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Showing posts from 2012

Now Is The Time...

Most athletes know exactly what they need to do IN SEASON, but what do you do during the off season?

Here are a few pieces of advice to help you:

1) Get a bike fit.  This is the time of year to adjust your position on the bike.  You don't have any sense of urgency here, so now is the time to play around with saddles, crank length, seat height and drop.  Your body will have plenty of time to adjust.


2) Reflect and LEARN on last season.  It's easy to just focus on what lays ahead.  While that is always a good thing to do, it's important to make sure that you learn from the season that just ended.  Ask yourself the following questions:

- What parts of training were you strong in and what was a struggle?

- What schedule set-up worked the best for your life and your body?

- Did you find that you enjoyed or excelled at one race distance over another?

- What went well during your races and what didn't?  How could the negatives be corrected?

- Did you train with power or HR? …

2012 Wrap-Up, The Off Season & Igniting That Fire For 2013

"Season Wrap-Up"
This season was definitely a roller coaster of both performance and emotion.  I had some of my best races and some of my worst.  I overcame several obstacles, checked off a few boxes and learned a lot more about what I need to do in order to accomplish what I would like in this sport.
The season started out with a great new coach (Cliff English) and race after only about 4 weeks of training. If I could run a 1:13 half at this point, I was very optimistic about what the rest of the season had in store.
However, things didn't go as planned. I struggled with balance, fatigue and motivation...I had a number of terrible races, even though I visited some great parts of the country.
After IMCDA, a switch flipped and I found myself in a familiar part of the year that I lived for... my IMWI build. I nailed a few local races, put out a few 280w 5hr efforts, as well as a 270w effort for 6hrs. I was running 75min sets at 5:00-5:20 per mile and felt as though I was r…

Ironman Florida Race Report

2012 IRONMAN FLORIDA 22nd Professional Swim - 57:50  Bike - 4:27:11  Run - 4:03:24
Finish - 9:33:15
This race would be my 26th Ironman start and an opportunity to build on some momentum that I had coming out of this past season.  Consistency with my race results had come back, as well as balance in with my training, coaching and the rest of my life. Needless to say, I was excited.  
Leading into the race I felt strong, confident and was clear minded as to what I would do.  My swimming was going extremely well and though I wan't hitting life best numbers on the bike and run, I was routinely clicking off days that could yield a very strong finish and perhaps a shot at the podium.
Travel went off without a hitch on Wednesday and I had a great place to stay away from all the excitement with defending women's champion, Jessica Jacobs. Thursday went smoothly with the press conference, catching up with friends and the athlete meeting. Before I knew it, Friday was here and I was rack…

2012 IMWI

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2012 IRONMAN WISCONSIN  5th Overall  Swim 54:00 - Bike 4:56 - Run 2:58 Finish 8:56
Each season, Ironman Wisconsin is always the race that means the most to me. Though I train hard for every race that I start in, I have so much more vested in this event. I grew up in this city, I have so many who support me here and it really does feel like I have home field advantage. When I started racing Ironman events, 25 races ago, I told myself that one day I would win this race. THAT has been a major reason why I get up each morning and train as hard as I do.

This year was my 11th time racing here at Ironman Wisconsin and everything had gone perfectly leading into the event. I was at life best fitness on the bike and run and thought that this could REALLY be MY year.

The last build into the race had gone well. I knew that my numbers were up to par with some of the best in the world, thanks to my coach, Cliff English, who works with some of the best in the business. So confidence was very high, d…

Thoughts on Ironman Wisconsin 2012

This will be the 11th year that I have toed the line at Ironman Wisconsin.  Every year I put together my thoughts on how I believe the front of the race will play out, so here they are for 2012!


THE COURSE:

The 1 loop swim will be great for the PRO field and the back third of the Age Group field. It will be much easier to find and stay on feet, without having to navigating through a thousand other slower swimmers.  Those swimmers also won't have to deal with faster swimmers going over the top of them.

The new bike course adds 5-6 short steep hills on each loop and a longer climb coming back into town.  While the new course SHOULD be closer to 112mi (last year was 114.5), it will be just as challenging. Throw in some weather variables and you better know where to distribute your energy.

