Most athletes will tell you the greatest gain from coaching is the guidance to do the right things, at the right time, in the right amounts. Even seasoned triathletes like Jay Lonsway can learn new tricks from a structured training plan. Lonsway called his quest to improve his 2012 Lake Placid Ironman time under the tutelage of coach Mark Olson “eye-opening.” But the proof was in his performance: this year, he shaved an hour off his 2012 performance.
The key is having a best-laid plan and an enforcer on hand. Before hiring a coach, Lonsway would struggle with consistency.
“I would have peaks and valleys in my training, where I was feeling great, then crash and burn for a month or two and have to recover,” Lonsway said.
Working with head coach Mark Olson changed that.
“Working with Mark has definitely taught me to temper my enthusiasm. By having a structured plan it has kept me from the feeling to crush every workout,” Lonsway said.
Another valuable lesson learned was understanding the benefits of proper rest and recovery. It’s human nature to feel that if some is good, more is better. This approach, however, can inhibit the improvements the athlete seeks. Sometimes less is more.
“By finding the ability to rest…you find your 100% versus the consistent 80%, which helps my overall performance,” Lonsway said.
Olson’s knowledge and structured plan also allowed more efficient training sessions for the busy professional. His training was often separated to allow workouts before and after work.
Lonsway also benefited from the full service nature of Athletic Mentors. Olson helped refine his bike position through two fitting sessions. Ideal event nutrition has been a year-to-year quest, but Lonsway took that quest further while working with his coach. Swim analysis and effective workouts from AM coach Tom Belco have set the stage for a strong Ironman event. Lonsway would often come out of the water feeling “toasted”.
“Working with coach Belco has been incredibly beneficial,” Lonsway said. Learning better swim technique, and being more efficient, has given him a better start to the event, which benefits his bike and run transitions.
“Getting a coach is a team effort, a great expert opinion on what you should do for exercise and training. It’s been really good for me,” he says.
Athletes benefit from someone looking over their shoulder, planning their workouts, coordinating their rest and efforts to achieve the athletic goals they have set out before them. Lonsway has found all that and more while working with Athletic Mentors, and when asked to sum up his experience, positively states, “Mark has been a fantastic coach.”