Musings from Coach Al
It is my opinion that the work we do at Pursuit Athletic Performance (PAP) likely requires a paradigm shift for our athletes. Before we begin to talk about training plans with clients, we reeducate our athletes on the importance and ultimate power behind “authentic movement.” Restoring authentic movement through balanced mobility, stability, and strength is the basis of what we do. From where I sit, each and every athlete, no matter what the ability, should–no, must–approach their training from this fundamentally powerful place.
I cannot drive home forcefully enough how authentic movement and balance in the body results in better quality training, phenomenal recovery, better overall health, and faster racing! Balance, as we talk about it at PAP, is not standing on one leg or exercising on a BOSU ball. Rather, it is an holistic balance of muscle length, mobility, stability, and strength. Our sports, coupled with our lifestyles–sitting, driving, computers work, etc.–create imbalances in the body. These imbalances lead to compensation and dysfunction, and, ultimately, to injury. Make no mistake, dysfunctional movement patterns diminish performance, extend the time needed to recover from training and racing, and absolutely shorten an athlete’s lifespan in sport. As we age, it certainly negatively impacts quality of life as a whole.
This philosophy is also the foundation of the way I coach. Discovering dysfunctional movement, and working to rid the body of compensations and restore balance is what I first do with any and every athlete I coach, whether it be Lisbeth Kenyon, 3x consecutive Ironman age group world championship, or Debbie Livingston, women’s champion at the Grindstone 100 ultra run, to a pure novice. My coaching philosophy is based upon restoring authentic movement and building a base of balanced strength from the ground up so that athletes can train and race to their true potential.
You simply cannot train and race to your ultimate best with a body that is unbalanced and broken.
Cultivating speed and outstanding personal performance is what we expect all our athletes to be able to achieve–and they do. By rebuilding the athlete’s body from the inside out– so that it is injury resistant and able to withstand more training load, and teaching them how to properly recover and maintain optimal health–we create the perfect confluence where fulfillment in sport and personal happiness is greatly enhanced. When this holistic balance is attained–and I see the power of it in my athletes every day–it is the most fulfilling and rewarding aspect of my coaching.
I hope this explains where I focus my efforts as a coach, and how dedicated I remain to outstanding results for my athletes–on the race course and in their daily lives. It may take a bit of relearning on the part of some athletes–the paradigm shift we talked about earlier–but it is a place of true power in our lives and outstanding performance on the race course.