The run. Well it's a treadmill in my basement, packed with everyone I have ever known here in Madison; those involved in the sport, friends from the past, as well as family to provide support th…

My thoughts on Lance

"Lance is banned for life and stripped of his TDF titles."  

At this point I do not believe it is a matter of guilty or innocent. Like VeloNews put it, it's a matter of "Does it really matter if he cheated?"

With so many different opinions out there, I believe it's a matter of how you view the situation. I have grouped people's opinions into three categories.

1) Livestrong

What the Livestrong has done for cancer research and awareness, trumps the debate over his guilt. This is the impressive part of what he has done with his iconic status and ascension to the top of a sport. This is what we truly need to look at in regards to whether or not his guilt really matters.

Those who view the situation in this way will tell you that what he did off the bike is far more impressive that what he did on the bike. After all, this is what REALLY matters when looking at the broader spectrum in life.


2) Sport - Guilty

Building a sporting empire and legacy on a foundation with…

A Note To My Athletes - Choices

Below is an email I sent to Team BBMC... useful for all.

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Good Morning, Everyone.

Great job to all those who made it to practice this morning.  Patrick Brady lead the session and did a great job!  I am hope to see everyone tomorrow morning at 6am. It's early, but you'll be done before most being their day.
I love the quote, "The grass is greener where we water it." This quote can be applied to everything in life, but I am applying it to our health.  By prioritizing nutrition, sleep and training, you will find that you are able to do most things in your life more effectively and BETTER.  Our bodies are our temples. We can't buy another one and we can't neglect it and expect it to perform on command.
We all live busy lives and have a lots of adversity to deal with; that's a part of life.  But none of this is an excuse to let the care of ourselves take a backseat. I challenge each one of you to set a sleep goal, a nutritional goal, a training goal and do it fo…

The Tide Is Changing

It's been a while...

Balance is a tough thing in life; a little too much on one side or the other and things can really get thrown out of whack. Add in some anxiety about it all on top of that and things really start to get interesting.

The 2012 race season started off exactly as 2011 went - ROUGH. Ironman CDA seemed to be the low spot for me. Physically and mentally I just wasn't where my training showed I should be. I left the race not knowing how the rest of the season would go or what direction I would go. I wasn't performing and wasn't enjoying it.

I packed things up and headed back to Wisconsin.  Over the next 4 days I thought about what I stood for, how I wanted to live my life and what triathlon was to me. What I realized is that life to me is like a 5000 piece puzzle. The pieces sometimes don't seem to fit, we can't seem to find the boundaries (edge pieces), we get frustrated, but we push on because we know what is possible...we BELIEVE it is possible.…

Checking In

Just a quick blog to check in with you all.  
Can you believe it?!? No mental focus topic this week :D  Sorry if it disappoints.  Things are going extremely well on this end and I am really looking forward to the first "real race" of the season at Ironman Coeur d'Alene.  I have a damn good captain, Cliff English, who has done his job to get me ready to rock and roll in Idaho.  Now it's my turn to use every bit of that fitness he has helped me build.
I will check in as we get closer, for now, just a few more big days to go.

Wildflower Race Report

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Well let me tell you, this race lives up to all of the hype.  Most of the 7,500 athletes and 30,000 spectators end up camping for the weekend, but Tri-California is generous enough to provide elites with houses that are...well, just take a look at the pics. Thank you to everyone at Tri-California!


The above is from the road that drops you down to the houses, about 500ft below.


The second is from the balcony of our place.

The week of the race was great for me. I felt the best I had in a long time and was swimming, riding and running very well. One of the reasons that I choose this race was not that it suited me, but because it addressed almost ALL of my weaknesses.
- Narrow congested swim start.
- Fast descents on the bike, with speeds easily reaching 50+ mph
- Run course that was off road, off camber and very hilly/technical

I didn't expect to race my fastest, but the goal that Cliff English and myself had was to stay focused and race hard no matter what. 
I had varying degrees of…

"Knowledge Is Power!"

