One of Us - Coach Profile, Laura Marcoux
Let's get right to it! This is one of Coach Laura Marcoux's infamous one-legged squat drills. And after you watch it, we know you'll want to know more about how she can help you train for your big race this year!
Coach Laura advocates that as triathletes we are never using both legs in the same way at the same time. When we run, only one leg is in contact with the ground at a time. When we bike, our legs are moving in contrasting rhythms. Force is never being applied equally from both legs at once. So while squats are great for building general lower body strength, single-leg squats make us more balanced athletes and help prevent injuries by not relying on one leg more than the other.
Now that you see her in action, it's time to get to know her. Laura is a USAT Certified Coach and an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer. What motivates her and how does she make it happen for her athletes - it's just below!
1. Favorite athlete/client success story (can be a CPT client that we can tweak it to sound like a triathlete).
When I first met this person, she wasn’t looking for triathlon coaching. In fact, she made it quite clear that she was interested in training with me to lose weight, and then she proceeded to list all of the exercises that she would not do, with running at the top of the list. When I met her, she was recently divorced with low self-esteem and a sincere distaste for exercise in all forms. A little over a year later, she did her first sprint triathlon. Since then, I’ve seen triathlon completely change her outlook on life, including her self-esteem, the way that she goes out and works for what she wants, and her new active and healthy lifestyle. As a coach, seeing your athletes have success in the sport is amazing, but seeing triathlon improve their lives and make them better people is what it’s all about.
Hill repeats have always been my favorite workout, even when they came in the form of stadium climbing for punishment during college lacrosse.
In the past couple seasons, I’ve come to rely on my 10x 2:00 up a hill that is steep enough to be challenging, but not so steep that it compromises your run form. Recovery is the slow jog back to the bottom of the hill.
I don’t rely on these workouts as much in terms of “race specificity” but I always look back on them in the middle of race week when I’m tapering and my brain is going bat shit crazy, and I use them to remind myself that my body is always stronger than my mind sometimes gives it credit for. These workouts always seem to show up on my schedule when I’m in the middle of a hard training block and my body feels trashed, and I show up to the hill already making excuses in my head about why this is going to be so challenging. But then after the first few reps, I start to realize that maybe my mind is exhausted, but my body seems to just be getting it done anyway. Looking back on these workouts before a big race is a pleasant reminder that even through the ups and downs in my mental states and stress levels, I have no reason to doubt my body and the strength endurance that I’ve consistently dedicated myself to in my training. And when I’m in the middle of an Ironman, I rely on the quiet confidence that my body can be unstoppable if I just get out of my own way.
3. What is a go-to recovery meal or recovery program you follow after a hard workout (or race)?
I have a love/hate relationship with my foam roller but I’ve found that foam rolling is the easiest way for me to keep myself healthy and speed up the recovery process after a hard workout or race. I also have the additional benefit of working at a gym where I train athletes all day long and I usually join in on foam rolling with them at the end of the workout. My typical routine after I get home from a tough workout includes rolling out my back, glutes, ITB, hip adductors, and quads. Then I usually lay on my back with my butt on the foam roller and my legs in the air while my dogs (uninvitedly) clean the sweat off my body.
My favorite piece of triathlon equipment has recently become my Wahoo Kickr. I used to dread getting on my trainer every day all winter (biking is my weakest discipline so I actually need to be on that thing every day), but the Kickr actually keeps me engaged and focused on getting the work done. I frequently use it in combination with the Zwift App so that I can compete against other riders in real time and challenge myself in a more competitive way.
5. To give yourself (or an athlete) a dose of motivation what do you read or listen to?
I love seeking motivation from top athletes and coaches in other sports. I played Division 1 lacrosse at the University of Connecticut so I’m already coming in with a slightly different background than most triathletes and triathlon coaches, but I believe that you can be a more well-rounded athlete physically and mentally by drawing from other sports. Success in any sport at a high level can be derived from similar practices, habits, and work ethic.
The New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick is so detail oriented that he focuses on giving his team the best probability to win by controlling all of the controllables. He pays attention to statistics like how left footed punters give returners a smaller probability of returning the football because of the way the ball bounces off of their kick. By diving into every detail of his sport, he has been able to be one of the most successful coaches of all time. This lesson of focusing on controlling only what we can control and letting our hard work determine the rest of the outcome is important in every sport, including triathlon. He even encourages his players to control the little details like how much air goes into the footballs.
Having graduated from UConn, I’m a big fan of what the UConn Women’s Basketball program is doing under their coach, Geno Auriemma. They own the biggest dynasty in sports, having won the past 4 National Championships in a row, and riding out their current 92 game win streak with an average margin of victory of 38 points. Geno’s focus on player development and holding his players accountable for every single one of their mistakes has led to dominance and near perfection. His program is an example of what can happen when you hold athletes to the highest standards. My favorite response he had to a reporter who asked him if he’s ever made any of his girls cry, was “every single one of them.” By never giving in to mediocrity or complacency, Geno demands the utmost dedication and focus from his players, which leads to their unrelenting belief in themselves and in their teammates… which leads to championships.