- Firstly, The Puppeteer is great! (I have to give that disclaimer so that she doesn't beat me or take some sort of evil revenge by devising some torture workout routines when I get back from my business trip this week!)
- It's a great motivator. I'm really excited about being driven harder and doing this "properly". I did my second swim session yesterday at Pullen Aquatics and found myself determined to put in a much better showing than I did for my first. The Puppeteer listend to what I had to say about the first session (another tremendous asset) and modified accordingly - I'll be working on stamina and increasing my swim frequency until I can more comfortably do some of the longer sets. Even though I didn't finish every part of the prescribed workout flawlessly, I found myself really concentrating and putting in a hard effort to finish the session. I was driven not by fear of The Puppeteer (although no doubt that will come in time!) but rather than not wanting to let her or myself down.
- Staring with the basics/essentials... The Puppeteer has already put in a lot of time into learning more about how I train/workout; my mechanics; past injuries; lifestyle; nutrition and so on. I'm quite obviously going to be working a lot on core fitness/strength, flexibility and so on. I really like the holistic approach and as an "older" athlete this stuff becomes even more critical to improving performance and avoiding injury.
- The tailored approach to training is clearly a major step-up from "self-coaching" using generic training plans from a book or the internet. Not only is The Puppeteer (have you noticed that I kind of enjoy typing that? (-: ) tailoring my workouts based on my starting point and actual performance in previous workouts, but she's also able to take into account my work travel and other events as they come-up and schedule workouts (both time and type) according to what I have available. By way of an example: I leave for the UK tonight and will be at a management retreat which is at a farmstead in the middle of nowhere in the Yorkshire Dales (http://www.high-trenhouse.co.uk/). Not only that, but there's 16"+ of snow on the ground there at the moment. Swimming and biking are non-starters, so this weeks workouts will feature runs (or hikes if the snow makes running impossible) and a lot of core work that can be done without specialised equipment.
- It's fun!!! Can't over-emphasize this part. If you're having fun along the way the workouts will seem a whole lot easier. Errr.... they will? right? Stacey (I'll give you that one coach!) has a great sense of humor and makes it fun. It's also great that Lisa is in the same "stable" (did I just call you a horse Lisa?) of athletes, so we'll sometimes get to do joint workouts. I'm looking forward to meeting some of the other victims too.
It's important to note, however, that even if you don't have a coach there are other motivators for improving your breast stroke....