or less.  This is my ninth season in endurance sports and I’ve had a perfect race exactly once.  Fortunately for me, it lined up with my one and only IRONMAN, so when that happened, I thanked my lucky stars and promised the endurance sports deities that I would never wish for another perfect race again. 

Most of you are probably thinking….well that’s freaking discouraging, Coach Coach Laura Henry.  Why the heck would you continue to be in the endurance sports world if you’ve only had one perfect race in nine seasons??  I can sum it up in this: Because I’ve learned that while I might not get a perfect race each time I race, I certainly can execute perfect effort.

What does “perfect effort” mean??  It means giving the best effort I can for the day, which includes the race course, weather conditions, current fitness levels, emotional stress levels, equipment status, and more.  While I believe that I only got perfect effort AND a perfect race once when I raced IRONMAN Louisville, I know I have executed perfect effort more times than I can count.  While there certainly are things that I can pick to work on and improve upon from each race, knowing that I gave perfect effort gives me a feeling of immense success.

This all circles back to last week’s tip about managing expectations and previous tips about how Rating of Perceived Exertion is a great way to train and race (funny how that happens….. ;) ).  If you manage your expectations, and give your perfect effort for a given day, then you will feel that you are King of the World (cue “Titanic” theme music).  If you’re racing this season, I encourage you to use effort as the gauge of your success.  Rise up to the challenge of executing perfect effort, see where it takes you, and you might just be surprised by your results. :)


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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