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.” Continue reading
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F*ing Weirdest Hardest Easiest Adventure

It would have been a good day for anything else. I could have spent the day ticking off the endless overwhelming tasks of the self-employed. Or considering we’re eight months into the pandemic; it would have been a good day to whimper in a ball on my bed under the weight of existence watching anything on Netflix to numb the fear of uncertainty.

Instead, on a chilly gray Saturday November 14th in the year two-thousand twenty, in a year where everything is fucking weird and hard… I chose my own little (big) adventure. Turned out to be one of the fucking weirdest hardest easiest things I’ve ever done.

I woke up at 4am. For someone whose pandemic schedule means waking up around 8am, four in the “morning” is not a thing. Pretty sure this was my entry into another dimension of weirdness.

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Personal Urban Ultra Challenge

I’m doing this big thing tomorrow!

Well, it’s quite a bit smaller than the REALLY BIG thing I want to do.

I suppose it’ll take about as long as my Ironman Triathlon I did in 2015, and that’s a big thing.

On the other hand, it’s way more casual and chill with way less pressure than doing an Ironman Tri, making it feel like a small thing.
But considering the dumpster fire that is 2020, this is my thing. Which makes it feel big.

Clearly I’m torn about how big a deal this thing I’m doing tomorrow is.

I’ll tell you about it, and maybe we can decide how big a thing it is.

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Giving Aid For Free

In the first weeks of the COVID pandemic our household lost 4 part time jobs. Our fledgling family business, Zest Ed gave us purpose while we were adrift and gives us hope going forward.

Many of us who do the itty-bitty business thing don’t do it for the financial security (none) or amazing benefits (none). We do it because we are passionate about what we do. The pandemic didn’t change that. We provide our communities with products and services to make your life better. That didn’t change.

Do you have a friend who is self employed or who has a side hustle? Have a favorite bitty business? Want to help them survive the pandemic but you can’t afford to buy all their stuff? Perhaps you love their vision but you aren’t their target customer? You can help without spending a dime. You can give aid for FREE. You can do these things even when there isn’t a global crisis.

Let’s break this down a bit.

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My Running Journey

I have a long and complicated relationship with running.  

I grew up a fish, swimming before I could walk, and winning fists of ribbons by ‘91.  My running coach dad convinced me to run because he said Janet Evens (‘88 and ‘92 Olympic swimmer) ran for cross-training.  I HATED it.  He’d drag me on his cool down mile at a shuffle pace and my feet would ache and rebel.  I had all the advantages of youth, and it still took over a year before both my body and mind adapted.

Learning to do strides in 1994.

By 1995 I was confidently competitive in running as well as swimming.  In 1997 I did my first triathlon.  And by 1998 I gave up daily hours of chlorine and staring at a black line for running outdoors.  

Me, leading the pack in a high school cross-country race.

Let’s say this is when I married running.  

The honeymoon phase didn’t last long.  

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Camping feels good: 4 reasons and advice

Life feels complicated and the world is going to hell in a handbasket. It’s so easy to despair. Why does camping make me feel better?

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Successful loop!

Winter camping doesn’t need to be ambitious to be adventurous. Our trips are all 3 to 4 nights and are never very far from civilization. Yet we’ve had seven memorable years of winter shenanigans.

In all these previous years we did two things that make it significantly easier. 1) We did an out-and-back. It means on our way out we follow our own trail making it twice as fast. 2) Had a layover day.  Which means staying at the same campsite for two nights. Considering the hours of work that goes into making a winter campsite, using the same one twice greatly eases the burden.
This year we didn’t do either of these things.

2019 turned out to be our most adventurous year yet.

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Cooking fitness

Moving is like eating. Regardless of conscious choice, you will do both of these things. So the only question is what will be the quality of your eating and moving life?

I think we can all agree…

Eating only processed crap is not healthy.

  1. Eating fewer processed products, more fresh produce, and well balanced meals is an important first step.
  2. Choosing to do it willingly without praise, fear, or bribery is great.
  3. Enjoying and seeking out fresh, real foods as an integrated part of your lifestyle is wonderful.
  4. Being able to create and cook these meals from scratch is excellent.

Having the knowledge to cook your meals from a variety of ingredients is a wonderfully liberating skill. It doesn’t mean you don’t buy shortcuts or grab-and-go foods. It doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy eating out. It means you have more freedom with more choices. It means you’ll be a more educated, appreciative consumer both in the grocery store and dining out.

I think we can all agree…

Moving only from bed to car to desk to couch is not healthy.

  1. Sitting less, moving more, and adding exercise is an important first step.
  2. Choosing to do it willingly without praise, fear, or bribery is great.
  3. Enjoying and seeking out activity in a variety of forms as part of your lifestyle is wonderful.
  4. Being able to create and do your own workout or training plan is excellent.

Let that sink in. Continue reading

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Use The Ladder

“If I can’t _______ then it’s not worth it.” Is one of the biggest pitfalls in sustaining a long athletic life.

It could be a certain pace, distance, weight, or time. But the thought is that if it’s not a certain something it doesn’t count or won’t be fun; so therefore it won’t be done.

But of course if it gets skipped because it’s not that certain thing, it certainly won’t get better.

I see this in adults all the time. And often they act as if there is no way out. It’s like I see them shrug and stare at this apparent wall. Or run into the wall over and over again.

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Often that’s what a coach or trainer is for. There’s a ladder right there against the wall but because they can’t vault over it like they used to they refuse to see or use the ladder unless the coach insists on it. As if using the ladder is shameful and the only way they’ll be caught on it is if it’s clear they are being made to do it.

So they grudgingly use the ladder, and eventually they don’t need it and they are vaulting over the wall again. For a time things go so well they forget the wall is even there. Until something trips them up and suddenly the wall looms large and they start all over again. First just staring at the wall, refusing to even see the ladder as a way forward, then dismissing the ladder as undignified, before finally taking the first step.

Even elite athletes get knocked down and have to seemingly start all over again. The difference is that they don’t waste time resisting and resenting the ladder. They are actually pros at using whatever tools, whatever half-steps, will help them get back where they want to be.

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My goal as a coach is not to make elite athletes but to help everyday athletes sustain a long healthy happy active life. I don’t want to just keep forcing people to use the ladder. I want to help people find and use ladders on their own.

As recreational athletes, it’s best if your love for your favorite activity isn’t so conditional. Find ways for it to be fun and “count” at any pace, distance, weight, or time. If there is a wider range of appreciation there is more likely to be the consistency that is required for improvement which will lend itself to more things to appreciate.

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Lamb in Wine and Figs

I get drooly just thinking about this meal we ate for a week.  Looking for something else, I stumbled upon this NYTimes Mark Bittman recipe. I’m so glad I did.

It’s so simple and easy. I made a some changes and I’m sharing them here, but you should really just check out his original recipe before making your own version. I served it with mashed potatoes and salad, but you could do it with couscous and green beans, or rice and broccoli, or bread and slaw, or anything that floats your boat.

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