Training your client for a specific event has its own pressures. Your client is on a tense and emotional countdown to a day that they have high hopes for. You are clock watching, looking at where your client currently is, and estimating the chances of them reaching their fitness goals in time for zero hour. Your client has put his trust in you to get him to those goals.
1. Keep the date in mind, and keep referring back to it, to gauge your client’s progress in relation to the deadline
2. Set out stepping stones, and know when to crank up the pressure. It is up to the trainer to write programmes that will allow for progression – and accommodate some regression. Allow for some failures, and weeks of semi-rest, as well as weeks of intensive training.
3. Look at the whole picture: if your client is training hard, but still eating rubbish – or not sleeping – he isn’t going to hit his goals, and you could be held responsible. Get in first, ask for honest food/alcohol/sleep diaries, and have that difficult conversation, if you need to.
4. Look for – and ask about – signs of the body getting run down. Our bodies give out powerful messages – we just need to listen to them. Some people will notice a lack of shine in their hair, their skin erupts with acne or boils, they are prone to mild cold or flu symptoms, or their digestion generally becomes sluggish. There’s going to be a fine line between your client looking tired after a training session, and a more serious level of exhaustion which will threaten his training programme, his health and his event. At the first signs of this, advise more rest, more fruit and veg – act promptly before the body really starts to complain.
5. Run trial events for your client – or enter them in minor local events – to get them used to the added pressure of a contest
6. Keep training relevant but fun. After all, if the contest were to be cancelled, or your client has to pull out of it, you want him to look back on the training with positive memories. Enjoy the training as much as the event
Above all, keep positive but realistic. Don’t build your client up to unreal expectations, but encourage him to hope for well earned success. Good luck!