#1 pitfall in self coaching

About a week and a half ago I had a little mishap at the gym. I was about to finish my 4th set of squats when I felt this small sting in my groin. It turned out to be a slightly pulled adductor. This whole thing did not come out of the blue. I had already been given an early warnings few days before (small cramp in the same area) and a red flag (tightness in the adductor) after the 3rd set that very same day. Why did I fail to listen to those early warning signals?

IMG_1908The other day I read an article about Do’s and Dont’s of coaching. The punchline “the training session begins the second the athlete walks in the door” caught my attention. The accompanying text discussed about coaches’ need to probe the athlete’s readiness – physical and mental – to define the best training session for the athlete today. I couldn’t help feeling a little sting when thinking about discussions I’ve had with myself at the gym door. The topic has rarely been about should I do the planned session or not. If I have one,  it is to give myself a swift kick in the butt in order to reach the desired state of mind.

Why is it so hard to listen to yourself? And even harder to adjust, or totally alter the plan? For a self coached athlete the time for discussions and plan changes has long passed when you’re at the doorstep of the training facility, all pumped up and ready to go. In general, to me any discomfort related to plan adjustments are related to what the plan stands for. It is the path to an achieved goal – to win something or someone, usually myself. Doing anything less would mean you’re not up to the task. Recognising this personal attribute hopefully helps me in further increasing the built in wiggle room in my own planning. The other side of the coin, equally important one is the nature of the sport. Being a stressed out wreck makes a killer cocktail when combined with heavy sprints or barbel training. I learned this the hard way.

What about those red flags during a training session then? This late mild groin injury of mine is a perfect example of why those red flags are meant to be taken seriously. In a worst case scenario I’d be working my way through a significant adductor tear. The initial recovery and rehab period would probably be two weeks or so. I’d be on the second week now. supercompensationThen I’d face a period, maybe from few weeks to couple of months, trying to get back to the point where I was before the mishap.
Instead of missing a set at the gym and perhaps a tiny bit of super-compensation, I’d be looking at missing several weeks to few months of steady progress. How about that for a trade off.

So heres a mental note to self: In the case of mid session red flag the answer to the question “Should I try to finish the session as planned?” is always “NO!“. End of discussion.




3 thoughts on “#1 pitfall in self coaching

  1. Hello, Harri,

    I am an old (59yrs) cyclist attempting to recapture the track performances of his youth. While this effort will ultimately prove futile, the journey will not.

    Your blog has been the single greatest resource as I have moved forward. Your athleticism, your knowledge and the intelligence with which you apply it to the subtle science and exacting art of track sprinting has been a delight to follow.

    It has been a while since your last posting. I can only assume that the OTS continues to be a problem while the stupefying boredom of the trainer has not helped. What ever the reason know that I have enjoyed reading about your journey.

    As the father of 2 young men who are off at university, I would urge you to enjoy your time with your sons while they are small, they don’t stay that way for long..

    Kind Regards


    • Hi Michael,

      And thank you for your kind words!

      Fortunately OTS has nothing to do with the long silence. Life has been pretty hectic this past year, because of the changes in professional life. I have tried to train the best I can and will put myself into a test again this October in old men’s Worlds. I have a list of topics to write about and will get to it when ever I get a chance. This is what I have in mind:

      – Weight loss and its impact on performance
      – Moving from 170mm crank to 165mm
      – Tapering, repeated mistake / lessons learned
      – Training volume progression over the past couple of years

      I might have something to say about squats too 😉

      BR, H.

  2. Hello Hari,

    Glad to hear that your publishing hiatus is career related rather than OTS.

    That said I urge you to publish the 4 topics which you mentioned in your email, they are topical and for older guys are not dealt well with else where.

    And of course we can not get enough of the ubiquitous squats.

    Good luck at the Worlds, and thanks again for all your super observations regarding old guys trying to go fast.

    Kind Regards


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