Get Your Three Cs In Sync


As an athlete or coach, the Olympics is a stressful stretch of days culminating in event you’ve been working toward for months, years and, in many cases, a lifetime. The pressure to perform is real. And while there’s something to be said for learning from failure, the last thing anyone wants to do at the Olympics (or in any race that carries some sense of importance) is fuck it up. This Q&A with coach Stuart McMillan, whose coached over 70 athletes to nine Olympic Games, is on the money. Pay particular attention to how he answers the question, “What are the most critical determinants of success for an athlete leading into the final week to 10 days?” which any athlete or coach closing in on a big event can glean insight from.

“The interaction of the three ‘Cs’ – comfort, continuity, and confidence,” McMillan says as part of a longer answer. “We make sure that the athlete is doing work that they are comfortable with and confident in; the continuity in the type of work we do in the last few weeks will feed the unique psyche required.”

A version of this post first appeared in the morning shakeout, my weekly email newsletter covering running, writing, media and other topics that interest me. If you’d like for it to land in your inbox first thing on Tuesday mornings, subscribe here.

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