An Endurance Coach speaks Dec 09, 2016 IN THE LAST FEW YEARS ENDURANCE AS A SPORT HAS EXPLODED. With every new race or "training method" that opens it seems the opinions from believers and non-believers only get more heated. We decided to get the straight talk from an endurance coach, Atul Godbole, founder of Motiv8 Coaching. Over the years, he's seen it change and evolve. Q: How'd you end up as an Endurance coach in Pune? I was crazy about running and sports in general since my childhood. I have been into running, swimming, cycling and other endurance sports since the last 15 years and firmly believe that it is an excellent path to a healthy and fit lifestyle via continuous self-improvement. I also wanted to help other achieve the same and experience this incredibly satisfying journey. At the same time, I saw a lot of ignorance about the correct, safe, and healthy way to train and to improve. I saw heaps of new runners and triathletes being over-enthusiastic and getting injured or burnt out within the first few months. This is not a sustainable way to train. It is with this background that I decided to start Motiv8 Coaching (www.motiv8coaching.com) - my coaching initiative – it emphasizes a safe, healthy and structured approach to coaching and mentoring. My coaching is tailored to the circumstances, progress and ups and downs of the individual athlete, the athlete does not follow my coaching, the coaching follows the athlete! This I have found is the optimum way to coach. Q: What about Endurance training interested you first? My main interest via Motiv8 Coaching is to help athletes improve and grow, both as athletes as well as persons. It's great to see and witness the happiness and satisfaction that athletes experience upon reaching a certain milestone, or on improving upon a past benchmark, and to know that you have played a small part in their success. Q: What makes someone "great" at Endurance sports? Great is a relative term. For a couch potato, a person running a 5K is “great”. For a 5K person, a half marathoner seems “great”, for a half marathon, a full marathoner seems “great” and so on and so forth. There is no real limit to this. Every person has to decide for himself or herself what he wants to do and more importantly WHY he wants to do it. Is it to lose weight? To become fitter and healthier? To challenge oneself? To push one’s limits? For bragging rights among friends or social media? For pure pleasure? As long as he is clear with the “why”, he will have a long and satisfying foray into endurance sports and be “great”. Q: As a trainer/coach what do you see as the biggest obstacles people face when trying to achieve their goals? As funny as it sounds, the biggest obstacles are themselves. If only they could get out of their own way and stick to one approach without wavering! If only they could realize that doing too much too soon, often at the last minute (in the weeks leading to their target event), is not the right way! In coaching athletes at Team Motiv8, I have often found that my main job is to prevent otherwise smart people from doing stupid things in training. The main obstacles for an amateur athlete are not facilities, gadgets, money, time, etc but a lack of good coaching. Q: What has the experience of being an Endurance Coach taught you? Coaching has made me realize that there is not enough maturity about the need and importance of coaching in the Indian scene as yet. There are a lot of arm-chair coaches doling out random advise over social media, chat or over coffee, but that’s not coaching, I would even say it's counter-productive and risky. Actual coaching involves a lot of grunt work, drawing up personalized plans for individual athletes as per his/her circumstances, making sure they stick to that plan, how the athlete is responding to that plan, and making changes as when necessary, hand-holding athletes, answering their questions, etc, etc. Old (like 55-60+) athletes, who are past their prime (a fact which funnily they themselves toot often like a badge of honor) are advising young athletes, who are in the prime of their endurance years against getting a coach. Athletes wanting to hide the fact that they are getting coaching because they do not want their friends to know (for a variety of reasons). Lots more such stories. It's really sad and speaks volumes of the sports outlook and mentality prevalent in India. Good news is that it’s slowly but surely changing! Q: If you only had a minute to teach someone something new about training or fitness that they would never forget--what would it be? Be consistent – the more consistent you are, the more optimum improvement you will show. Be patient – endurance improves over years, not days, weeks or months. Think long term, not short term. Ask yourself whether you want to do endurance sports for the next 2 years or the next 20 years. Lastly, follow a plan and stick to it. And if you are not disciplined enough (most are not!), or even otherwise, hire a coach, so that you are accountable to somebody, who will act as your sounding board and who you will guide and mentor you. Q: Can you lay out a typical week of your own Training (Monday - Sunday) ? I usually do 3 runs, 2-3 swims, and 1-2 bike workouts per week. I love running and swimming, but hate biking (even though I love racing a bike as part of a triathlon), so I am a bit lazy and tend to ignore my bike training. I guess I will have to remedy this aspect of my own training sooner rather than later. Also, one day of complete rest which is very important. FOLLOW ATUL GODBOLE AND MOTIV8 COACHING ON FACEBOOK OR VISIT HIM AT MOTIV8 COACHING ACADEMY.