Four Questions to Help Self-Coached Athletes Achieve Their Best Season Ever

Running to a podium finish at Ironman New Zealand

Each week I post my Training Review on Twitter.

My review is driven by four questions:

  1. What went right?
  2. Did I hit my minimums?
  3. Where can I trade stress?
  4. What can screw things up?

My questions track to actions:

  1. Keep
  2. Add
  3. Trade
  4. Remove and Address

Across the week, I take notes and when I take my back-to-back recovery days, I review the week.

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What Went Right?

You are going to be tempted to “progress the week.”

Unfortunately, in highly motivated populations, this leads to breakdown, and missed gains!

Better to repeat the week & keep what works

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Did I Hit My Minimums?

Last Thursday, I gave you a Training Intensity Allocation.

Let’s see what that implies for my last week: 15 hours total => 900 minutes

  1. Strength => 90 minutes
  2. Stamina => 720 minutes
  3. Intensity => 90 minutes
    1. Tempo => 54 Minutes
    2. Threshold => 27 minutes
    3. VO2 & VO2+ => 9 minutes

Is there a training segment that I’m avoiding?

Think outside the box, there are many interesting sessions that are hybrids of strength/intensity.

Use the small allocations wisely and have fun with them.

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What Trades Make Sense?

First Two Tips:

  1. Repeat don’t progress
  2. Hit the minimums

If I want to ADD then do a TRADE.

Example #1: I like to run in the hills. However, I don’t need to run up a mountain every week! Across a week, a fortnight, a month… I manage my “elevation load” between weeks.

Example #2: I’m relatively strong for my age and category. I trade Strength load to accommodate more Stamina within my week.

Example #3: Max HR test last week? Add more Zone 1 to start the following week. Balance the intensity mixes across more than just the week. Give yourself time to fully absorb your highest intensity sessions. Same thing applies for sessions that cause significant muscle damage (plyometrics, downhill run load).

Example #4: get to the source of your life stress:

  • Sleep
  • Alcohol
  • Energy deficits
  • Spontaneous tempo
  • Over-reaction
  • Excessive load
  • Too many goals

If I want to better absorb training then reduce the stress caused by choices outside my core goals.

Endurance training, done to the best of our ability, offers an incentive to straighten out our lives.

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Avoiding Ruin – What Might Screw Up Next Week?

In the acute sense… Avoid The Injury!

Take time to address the little niggles while they are still little!

Dial the program DOWN before the injury is created.

Trade low quality days for high quality weeks.

In the chronic sense… going down an unsustainable path feels great, ride up to the day before you fall apart!

Consider, then address, areas of instability:

  • Relationships
  • Sponsors
  • Finances
  • Emotions
  • Habits

How to make this happen?

Put it in your calendar!

Make an appointment with yourself, daily.

Example: 10 minutes every day on mobility and one positive action to reduce long term stress.

Little positive steps have big impacts when applied over long time horizons.


The ability to bring these habits into your athletic life gives you a skill set to improve all aspects of your life.

Coaching Elite Performers

Rolling strong at the swim meet

A coach is someone who can offer correction without causing resentment

– John wooden

When I notice someone has been triggered, I stop.

My life goals do not require me to change other people.

Inverting, being prickly reduces the world’s ability to help us out.


If you struggle to learn from experience then ASK…

  • What is it going to take for me to trust the process?
  • What is it going to take for me to trust the coach?

For me, It was watching Nils & Johan take everything I learned about sport and make it better. I wanted to take my knowledge to the next level.

In February, one small choice by Johan, set off of positive chain that brought us together.



What’s it going to take for you?

If you have no idea then that’s OK!

Think back, who gets through to me, without resentment?

Combine with goals & VALUES alignment, and you have the ingredients for a valuable long-term relationship.

  • My marriage
  • My investment committee
  • My close friends
  • My board

All contain people who are able to get through to me. I am surrounded by elite coaches.

In our lives, we will come across people who have the capacity to make us want to improve, and the vision to make incremental suggestions that we can implement.

Pay attention when you feel their positive influence.


Johan’s 2022 Scorecard

Each adjustment, I had been unable to implement previously.

Inside, I feel like I volunteered for all of them.

And I did.

But someone was the catalyst.

Share your story => someone needs to hear it.