From The Coaches: Coaching your spouse/significant other (part 1)

This article is my side of Dame Stephanie’s ongoing saga, “Can She Do As She’s Told.” Before getting into the meat of the article, first a little background: Both Dame Stephanie and I have master’s degrees in exercise science. Her’s is in exercise psychology and mine is in exercise physiology. We’ve been married for 31+ years and this is the first time I’ve been requested to write her a training plan. Who would’ve thought?

It was her idea and I was surprised yet intrigued when she said, “I’ve got a great idea for a project.” What could go wrong? Stephanie has been a badass Sufferlandrian ever since Downward Spiral first came out. She loves the idea of thrashing herself on the bike with no thought about the bigger picture of increasing fitness in a systematic way through a structured training plan. A structure that would be written by the very person she gives the stink eye to when requesting something as simple as a beer or a sandwich. Go figure.

Actually, I was quite honored to receive the request to customize a training plan for her. I blurted out, ”Finally, it’s about time!” and we were off to the races! I was going to be in the doghouse but I’ve been there and know the way out.

She went through the whole process of receiving a customized plan. She filled out the questionnaire. We then had an interview regarding her goals, training availability, work schedule and everything else pertinent to creating an awesome plan for her. But first, a Full Frontal prep week culminating with the 4DP test, “This was going to be fun,” he said.

As Stephanie described in part 1 of her saga, there were some issues which can and do occur with all of us at one point or another. Not to worry, with my coach hat on, I was both empathetic and positive. After all, she improved in 3 out of the 4 metrics of the Full Frontal Test. Let’s get this plan going!

So here we are, a third of the way through the plan. Stephanie is not reluctant to take a rest/recovery day when she’s exhausted or not feeling well but put it in as part of the weekly schedule and she lets her coach know her disdain with sarcasm that can only be described as “PhD quality.” As the coach, I take it in stride outwardly and think to myself, “She’ll thank me later.” But lo and behold, after three solid weeks of training, it’s time for the recovery week, where I’m constantly barraged with all kinds of disparaging remarks.

Now we all know how fragile the male ego can be, so I immediately immerse myself in some self pity and keep up the vision of the big picture that the plan will work. I know these plans work, I’ve written ~200 of them and they are solidly based in exercise science. So, while Dame Stephanie may not appreciate the recovery week initially, by the end of the plan I’m sure she will. I look forward to seeing her improvements and then watching her deal with Nine Hammer on new numbers (mwah-ha-ha).

Stay tuned for part 2 and keep on following Dame Stephanie’s story!


Just to keep Sir @Coach.Spencer.R in check… here is @DameSteph 's side of the story :wink:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Braver than me…

I’m empathizing with dame Stephanie on the recovery thing, but don’t worry coach spencer, I am following my plan. I wouldn’t dream of setting up a second TrainingPeaks account for the secret ‘unsanctioned’ training!!


Hey @timbo,
The hardest part, for many, about following the plan is the recovery week ! Thanks for not setting up that covert TP account :grinning:
Enjoy your plan!! And welcome to the forum!