Have you ever had an athlete say to you, “I need you to motivate me”, or “my workouts are boring.” If you have, then it’s a wake-up call to understand that one of two things is going on with your athlete. They may have signed up for a race and know they need to train for it, but may not understand the process of what it’s going to take to do it. Or they may want the glory but don’t want to put in the work. It’s also possible that they haven’t thought about what it’s going to take to get race-ready, or maybe your athletes simply don’t understand the reason why you’ve given them the workout you have.
Come on, we’ve all groaned when doing an indoor trainer 2 x 20 Zone 4 workout, or had to run 2 x 20’ at 10K pacing when we had to, but those of us that have done it understand the why, and we can get through it; not only because of our muscular strength, but also because our mental fortitude which we’ve built over time.
We understand the why. Newer athletes may struggle with understanding the why of each workout. Granted, we don’t want to make them into little five-year-old asking why, why, why, but we do want them to understand the purpose. Because if they understand the purpose of the workout and they know what we’re looking for, then it gets them to be invested in the moment, and that will build their mental fortitude.
Pretty soon, when your athletes understand the why behind the workout, and they can see their progress from week to week, they’ll be asking you, “How did I do? I looked at my numbers. I think I did better than last week!” Instead of, “Why do I have to do this?” And that’s so rewarding.
So ask yourself why and educate your athletes. When they participate in their training instead of simply being recipients, the coach-athlete relationship is so much more rewarding.