ATHLETE and MENTOR

The life of an athlete who is on the up, is one of the most stimulating lives to lead.

When an individual runs a first 10km race and finishes it, it is a big deal. It is also, more often than not, the launch pad to a life IN running, but not necessarily OF running.

One of three courses can be followed when a runner crests the peak in their careers and the long downhill beckons. First, they may soldier on regardless and chase age group times and positions or secondly, they could simply accept the reality of slowing down and run more socially with friends, old and new.

The third option is open only to a certain breed of individual who has what it takes to coach or mentor athletes.

The past 15 months have been phenomenal in this regard and the results pre and post the re-launch of BOaST ought to have been stimulating to all that have followed the progress of runners who have been influenced by the team, either on a personalised programme or through a club structure.

No matter how talented, fast or strong an athlete is, achieving optimal running success is unlikely when going solo.

The training is paramount, but so too is race identification, goal setting and belief.

Runners who buy into the role of a proven and successful coach or mentor will inevitably achieve personal bests.

The reasons for that include trust, motivation, instilling belief and working through all aspects of preparation together and openly.

There are of course no quick fixes and it will often take a relationship three or four years to reach its full potential, particularly if athlete and mentor come from different belief systems in respect of training, nutrition, footwear and racing regimens.

A good sense of humour certainly helps when athletes  go a little wayward, as inevitably they sometimes will. Rather than be unsettled by such instances they offer a great opportunity to further build trust between each other as the athlete sheepishly admits that the mentor was (in most instances) right.

So it is that an athlete and a coach or mentor build a “story” that can be used by both to further their own paths and experiences within the sport. Growth is imperative as is change.

On the change front, nothing is more apt an example than that of nutrition and eating habits as espoused by folk such as Tim Noakes, Mark Sissons, Gary Taubs, David Perlmutter and many others.

On the footwear front the shoe companies detest the “barefoot” minimalistic protagonists, because they will simple sell less shoes, while in the nutritional field, many a multi-national would go out of business as the world became healthier.

Debate, and vigorous debate at that, should be the fuel that drives and seeks success. When we think we know it all, then we are indeed over the crest.

There is, at the end of the proverbial day, nothing more satisfying than being a part of the development of a runner and imparting life experiences so that they might achieve their goals.

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