This post is the next/last in what I have taken to thinking of as the Tour De Torching Myself.
I decided to write about the hazards of being self-coached, when I realized that if I was still working with Phil, my last week of swimming would never have happened. He would have pulled the plug the second my appetite went wonky. Although I doubt it would even have gotten that far because he would have been shaping my overall training stress to prevent getting so close to the line in the first place.
Yet, here I am, self-coached and right back where I was when I finally decided to get a coach back in the winter of 2008: doing more because more is always the best training plan, right?
The problem with me coaching myself is that I can never be easy on myself, but I can never be truly hard on myself. I can't let myself off the hook when I really need to, but I also don't have the guts to complete the very toughest workouts that I can devise. And, most importantly, these two short-comings combine to subvert any attempt at being objective and smart about my own training.
So I spent two (three...four....) years chronically slightly over-trained, and rotating through a series of overuse breaks.
Good coaches are objective based on tangible and intangible data, and don't make decisions based on impassioned pleas, ego-driven emotions, and preferences based on "fun." The very first and most valuable thing I learned from my first coach was when to do nothing. The second was how little of something I needed to actually do. All things which are easy to do when you are viewing an athlete from the outside, completely removed from the maelstrom of internal dialogue. Not so easy when you are both the brains and the emotions of the operation.
I am literally blinded by my proximity to the data.
Which is how I even let myself get into a position to have the option to turn the screws that potentially dangerous last little bit.
Which is why swimming isn't such a bad idea for my new (old) self-coached situation. My job is to get myself to practice. Whitney's job is to write the workouts, which do cleave to something of a general annual shape. It's a good balance between being coached as a self-coached athlete.
Doesn't mean I can't still mess it up.