Written by Mary Eggers. Posted in Whole30

Saturday morning we were standing in Tim Horton’s ordering coffee before swim camp. My husband turned to me and said…. your skin looks amazing. I turned to see if anyone was standing to my right. Was he speaking to me?

Monday while I was training with my trainer Steve he said to me: You look leaner, more defined muscular and a lot healthier then you did through Ironman training, and you aren’t as worn out.

Amen to that brother.

Those are the simple, subtle things people will say these days. I am over three months into this Whole30… Wholeforever lifestyle. I have stopped counting which day I am on and I finally….. finally got off the scale. I will get back on Feb 1st (I just need to have something to measure darnit). But if the number on the scale remained exactly the same, the measure of my progress is how I feel.

I feel the best I have felt in years. And I will be forty next week. I am hitting that birthday feeling the best I have ever felt. I love that people are jumping on the Whole30 bandwagon. Anytime people take steps to improve their health… I am all in!

There are a few things that have gone into how I feel, but the biggest piece of this puzzle is Whole30… or whatever we want to call it. I don’t worry about titles, I focus on how it fits me, which is actually the whole goal of the program. Figure out how food fits you. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a cookie now and again…. I just don’t have it on a daily basis. Those sugary cravings are long gone. So if you are in the early days of this, I promise it gets better.

Training has been different this season. A lot different. I don’t bank high volume, and I am banking some bigger intensity. I look back on my Ironman years so fondly, but I look at today and I am even happier. My longest rides these days are 2:30. But they are a solid 2:30. I am enjoying the new perspective and new flow Coach Ryan has brought to the plate. I feel awesome.

I have been working on sleep. I am a natural early riser (3:34-4am), that’s just how I am wired. I go to bed early. I don’t watch TV unless I am on my bike or stuck on the treadmill. Each day I carve out 30 minutes to just lay on the couch. It’s normally when I pick up Luc from school. He gets a break, I get a break. Sometimes we both sit on the couch and chat. Sometimes I nap. It’s a crucial 30 minutes to my day.

Take care of the details and your body will really begin to take care of you.

My husband made the same statement regarding my skin last night. I am someone who has never had “good skin” but three months of excellent nutrition is beginning to shine through (I said excellent, not perfect). I also began using coconut oil on my skin. That could be my BEST beauty tip. Coconut oil. Who knew?

My training nutrition has remained simple. I am using Osmo (love) and Lara Bars. I will toss in an occasional gel. I love the new PowerBar Natural blends. At the same time I am not training for Ironman so my fueling needs right now are not as high. I listen to what my body needs. I don’t worry if it’s Whole30 compliant, I just make sure it’s Mary Eggers compliant.

All in all…. things feel good. Things are coming along. All of the changes I made this fall… coaching, nutrition, training, work…. are settled in and it feels good. Real good. I am in a good place. Which is a good place to be when you are knocking on turning 40 in a week!

Art of coaching

Written by Mary Eggers. Posted in Coaching, General

I am a student of coaching. I always have been. I have been blessed with terrific coaches throughout my swimming and now my triathlon career. What I have learned from them has always transcended sport. It’s really been about character, guidance (giving and receiving) and themes like that.

When I say I am a student of coaching I really should say I am a student of coaches. Good ones. The ones who are legendary in their sport. Anson Dorrance for example. One of his great statements (in my opinion) when asked if he is a good coach is “ask me in 20 years when I can see where my former players are in life” (I paraphrased that).

When I went to my first yoga teacher training years ago… I expected to be taught anatomy and how to properly teach poses. Which I was. What I was not prepared for was a continuation of my college swimming education.

Why are you here? Was the question we kept getting asked. Why are you teaching yoga? We were guided in how to become very clear. Personally clear. That…. was the way to teach. That…. was the place to teach from.