As I type this, I am on a San Francisco bound plane, for a “re-do” to the start of the 2012 triathlon season.  For those of you who have followed my blog, you now know that I decided to go public with some of the anxiety issues that I have. Thank you to the 20 or so of you who sent me emails or Facebook messages with support and encouragement.  It is nice to know that I have so many people rooting for me and that in itself, makes a big difference.   I wanted to expand a little bit more on the anxiety and what that actually means for me on race day.  It is typically not the hyperventilating, rapid HR response that many people picture. It can be if I swim too hard in the first 400m of a race, but usually it’s a series of negative thoughts or visions that I attach to, that leads to a lack of focus, a sense of hopelessness and ultimately, giving up. It has happened so quickly sometimes that I have still been in the top 10 of major races when I throw in the towel. Back in 2010 I worked with S…

Facing The Fear... Part 2 to NOLA Race Report

I am sure a few of you are wondering what I am going to and how I am going to combat this, I am not alone in this.  If I remember back to 2009, my breakthrough year in long distance racing, I raced my a$$ off. I raced so often that racing became like training for me.  Aquathons, local races, bigger races and time trials. I raced everything I could. Though things started a little slow, it was by far my most consistent year of racing (when I was the most fit).

After a brief exchange with Cliff to get the OK and a few email convo's with people who have experience, it's time to treat this fear like any other one that I would face in life. I have two choices.  I can run from it, try to avoid and cope with it and retire from this sport with unfinished business, or I can face these fears head on and smash the hell out of them...over and over and over again, until they are either numb or gone.

So that's the plan, I won't release a race schedule outside of the larger races, but…

Hard Times In The Big Easy

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New Orleans 70.3 Race Report.

Sometimes you show up to race completely physically prepared to take on everyone. You know through preparation that your numbers across the board is in a place to give anyone a run for their money...literally.  Then race day comes, the gun goes off and things turn out much differently than you anticipated.  This was one of those times.

What most people don't know about me is that I deal with a bit of anxiety.  Time to just put that out there for everyone. Most of the time it's very manageable, but from time to time, it becomes challenging. Without going into more detail, this was one of those times. Specifically, the handling of a deep dish front wheel in the wind. The wind wasn't horrible, but it was gusty and consistent throughout the course. After a close call with the curb at mile 3 and a VERY windy and sketchy descent off of one of the bridges at mile 5, I had a bit of an anxiety attack and I was unable to regroup or settle down to regain…

Last Minute Changes In NOLA

Well it's official, the swim has been cancelled at the Ironman 70.3 New Orleans.  In place of the swim, they have decided to hold a 2mile run.  In addition to that substitution, they have also had to shorten the bike to 52 miles because of debris on the road. Then second run course is now a 2 loop, double out and back course.

To be honest I don't mind the changes.  All 3 disciplines have been going well for me and it would have been nice to have a few minutes on the slower swimmers, but I am confident that my combined bike and run fitness is as strong as anyone racing tomorrow.  I have made some big gains in the last 4 months and am looking forward to laying down.

The only x-factor is the wind, 40mph and gusty is no joke and with all guys likely to be getting on the bike within a minute or so, safety will need to be number 1.

I also want to pass along a best of luck to Patrick and Brandon, the other BBMC'ers out there racing!

Race report to follow!

Gearing Up To Race

I thought I would check in before the start of  my 2012 season.

So far this year, I couldn't have asked for anything else in the sport of triathlon.

On the coaching side, my umbrella of BBMC athletes has grown to 50 for the first time since I have started coaching, over a decade ago.  There are many different levels of interaction that I have with these athletes, but each athlete serves as a daily reminder that I do make a difference. These individuals give me more than I could ever give them, they help give my life purpose. I can't wait to morph, grow and reach more athletes in the future. Thank you!

On the racing side of things, the season is about to get started in a little over a week's time.  Fitness is at all time best levels (no, that was not a typo) and I am excited for two good hit outs over the half ironman distance.  On April 22nd, I will head down to New Orleans 70.3 and then, two weeks later I will head out to race at the 30th Anniversary of the Wildflower Tr…
This post stemmed from an athlete who posted the following on our forum:

"Learning to let go of something may be worth more than giving up something.  Freeing yourself from anything that controls you; now THAT can take you somewhere."


