Thierry! You are coach for yourself. What is your feedback system? Which tools do help you to design training program and make some adjustments (different physiological or technical tests; training diary; GPS-analysis; inner feelings and intuition; heart rate analysis; etc.)?
I have now quite much experience and a large part of my preparations are based on my feelings. But I know only one reliable feedback system: the result list. All my plans are starting from this simple A4 paper you find close to the finish line of the races. That is quite basic but it is the only one which I trust fully. If I don´t see my name on the top, I know I have to a make some changes and invest more thoughts in my trainings. Except from that, there is another feedback I am using every morning, it is the number written on my weight scale.
What is the source of your knowledge about sport training (education; consultations with some specialists; reading books/journals/magazines; seminars/courses; critical thinking, etc)?
Well, everything starts with a good education, and my father had a crucial role while teaching me all the basics in a very professional way. Also, all the informal talks I had with different coaches or others orienteers along my career have bring smaller but important pieces to my own experience. Then, I have been reading a lot of books about different sports, mental preparation, biography, etc. But nowadays what makes me most interested is the interviews of sportsmen in other sports. I always try to figure out what kind of mental challenges they are facing and how they react to it. That´s the most inspiring.
Many athletes say that most tricky thing in coaching yourself is a motivation. When you have a coach then it is obligatory to follow some program/plans, to report about actual training (you can not just skip training session without sequences). Also coach can say some words that motivate you to do further hard sessions. Whats your secret with motivation? Do you have some tricks to help you during tough training (competition) periods and set up new ambitious goals?
Interesting question. When it comes to find motivation, I do believe it is mainly about setting realistic, but challenging enough, goals. It is way easier to keep the focus if you know exactly what you are fighting for. I always try to visualize the competitions I am preparing, sometimes just for a little while, but it helps me to keep my focus during trainings. I really believe that motivation is an inner issue and can't really be built from outside. It has a lot to see, once more, with your character, your inner personality and experience. No coach will ever transform a dolphin into a shark. That´s a good reminder, because too many times, coaches believe they have a huge influence on athlete´s results. For example, I have never understood the coaches who had a blog or were active on twitter. In my opinion, their role is not to be under the spotlight. And I am saying this even more easily that I want to become a coach soon. But the opposite is also true, too many athletes are waiting too much from coaches and that´s where the trouble starts. The world is full of people who are waiting for someone to come along and motivate them to be the kind of people they wish they could be…These people are waiting for a bus on a street where no busses pass. My father had a good saying: you will always be the best coach for yourself, because no one will ever know what you feel better than you.
Do you use some other services related with coaching? (e.g., mental training coach, dietarian, advisors in some specifics topics - biomechanics, recovery, strength, etc.)
Not anymore. When I was younger, I was using such persons and they bring me some important knowledge I am still using today. But I'm curious on everything and also keep an eye on what's happening around me today and how others sportsmen prepare. The key is to find the balance between being open-minded to new methods, and trust your own experience. As you know, once more, self-believing is everything in sport. I have seen many athletes changing their plans every weeks, following every trendy methods, and others having an incredible faith into their plans, even do they were far away from the standards, but only those who have a strong belief succeed.
Many thanks for interesting interview! And good luck at Jukola and WOC.
P.S. Title photo: Thierry tells his impressions after Tiomila-2012 (photo is from Natalia Vinogradova).