7.11.13

Coach Wifey vs. Coach Rob

Actual conversation in our house:

Hubby: So I told Rob in my email about the slight twinge in my calf that I got towards the end of my run. I thought he should know due to my previous calf problems blah blah etc etc.
Me: mm hmm and what did he say?
Hubby: hydrate
Me: *serious look of death being delivered as he is being spared verbal fury because the mini coaches are in the room* Oh really?

I have only been saying for I don't know, years, that hubby's pee is way too yellow and that he needs to be drinking more. But of course that was just nagging obviously, not any sensible coaching or anything.

You often hear of many elite athlete/coach couples but most often it's the husbands coaching their wife. I mean if my husband has some sound advice to offer me - 'go take a nap', 'rest days are allowed', I'm pretty sure I listen. So why then is it so hard to reverse this role and for me, the wife, to coach my husband? Or at the least, make some athlete minded, goal orientated observations. After all, I have put in the time training equally hard for some of my events. After all, I'm only looking at him every day. After all, I'm only listening to him talk about triathlon 24/7.


A bit of history:

I suppose it's my fault. It all started when I bought hubby a triathlon book with training schedules in it to help him train for his first Olympic distance tri (June 2013). And sure, the author has far more experience than I do coaching. But let's face it, Coach F wasn't living in our house with a three year old and a husband who works shift work. There is no chapter on adapting the training to an eight day work week that includes two 12 hour day shifts followed by two 12 hour night shifts. After much nagging hubs allowed me to take his training program and let me plan his final six weeks of triathlon training based around what was actually happening in our life.

By no means did I disregard the plans from very experienced Coach F. But by letting me do the schedule it I could put his key workouts on days when they are most likely to happen. And similarly schedule off or light days when life is hectic. I also chose three or four key workouts per eight day rotation that he had to do. This also meant that I must make sure I'm doing everything I can to help him ensure he got them done. The result: completed workouts and some successful training for the final six weeks leading to a pretty decent race.

A bit more history:

Early on in the training cycle for the above mentioned race hubby was emaciated and fatigued. He was eating less than I was (ok in some fairness I was pregnant) and he was so concerned about his weight I honestly thought he had anorexia athletica. I was hounding him to eat more for months. After again, much nagging hubby finally agreed to properly track his calorie expenditure vs. intake. Surprise! He was having nearly an 800 calorie a day deficit - no wonder he was struggling to complete workouts and was taking far more rest days than necessary. Of course this calorie tracking has now become slightly obsessive but hey, he's eating.  

I'm proud of hubs for letting me take the reigns. He is slow and sometimes resistant to change (unless he reads it in a book or apparently hears it from Coach Rob). It only took months of nagging and begging for him to start taking on some calories during his longer training sessions. The result - less fatigue near the end and wanting to quit and also more energy for the next workout.



And now we're here...

After his decent performance at his triathlon I asked hubby if he would ever consider getting a coach, someone who could properly write a program around his eight day work week and shift work. He said no. Enter Rob, fellow paramedic and coach to one of the country's best young triathletes. Rob also happens to have a small coaching business. So once again, my fault, as I say to hubby - 'Ok seriously, you are unlikely to find a better coach who understands the demands and schedule you have at work. Why not at least contact him and start the discussion?'

One email later Rob is now Coach Rob. One group workout later, Coach Rob puts the bug in hubby's ear that he could go to world's in his age group for 2015, which would mean qualifying in 2014. Hooray!? So ya. I'm about to become a triathlon widow again. 

Ultimately I get to veto workouts. Now some of you say pish-posh to this but here's the thing - the deal going into this (and always will be) was that family comes first. With a three year old and a three month old, I need him around to be a dad, and a husband. He is already gone two nights a week with work, so I'm not about to loose his other six nights to training. Group workouts outside of the house end up consuming two plus hours of his night. For example, he got home at 6:30 from work tonight, ate a quick dinner, helped get the girls down until 7:30 and then left while I finished getting the baby down. It's now 10:00 and I'm about to wrap this up and head to bed.

I'm also the one living with hubby. I am the one living with the effects of his training and watching him.     He never believes me but I can always tell you when he's overtrained, under-fueled, and generally not in a good spot with training - just reference the history section above. Now that we have a monthly schedule from Coach Rob hubs and I need to sit down and talk about the logistics and what is really going to work with our life. I am only willing to give up so many evenings to training. And I'm only willing to give up so many hours on his days off to training. Yes, there will be nights we can train side by side in the basement; yes, I might eventually be able to go to swim training too; yes, it's only temporary. It's a bag of mixed emotions for me. Hubby is really talented and I think he could be a fantastic age grouper. But what about when I'm back to full training mode? What about just sitting around drinking beer and watching tv together? What about leisurely family bike rides?

I know hubby hasn't fully committed to the whole training process and trying to qualify for world's. I know we're in an experimentation phase to see how this plays out on our lives. Calorie counting; triathlon geek-speak; the new equipment that I'm sure will be heading our way - bike, aero helmet, carbon blah-bitty-bah. But as I'm being honest and open, I know that this is going to happen. Mostly because I know how important this is to hubby and I want to enable this process the best I can. So while I'm trying to find a way to be settled with all this, finding a way not to struggle with the time commitment, I am excited to see hubby excel under some coaching as opposed to this nagging he gets at home.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me laugh. Like I have lived this laugh. I used to send Joel to see the pracs (chiro/physio etc.) that I worked with to diagnose something I had already diagnosed. Funny how it has less validity coming from your spouse.

    Stu is going to be great at this. Excited to see him race!

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