At the XTERRA World Championships today, one of my athletes from the past 2 seasons, James, had the race of his life. He finished 39th overall, 4th in the 25-29 AG, and was only 1:19 off the winner's time in his AG. His time was over 20 mins faster than last year on the same course, in hotter, and windier conditions.
It was the first time he ever finished in front of the women's winner, as well as beat many people in his age group he has never really been close to. He told me today that he couldn't believe who he had beaten, and how he road away from riders who he has always believed to be better than him.
James certainly worked extremely hard, as that was never what was holding him back. In fact, the struggle with him was always trying to get him to rest enough, to really peak for the big races. He could never back off. I would have to actually scold him a little at times, because he would add workouts to the schedule while he was in a taper. As a coach, I was pulling my hair out!
His other best race of his life came after being sick, and him being forced to stay in bed for nearly a week. This time the air quality issues of the terrible fires in San Diego County forced him to keep his workouts indoors, short and to the point. He was only able to try and just stay sharp with short workouts, not risking damage to his lungs.
Not surprisingly, as my previous article in this blog stated, the fires forced him to rest and let his body utilize all the fitness he has spent many months developing. Come raceday, his body responded and he produced beyond a level he could have imagined even possible.
Even today, he agreed. I was happy to hear it!
Congrats James! You deserve the success, but not just because of your hard work, but because of the work you didn't do. You did it with rest.
Rest is so underrated!