Six tips plus two reflections from the Endurance Coaching Summit

I’m learning stuff all the time. I got to get better at sharing it all with you all!

A couple weeks ago I attended (virtually) the Endurance Coaching Summit hosted by Training Peaks. It was three days lots of internationally renowned speakers including Gwen Jorgensen (Olympic goal medalist) and her Triathlon Coach, Lesley Paterson and Simon Marshall, authors of the Brave Athlete, Alen Lim co-founder of Scratch Labs, and many many more.

Instagram post from the last day of lectures.

I’ve got pages and pages of notes. Condensed here are just six tips for you 😀 If any of them tickle your fancy, please reach out and let me know! I’d love to chat with you more about any one of them! Just email me at kym@zested.net

  1. World class champions also feel like imposters, want to quit mid-run, are terrified of the goal, doubt everything, get the should-woulda-couldas and feel harassed by their own thoughts. They are not failures. You are normal and also not a failure. There are so many techniques to help you. What to do about it?
    • Be willing to try things. Some of these techniques can seem silly, simple, or take time. You have to be willing to give a new mental technique a chance.
    • Get help and talk to them. You can read the books and websites and articles on your own. It’s also great to get and utilize help. Have a therapist, coach, or mentor. Then actually tell them how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking.
  2. Mental fatigue alters perception of physical effort. Reduce emotional and mental workload for better performance with “cognitive drafting.”
  3. Use real solid food and simple hydration as much as possible. Use sport chews and gels minimally. Train your body to digest solid food while moving. Sports drinks should be lower calorie but with more sodium.
  4. Most intermittent fasting research was done on non-athletic populations and 99% of it done on men. Athletic training reduces the benefits of fasting for men. For women it can be harmful depending on where she is in her mensural cycle, training, or life cycle.
  5. The menstrual cycle is a fantastic metric of health that should be discussed and used more regularly in training.
  6. Important training changes for aging endurance athletes. For women it’s around 50, for men around 70 when hormonal changes necessitate training changes.
    • Periodization in shorter cycles of 2:1 instead of the more traditional 3:1 or even 4:1
    • Need longer warm up. Diving right into the hard stuff isn’t going to cut it anymore.
    • Recovery time and sleep are more critical. Can’t just bang out one crusher after another without any thought to what happens in between.
    • Eat more protein throughout the day. Developing any symptoms of RED-S can be extra devastating and can take months to years to recover from.
    • HEAVY resistance training (reps under 8) – critical for bone and muscle density. Standard or traditional methods are not adequate.
    • More sprint interval training – better for insulin sensitivity.
    • Plyometrics (aka jumping) is crucial for neuromuscular stimulation. Running is not enough.
    • Age is HELPING you with your aerobic base. You can spend less time developing the long and slow workouts.
    • Kym’s side note – these are all tips for people who go into this life stage already having established good athletic training habits and physical ability. Many of these tips would need modification for the general population.
  • Resources for women!

Learning stuff isn’t just practical application. It’s also a chance to reflect, digest, and synthesize that information into our lives. These are my two personal reflections that came out of the three long days of lectures.

  • I should be more confident in my coaching profession. Like everyone, I struggle with imposter syndrome and constantly doubt how “professional” of a coach I am. I learned stuff, but none of this was mind-blowing 🤯 Which tells me that I know more than I give myself credit for. I’m a damn good coach.
  • Science research gives us norms and averages. It tells us what is likely to happen. It helps us understand the why and the how of things. But YOU are a unique data point. Maybe you’re an outlier, maybe you’re just not dead center with the norms and averages. Using exercise and performance science gives us a solid foundation to start with. But you are your own science experiment! Training, racing, adventuring, and accomplishing goals should all be a process where you learn more about yourself. Your personal experiments should start with science informed hypothesis, but then you have to record and analyze your particular results! As my client Glen reminded me:
    “The only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.” -Adam Savage
    I’ve said it before, I’ll keep saying it “LOG YOUR TRAINING!!!!!” Then take the time to analyze and reflect on it 😉

This is all a lot of food for thought. Pick one or two that resonate with you and see how you might be able to apply it. These are also just the snowflakes on top of the tip of the iceberg. Have a question about any of it? Shoot me an email! Kym@zested.net

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