My journey into coaching began prior to 2005 while I was coaching myself at the beginning of my professional racing career. At that time, I realized that most of the athletes I was working with (including myself) had no problem pushing their limits and taking on everything that was dished out. But the challenge I found as a coach was to help those athletes understand that more is not always better. I feel very strongly about “work hard and rest hard” in order to bring out the best in each athlete, and as a coach, I do the best I can to incorporate the rest needed into an athlete’s daily, weekly and monthly schedule.
In 2004, I became the first U.S. triathlete to win an Olympic medal by taking the bronze in the Athens Olympics. I am deeply proud of that achievement. However, that success didn’t come without challenge as I experienced accidents and injuries, and I was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism. None of those obstacles held me back from achieving my goals. It was through my determination (one of the 3 Ds!) that I learned how important goal setting is for any athletic pursuit.
Just as every athlete is endowed with different abilities and skills, every athlete will have unique goals. These goals can range from completing their first 5k road race to winning a medal in the Olympics. On my journey to earning a spot on the Olympic Triathlon Team, my coach did an amazing job of helping me be the best I could be – each day – as I kept my goal in mind. I feel strongly that had I not accomplished this ultimate goal, I would know that I had put my best effort in and could still walk away satisfied that I gave it my best shot. This is how I coach my athletes – set goals, plan steps on how to reach this goal, give your best effort with every opportunity you have (keeping in mind that this doesn’t mean you have to kill it every day at every practice!) and find the success in knowing you gave it your all.
I absolutely love helping athletes reach their goals and realizing that they can accomplish something that they never thought possible. I enjoy promoting a healthy lifestyle and showing those with the busiest of work and family schedules that you can find a way to fit in activities to promote better well-being. As I get older, I see that we need to modify training, take extra rest, and prioritize strength training, and have enjoyed passing this type of coaching along to my peers that are in the same boat as me. Athletics is so much more than a fit body and I am grateful for the opportunity to share all of the benefits that exercise can bring.