Every now and then I would sit on “the wall” with Dave. My college coach. Every now and then he’d pull me from the pool….. “Mary Michal” he would say, motioning to join him. We’d watch the team swim. He’d point out mechanics. Why we would or would not want to adjust stroke. He taught me how to read someone’s personality by the way they swim.

“She is careful.” He would say pointing to one girl. “She is a bit more carefree. You can tell in how they swing their arms.” It was neat to read that.

He taught me that coaching was not really about strokes and training. But those were important. He taught me to read books by legendary people. He pointed me to World War II books. Books legendary Olympic coaches wrote. He guided me to read between the lines and not get caught up in the specifics. “See the forest through the trees.” He would say.

I have loved coaching ever since those days. It’s such an honor to me to be able to work with the athletes I work with. I see coaching as much more than swim bike and run. I also don’t see it as I am some Jedi Master who has all of the answers. I certainly don’t. But I am good at seeing the aerial picture. I am good at seeing where athletes can tweak this and tweak that in their head…… I am good at turning them towards something and saying…. try this. See what happens. Take the chance. Feel the feeling of reaching and achieving.

I recently was reading a speech by a swim coach names Bill Sweetenham. He made some statements that resonated with me:

” Great coaches, I believe, have to be great teachers. If you can’t teach, you can’t coach. My passion is teaching, it is not coaching, it is not swimming. My passion is teaching.”

I about stood up and said “amen brother.” when I read that. How true. How true. And teaching isn’t about me being right. It’s just me being the guide.

“Support the recognize performance; criticize and redirect the fault. My role as a coach is to make the journey as difficult and challenging as possible, but to ensue the athlete reaches the end. I don’t want the athlete’s journey to be easy and soft; that’s a recipe for failure and it hurts the athlete at the final hurdle.”

It’s incredible to work with athletes who are setting new goals. Making reaches they never have before. On any level. I value the beginner’s goals as I value an elite athlete’s. Equal. They are our own. The journey to that goal is not going to be lined with cushion. It will be difficult but appropriately difficult. Not life destroying difficult. The difficult comes in when we face that hard repeat…. or we have travel on the docket….. or we are trying to fit it in. But the athlete is never alone in that. We work through that together. But I agree……. making it comfortable is not the way to achieve.

“Coach the person, train the event, develop and redirect the skills. It’s not about 10,000 hours; it’s about individuate intent for consistent optimal performance. It may take 10,000 hours, but that’s not what it is about. It’s coming to the pool every day, or the training environment, with the intent to learn and learn faster than your opposition.”

How often have I run into coaches and athletes who debate stress scores, FTP’s and protocols? Too often. Too often we get wrapped up in the details. Last year for me it was multipliers and borders on excel spreadsheets that pulled me out of where I knew I needed to be. Those things are important, yes. But nothing is more important than developing the athlete…. or how about developing the coach? Same idea. You have to find the forest through the trees.

I get to know my athletes on a personal level. I don’t become their therapist, I am their coach. But understanding what makes them tick helps me guide them. For some athletes it’s fear of failure. For others… it’s success. For still some… they aren’t even sure. I look to point them in the direction that helps them learn, helps them figure it out. Helps them come to race day from within. Not without.

When I hear of coaches not communicating with their athletes for days…. it dumbfounds me. Unless their motivation is about volume and numbers…. I don’t see how that is possible. How can you not connect with people? How can you allow someone to trust them and not understand them as a human being. It’s not like we need to get all in each others business……. but understand what makes them tick. Understand their why.

“Coach the person. Train the distance.” In my opinion a statement has never been more true.

It’s more than about plugging in swim workouts, bike and run sets. It’s being able to see that broad picture. That aerial view. It’s being able to steer your athletes towards something and say go ahead…. try this. Reach for it. Let’s see what happens.

I absolutely love being a coach. I am not the best coach by far. I don’t hold many certifications of advanced levels.

But I know my athletes. And no certification on earth can teach me how to do that.

The guidance I have been given from the amazing coaches that have brought me to this place… right here….. taught me. And taught me well.