5 Questions With The Working Triathlete: Life Lessons, Coaching And Injuries.
We recently had the opportunity to interview our good friend and triathlon coach Conrad Goeringer. Conrad is a respected triathlon coach in Nashville, TN, founder of Working Triathlete, writer, working professional and all-around beast of an athlete. As a coach and an athlete, Conrad understands the delicate balance of training, injury and performance. We asked him to answer five of our questions. Here are his responses.
1. What are the top three life lessons you've learned from racing and coaching triathlon?
Lesson One: Consistency, discipline and adaptability mean everything.
Just like in other realms, the discipline to execute your training day in and day out while still remaining flexible in the face of changing circumstances and challenges leads to success.
Lesson Two: Balance is key.
Just as you have to balance training between swimming, biking and running, so too do you have to balance triathlon training with everything else going on in your life. Too often triathletes hurl themselves at the sport and burn out. Triathlon can either enhance your enjoyment of life or become a stressor. Make sure, like with everything else, you strive for balance.
Lesson Three: Experiences are meant to be shared.
It would not be particularly fun to train for three months by yourself, show up at a race, not talk to anyone, complete it, and go home. Certainly training and racing are mostly individual endeavors, but taking advantage of the wonderful triathlon community can serve as a source of motivation, inspiration and enjoyment.
2. What advice would you give to someone who's thinking about getting into the sport?
Build up gradually and become a student of the sport. Read all you can and get a coach. They'll shorten the learning curve, help guide you through everything from equipment and nutrition to race strategy, and will ensure that you train effectively and intelligently. Also, wait two days before impulsively buying equipment or else you'll wonder where all your money went (only slightly joking).
3. What's your proudest coaching moment?
Every time an athlete wins a race I'm obviously proud, but what makes coaching so fulfilling are the weekly small victories and "aha" moments; such as when everything clicks and an athlete who formerly could not swim 50 yards can suddenly crank out lap after lap, or when an athlete takes a step back and marvels at their progress.
4. How do you help your athletes avoid injury during training?
I am an advocate of strength training for injury prevention. Improving strength (especially core strength) leads to greater resiliency/durability, superior form and improved exercise economy. It's also important to periodize training, keep the training plan flexible, include rest and monitor fatigue.
5. What's the worst triathlon injury you've had?
I've had my fair share, including a stress fracture in college, numerous bouts of knee pain (patellofemoral pain syndrome) and everything in between. Nipping injuries in the bud and seeking out immediate guidance from PTs who can relate to endurance athletes (like Josh with Paceline) has minimized downtime and expedited the recovery process.