#TrustTheProcess. If you have been in the Philadelphia area for the past few years you are all too familiar with the phrase trust the process and hopefully this is the year it comes to fruition for the 76'ers. As a distance coach, I ask you to trust the process, but more importantly trust the science. Being a mathematician, I work well with variables. Solving, combining take your pick. It could be one variable, two variable or multi variable equations I can set it up and solve. But how many variables are there in reaching your racing goals. There are so many variables that lead up to the actual day of the race, let alone all the variables or intangibles that occur on race day to even count. Is this why people wish you good luck when you are about to enter into competition? I often hated it when someone wished me luck. I did not want my performance to merely come down to luck. That would imply that all of my preparation was in vain. It simply was if Lady Luck would look my way on a given day determined my successes or failures. Ones performance is determined long before you step on the starting line. It is all about the preparation. As a coach or even as an athlete we can often get hung up with over preparation or over thinking things. As an athlete, do I know all my competitors? Do I know all of their pr's? How should I do? Where will I finish? If that meant everything, then why do we show up and race. We show up and race because racing has a human aspect to it. As a coach, many often look for that golden workout. Unfortunately that doesn't exist. Not to say that there isn't good workouts or good plans, but it isn't solely in the plan, it is in motivating the athlete to achieve more than they ever thought was possible. Some coaches get hung up on immediate success no matter the cost. Unfortunately I have seen some really good athletes either get burnt out, or injured as a result of that tactic.
The Greeks knew it best. Aristotle-the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. What does this actually mean. Individually we are not much, but together as a whole we are a lot more. Very fitting for a cross country team. How many do you need? At least 5, but 6 is better. 7 is even better. 8, 9, 10, ... We could keep going. Individually we can not accomplish much, but together we can climb higher than we thought possible. Aristotle's saying could also apply to our training. It is the sum of everything we do. Warm up, drills, stretching, working out,basic runs, our diet, our sleep, where does it stop. Neglect one of these areas and slowly cracks in the foundation of our preparation will begin to form. Not over night, but slowly. Unfortunately they will be most evident when we sit back and look at the end work of a season.
So what do we do? Nothing and hope that luck is on our side, or work on the areas that we know need attention? I would choose the latter. The most important thing is having a plan, and to keep track of it. If I decided to start lifting and didn't have a plan set forth, I would get disinterested and fall away from it sooner rather than later. Could you imagine if I coached that way. Not having a plan or a direction in which I wanted the team to go. Merely coming everyday and making it up on the fly? How much success would our program have? Now don't confuse that with slight changes in direction. I as a coach need to have the good sense to listen to my athletes when there is good communication and you as an athlete need to understand the difference between pain from workouts and pain from an actual injury. Own it, is a phrase that I have often heard. Taking ownership of what you do is vitally important to achieving success. I have heard a coach or two in the past say to race/train for your teammates and for your coaches, but ultimately you need to do it for yourself. Teammates will come and go, and even will some coaches, but you will always be there for you.
So our program's success, whether it is this year or the success we see over the long haul, comes not just from our top runners, but from everyone that calls themselves a lady chief harrier. As the season just started, but will go by quickly remember this. You only get one 2017 season. You will only be a fr, so, jr, Sr once. For some girls this might be your first year in high school or your first year running. Others this is the end of the road for your high school career. Either case, this might be the only time you get to stand on a starting line with 6 other girls that are all in the same boat as you. Take advantage of the time you have left this year and let us take an Aristocratic approach to everything we do. Individually, not one specific thing will help you get better, but as a whole they will all help you achieve your goals and our team's goals.