Stress vs. Stressors
At this time of year, both you and the athletes you coach have a variety of stressors in your lives; a stressor is “something that causes either strain or tension.” You are likely sitting down in the evenings, adjust the training for the next few days, after a day of teaching and coaching. This is an example of a stressor that may or may not be stressful.
For athletes, all of the things that go along with attending the prom may be a cause for joy, or stress, or a bit of both.
The point is that stressors don’t always cause stress, depending on the coach or athlete.
Obviously, this applies to workouts and meets. Are athletes excited to train and race, or is the stressor of competition a significant challenge for them?
Also, consider the end of the year banquets and the end of the year tests. These things are coming at a time when you want athletes to perform at their highest level, yet they may come to practice fatigued from these school stressors.
The Holistic View
If you are able to evaluate your athletes, and talk to them about all of the stressors outside of their running lives, you can make adjustments in training. At this time of year, it’s better to train at ninety percent of their maximum and have them excited to race, rather than pushing as hard as they can in workouts.
By no means am I saying all of the training days need to be easy for the rest of the season, yet I know from my own coaching that when I was able to take into account an athlete’s stressors, some that I was unaware of, I was better able to write training that was “just right.” A training session that has some race pace work, then some faster running, and some general strength and mobility to conclude the day may be the right amount of work this time of year.
Coach Jay Johnson