Posted On:
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Coach Tip Tuesday: Things are Often the Same More Than They’re Different

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Rows of bags of different colored apples. They may look different, but they are all still apples. :)

In rolls August, and another edition of Coach Tip Tuesday!

While this week’s Coach Tip Tuesday isn’t necessarily a part of the series that I just finished up that discussed the final build-in and recovery from an A-Race, this week’s tip is derived from many, many conversations that I had with different athletes during that time frame.

It probably comes as no surprise that the athletes I work with tend to want to talk a bit more in the time period right before a goal race. They have questions and things they want to discuss about the event itself. Additionally, due to the pre-race butterflies that athletes experience, many times these conversations involve me reminding the athlete just how strong and ready they are for their race.

This - the final time before a goal race - is a time period when overthinking can run rampant. This is especially true if overall training volume is reduced for Taper Phase after Peak Phase. As a result, part of my job is often to remind athletes that things are often the same more than they are different.

This idea is my coach tip for you all this week.  Yes, indeed, things are often the same more than they are different.  Some examples:

  • If your goal event is a running race that is a longer distance than you have ever done before, it is still - at its core - a running event.  This means that many of the elements that make up this race are the same as other events you have done.  The same goes for any other endurance sport (triathlon, cycling, swimming, etc.).
  • If your goal event is an out-of-town race in a discipline that you have completed before, it's still that discipline of race.  It’s just in a different geographic area.
  • If you’re traveling (hello, summer!), it is still possible to do the same workouts you would at home if you have your gear (running shoes, bike, etc.) with you.

Now, yes it’s true that there may be some elements of an event that are different from what you’ve experienced before, but if you’ve trained well and properly (which can absolutely be done, especially under the guidance of an experienced coach), then by the time you get to race day, you are ready.  No matter the distance of the race, the location of it, etc., the “different” elements about it should have been thought through early on in your training plan and then practiced so that they are not new come race day.

If you are traveling and out of your normal element and routine, that may feel disconcerting. However, people exercise all over the world! It is very possible to still keep up with workouts (even if they are shorter, etc. to fit in with what you have going on while you are traveling) and be in a place that isn’t home. In fact, this can be SUCH a fun way to explore a new-to-you area or an area that is not home. Some of my best and most memorable workouts have happened when I’m not home. Working out while traveling can provide a great opportunity to build lasting memories AND keep up positive momentum you’ve gained in your “normal” training routine at home.

Humans are not wired to like change, so it makes complete sense that something that we perceive to be “different” might be scary or intimidating at face value.  However, it’s really important to take a moment, pause, and take a step back to look at something for what it really is.  Instead of seeing all the things that make it different, I challenge you to find the ways that it is the same.  When you do this, you will (more than likely) see that there are more things in the “Similar” column than in the “Different” column.

So the next time you feel that heart rate rising and those butterflies in your belly, ask yourself “Why (specifically) am I feeling this way?” Once you’ve demanded evidence from your feelings, ask yourself the follow-up question: “How is this similar to what I’ve done in the past?” It really might help those butterflies fly in formation. :)


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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