Posted On:
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Coach Tip Tuesday: You're Probably Giving 100%

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A pair of red balloons each with a single white percentage symbol on them.

A lot of my recent Coach Tip Tuesdays have centered around the Maintenance Phase and the holiday season…and with good reason.  Paradoxically, this time of year can feel both refreshing and stressful, and in my experience, reminding athletes that this is normal is a powerful thing.  In a related vein, here’s my tip this week:

If you have 40% to give and you give 40%, you really gave 100%.

This tip definitely applies all year long, but I find that it’s an especially important reminder at this time of year.  (In fact, right around this time last year, I wrote a related post about how something is almost always better than nothing.)

It’s all too easy to beat up on ourselves for not “doing it all”.  We’re told a story by our current culture and media that we should be doing it all - careers, family, friends, health, etc. - and be smiling, happy, and not overwhelmed as we do it.  This is a farce.  

Life is a zero-based budget, so we’re always going to have to budget our days and weeks.  This means that we will always be making choices about what things we’re spending our time on, and by default, that means that we will never have 100% to give to any one thing in our lives.  Because we do need to put our time and energy into multiple things simultaneously, at best we will always have a percentage of our full selves to give to any one thing.

Enter my percentage statement from above. If you have 40% of yourself to give to something in a given day because the other 60% is allocated elsewhere or just plain used up and then you give that 40%, you gave 100% of what you had to give.

Some of the more common comments I see in Final Surge from the athletes who I coach is “This wasn’t my best” or “I wasn’t my best today.”  Ask any of them who has ever said that (that would be all of them ;) ) and they’ll tell you that I challenge them when they say that.  It is a statement that is literally almost never true.  When I challenge them and ask them if they slacked on this, disengaged, or didn’t give the best effort they had on that specific day, they almost always realize that they did do their best for that day.  

And so, in that same spirit, I’m here today challenging all of you reading this who have ever said “This wasn’t my best” to yourselves or your coaches.  There are very few times in our lives or endurance sports careers where we will actually achieve “the best” result in anything that we do.  In endurance sports, you will not always be your fastest.  This means that most days will not be “the best”.  They will be average.  But just because it’s not “the best” results-wise does not mean that you didn’t give your best effort or the full amount you had to give on a given day.

The next time you head out for a workout, embrace the reality that you never had 100% to give to start with.  Give what you have to give, and know that that means you did actually give 100%.


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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