My 20 year tenure in multisport has afforded me the opportunity to watch things change before my eyes. Back when I began (I raced in the Subaru triathlon series for years!) timing was done with velcro wrist straps. I remember the day Marc Roy showed me the championship for the first time and he personally told me it would change the sport forever.
I remember the day Curt and I watched live internet coverage of the Hawaii Ironman for the first time…. Lori Bowden and Nina Kraft battling it out on the Queen K. Before that coverage was non existent. You waited for friends to come home and Triathlete Magazine to publish results. You waited for the NBC Kona coverage, and it was actually good back then.
I remember the first use of heart rate monitors and the first GPS watches. I still have one of the first powemeters…. the Ergomo. It was WIRED if you can believe that. I have watched training go from something that was between the athlete and the athlete’s reflection in the mirror to a daily display on social media of how much you have swam, bikes and ran. It has all so literally unfolded before my eyes.
We still own a 1995 Computrainer model.
The pornification of our sport has grown. The technological dictation os every session has exploded and I myself have gotten caught up in both. For several years my watch…. rather than my heart dictated everything I did.
It’s taken me a long time to evolve from that.
As a coach I see athletes deal with technology seamlessly to frustrated. I don’t like when a misreading heart rate monitor dictates a mood.
Until a world champion stands on top of the podium and states this “I’d like to thank my gps watch and my FTP and my instagram selfies” I won’t allow technology to be at the forefront of any athlete I coach or that I coach myself. No way. In fact…. even if a world champion did that…. I would still not allow it to happen.
Disclaimer: technology is an important piece of training. I consider it more important for myself than the athlete. It gives me incredible feedback and allows me to plan training accordingly. I don’t need an athlete’s data to be 100% right all of the time.
One neat thing technology is allowing me to do is coach real time. When we download our bike data I am looking at the session after the fact. With two of my athletes who use Zwift … I now have the ability (when we can coordinate schedules) to coach them real time, on the bike, AS they are riding.
It’s pretty awesome.
Technology is great, but I am saddened when I see athletes avoid something fun because they have to hit X,Y, and Z per their coach, or get angry because their HRM is just not reading right today. Go outside. Look up. Breathe deep.
Does it matter? At the end of the day you get to be an athlete. You know your paces and zones without all that. Run anyway.
My big focus of 2016 personally is to get back to the basics. The basics are what build performances and as I said last week, are the glue that knits this all together. My goals aren’t to win national titles or world championships. My goals are really personal this time around. My races are all local. Mostly short course. I have found new love for what I do and in what I do when it comes to this sport. That is what drew me to it in the first place.
That is what counts for me. Not having the most likes, not having the best “trying to look like I am in a magazine” selfie. Maybe it’s because I have a long list of accomplsihments behind my name and a collection of plaques and medals…. that sit in a bag in a back room. Those don’t create my value. I create my value. I have loved collecting them along the way, each of them tell a story not just about paces…. but about people. I have had the greatest race experiences because of who I have shared courses with. That’s another blog post.
If I were still living in the world where social media didn’t exist, where timing was done with velcro straps and results printed on paper…… I would still do this. I love where our sport has come. I love what all this has allowed me to do as a coach…. but these days I approach with caution.
I am grounded in the why of it all, not the appearance of it all.
See what happens if you look inward today. If you put down the camera… or what if…. you turned the camera around? Man it’s an awesome view.
Don’t forget to view the world that way. Too often these days….. we do.