Posted On:
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Coach Tip Tuesday: Try to See BEYOND

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Professor Trewlaney asking her students at Hogwarts if they are in the beyond.

Another seven spins of the Earth, and it’s time for Coach Tip Tuesday again!

I’ve been coaching for many years now, and over those years, I’ve worked with hundreds of athletes in varying capacities.  I’m very fortunate that the athletes who I have worked with have been kind enough to refer me to others and help me grow into being a full-time coach.  This week’s tip is based off of something that I have observed with a large percentage of athletes who I work with:

Try to see BEYOND.

What, exactly, do I mean by this? Well, while it’s my job as a coach to see the “Big Picture” and maintain “The Grand Master Plan” for the athletes who I work with, I can’t do that well or accurately unless athletes share certain information with me. As I often talk about: output is only as good as input. Basically, what I mean is that a coach’s output is VERY tied to an athlete’s input.

When I’m brainstorming “The Grand Master Plan” for an athlete, I’m taking A LOT of things into consideration. Some examples of those things are: past workout history/feedback, goal races, work schedules, family schedules, workout preferences, and facility/equipment access. When training for a specific BIG goal event, a solid training plan will get an athlete ready to race at exactly the right day, which means that everything is set up based on this timing. This means that important training sessions (we call these “key” sessions) or important training blocks cannot be rescheduled since their timing is relative to the actual, very specific date of the event.

So, it’s VERY important for me to know if something will compromise an athlete’s ability schedule-wise to hit a key training session or get in an important training block. Many times, athletes will ask me about doing XYZ race. And just as many times, I ask them what their life will look like surrounding that event. Will they have time to train leading up to it? Will they be able to get in the key sessions that will build both their fitness and confidence to the level we need it to be at to give a good probability at having a positive outcome on race day?

Sometimes, the answer is no.  Maybe the athlete has a major life event close to the race in question.  Maybe they want to race another event and it’s too close to the race they’re inquiring about.  Maybe they will be going on a vacation and be unable to fully train at a critical time in their training.  Maybe they’ll be coming off of a busy and stressful season/time at work and a BIG goal race isn’t the right thing at that time.

After all these years, I’ve learned that many athletes do not consider these things when they pick goal races on their own.  They think about the very current present, and then they think about the race.  There isn’t much thinking done about the in-between.  As a coach, I need to ask them these questions to draw their self-awareness to what is going on and to help guide them to make good, sound goal event choices that fit in well with their lives.

So this week, my advice for ALL of you out there - whether you have a coach or not - is to try and see BEYOND.  See BEYOND the goal race that you’re so excited about.  If you are coached, communicate with your coach about any major life events or travel plans as soon as you know you have them.  Those things may very well impact training blocks or the weeks in which a coach plans for you to hit key sessions, so if you communicate them last-minute, you may inadvertently miss sessions that could have been scheduled/timed differently if your coach had advance notice about your plans.  If you are not coached, be honest with yourself about what you have going on in your life, and set yourself up for success by selecting goal events where you have BIG goals that you can train optimally for.

Seeing BEYOND your initial excitement about an event is one of the best things you can do to set yourself up for success to reach ALL of your goals.  So this week, and for all of 2020, I encourage you to extend your perspective to BEYOND. :)


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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