A Letter From A Coach To His Athlete

Thank you and congratulations! Not because you finished your first Ironman 70.3 — which is of course a huge achievement. Thank you for so many other things, because I had no doubt you’d make it to that finish line.

Thank you for saying no to a coaching plan and system that you were used to. Thanks for gambling on the unknown and for setting your eyes on something you had never attempted before.

Thanks for your trust in me and my vision. It takes a lot of courage to change the routine we are used to and jump into the unfamiliar. More courage than swiping a card and signing up for a long race.

Thank you for being passionate about the sport. Not only it made your journey more fun and enjoyable, but it also made my work easier. Nothing can replace the drive and the motivation on pushing ourself forward. And that is true in any discipline.

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Thanks for having asked many questions. There is no other way we can learn than asking questions. A lot of people (and coaches) don’t like that, but to me this is the only way we can progress. Without curiosity we would turn into robots.

Thanks, at the same time, to have made things easier when you needed too. It’s crucial to question, but it’s also fundamental not to overcomplicate things when you’ve got the chance. It’s quite a fine line and a tricky one to understand, and that is where a coach — a supposedly objective vision from the outside of your personal process — comes into play.

Thanks also for trusting my methodology from day one. I never felt doubts from your side. Without trust and mutual respect there is no coach-athlete relationship. Trust is the number one block of any successful and long-standing coach-athlete relationship. Without that (and the following results), there is no chance to thrive in the long term.

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Thanks for listening. Because even the keenest and most curious athlete, without the predisposition to listen, would make no progress.

Thanks for giving me many feedback after all your training sessions, and at the end of the week too. Online coaching is a weird beast, and without that amount of feedback and engagement, you would have not achieved your goals. At the end of the day, we always reap what we sow and self-reflecting on ourselves is the way to become who we want to be.

Thanks for being patient, as patience is the number one quality we should all invest in sports — particularly in endurance sports.

Thanks for being consistent, because without consistency there is no improvements. Thanks for being stubborn, dedicated and for having endured the pain when things got nasty. They always do and we always need to push through.

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Thanks for following your way no matter what, and thanks for not having let the downers and the haters to have a grasp on your confidence. It’s not easy to keep your back straight, particularly in toxic environments. 

As you see, getting to the finish line and get that medal is the easy piece of the mosaic. It’s the moment when you finally celebrate your process, your dedication, your struggles, your trainings, your hard moments and your joys. It’s the cherry on top of the cake. By the time you raise your hands to the sky you have already won so many battles, that the last day feels like a blink of an eye in comparison to what you’ve done to get there.

Thank you Katia for being who you are and thanks for having taught me so many things this past year. It was a honour to be by your side and being part of your first middle distance success!

Nicko