Running Triathlon

Running, Triathlon & Race walking information. Cutting edge ideas & insights from a very experienced & highly qualified endurance coach.

Friday, December 23, 2005

How much can an endurance coach formalize motivational work with an endurance athlete?

It has long been a passion of mine to learn & apply as much information as I can in order to assist an athlete in breaking through to the next level of performance. Granted, each individual is different, but I have often wondered if a self-help MODEL of some sort would be applicable across the board. My strongest attempt at creating such a tool to date was the creation of Magical Running, (, a book I wrote using mainly NLP (neuro linguistic programming) moving from an explanatory phase to a workbook format. I found that certain types of runner/triathlete found it effective--these were the more disciplined types & a few were Olympic level athletes.

If I were to redo the work I would add sections on modeling & definitely the genetics of performance. In about 1996 I stopped "looking" for physiological phenoms - i.e. runners whose lab & field testing results showed that they could be world beaters. This was VERY frustrating, because in South Africa there are many such runners, but for one reason or another (the subject of which would make a great blog entry for later), they seldom reached their true potential. Now this could of course have been as a result of poor coaching (that's me!), or bad training regimes (me again), but too many other, less gifted athletes did really well under my tutelage. There are many exceptions of course. Take Lance Armstrong (not to unleash a maelstrom here), but he had the lab numbers (i.e. the genetic potential) & went on to more than fulfill that potential. In South Africa of course there are many socio-political reasons as well. Add to that the massive emotional chaos caused by apartheid & one realizes that this too could be why many "physiological marvels" never became great in this country.

All this aside - as coaches, are we paying enough attention while developing athletes for personal high level performance (be they gifted or just your average weekend warrior), to the elements that add up to performance that are NOT physical?

If you have comments or interests in this field, feel free to contact me at

Until next time - remember fitness is magic


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