Monday, 15 January 2018

Hard Call

I had to make a hard call today. I had to call off training for the morning.

We are currently going through some rather extreme weather in Perth. There was a cyclone up north and we are currently getting the left over rain. It has been raining for most of the day, which is unusual for Perth. The weather is forecast to start clearing, but also hang around a bit tomorrow.

Cancelling the session was a very hard thing to do. For one you just don't know what tomorrow morning will bring. Now that I have cancelled the session I can guarantee that tomorrow morning will be all blue skies and light winds and I am probably going to look like a right idiot.

Also, no matter what the weather brings tomorrow, I am pretty certain people will have ridden in worse before. Athletes tend to be stubborn people and triathletes are no different, and so people will often head out in all sorts of terrible conditions. Before I discovered the wonders of an indoor trainer I used to be very proud of the fact that I went out on the bike rain, hail or shine. I know lots of triathletes like that. I also know a number of triathlon squads like that, the train no matter what mentality. Being told that the weather looks too nasty to go outside doesn't sit comfortably with a lot of athletes 

Hard call indeed.

However, this was one of those times where I acutely felt the need to think like a coach rather than an athlete. Athlete me was thinking, 'She'll be right, just head out, just a bit of water'. However, coach me spoke up and reminded me that I had to plan for everyone in the squad, not just the strongest riders. If tomorrow is wet, then some of the more experienced guys will probably be okay, but some of the newer people might get well outside their skill levels. If I put somebody in a situation that they get an injury, then that is on me and on Front Runner. From a coaching perspective that is not a good place to be.

The experienced guys can still decide to go out and ride on the road if they decide they can do so safely, but the important thing is that it will be their choice not mine. As a coach I have a duty of care to not put people in unnecessary danger (I say unnecessary because all exercise has an element of risk). If somebody wants to put themselves in danger then that is their choice, but it is not my right to impose that on them.

Adding to the above is the fact that there are much safer alternatives. In this day and age of Smart Trainers and Zwift, the session tomorrow could be done very effectively indoors. Given a choice between potentially putting people in danger in bad weather, or letting them train safely indoors, it becomes very hard to justify the more dangerous choice. Why expose people to danger unnecessarily.

It was very hard to make the call and it may not have been a popular one, but as I sit here looking at the rain pouring down, I am confident that it was the right choice.

I just hope I don't end up looking like an idiot.

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