Very insightful post.  That is the ultimate message and power behind doing something that you deem "impossible."

We realize that anything is possible...if you believe, if you want and if you work.

I couldn't swim, ride or run with any of you in 2000. I raced Ironman Wisconsin for the first time in 2002. Since that time, I have wanted to win this race, we are now 11 years down the road and that is very real possibility.

The last 11 years has been held up by belief that nothing was too big to overcome; bad races, injuries, finances, my anxiety and psychy, other's opinions, nothing.  I always remembered and repeated that the time when you accomplish what you want is just past the point when everyone else would have given up.

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Groove Officially Found

Just a training update for you all.

Cliff and I have been working closely on identifying patterns in life (both inside and outside of training) that work well for me and patterns that don't.  As a result, we have made some changes to both the training plan and racing schedule that I am really pleased with.

- Anxiety = nothing good for me. I have always struggled with it, so it's time to face it. For me, eliminating big sources of this inside and outside of training help things go much more smoothly.  Think about an interstate in comparison to a city street with stoplights.

- I am no longer training for long periods of time on days when I have to coach in person.  This has eliminated a lot of stress for me.  A more relaxed approach to daily training makes a big difference for me.

- Longer training blocks before key races are going to be the rule this year. This will help me train well going into each event, which in turn will build confidence.

- Race schedule change.  I am now …

Targets Within Your Training

Most of you reading this will have a training plan or a coach.  But many of you might not have detailed specifics with some of your workouts prescribed.  What I mean by this is that your training might read something like this:

"Mainset:
300 moderate on 15sec rest
100 easy on 5sec rest
2x300 mod-fast on 30sec rest
100 easy on 5sec rest
3x300 fast on 45sec rest
100 easy on 5sec rest

...or perhaps:

"20minutes easy to start this run."

...or maybe:

"60minutes easy to start this ride."


If this is the case, take it upon yourself to set targets that fit the descriptions.  What is a reasonable pace for moderate effort in the water over a distance of 300m? What paces  and watts fit the "easy effort" description on the bike or run? If you are unsure, ask your coach.

Why?  Because sometimes 220watts on the bike feels easy, while other times 160watts feels like a struggle. If you know your zones/paces and stick to them, it will help keep the easy, easy and go al…

Budgeting Your Time

A lot of athletes have asked me what my daily routine consists of and how I get balance everything. So I thought I would give a little bit on insight that many of you can take and apply to your lives, as well as a glimpse into my routine.



1) PLAN! This is the number one downfall that I see with most individuals and athletes.  They may be able to tell you everything they need to do, but rarely do they have a REALISTIC plan on how it will get done.

Set up a plan and hold yourself accountable.  Make a LIST, write down certain times that you will do things and make sure that you budget enough time for the most important tasks that you need to get done.

2) BE PRODUCTIVE! In general, people are more productive in the morning; use this to your advantage.  If you have a task that takes a lot of brainpower, get it done first. If you have to deal with other people, try to do it in the morning.  You will likely find that a task which takes 60min in the morning, will end up taking 2 hours or more i…

New Site & Back To Winter

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If you haven't checked out our new BBMC website, make sure you take a look (www.blakebecker.com).  The site is now geared toward athletes and will not only give information on services, but also act as a resource for athletes to be educated.  Feel free to post feedback here on what you feel would be beneficial to add onto the site.

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Since arriving back to Madison, mother nature decided to give us all one last taste of winter.  The roads were clear and clean when I returned, but now, not so much.  This was what the greenway looked like from my porch doors; not exactly ideal for training outdoors on anything other than skis.



Training was geared toward recovery for the first 4 days back.  I completed about 54hrs of training over the 2 weeks I was in AZ and needed to absorb that work.  I ALWAYS feel terrible during recovery blocks and this one was no exception.  30min runs are daunting and I seem to forget how to pedal a bike.  
From experience I know that I come out of this after ab…

Wrapping It Up in Tucson

Today is my last big day or training in Tucson and the weather looks perfect.  80* and sun (though windy).

The two weeks started off a bit rocky because of some residual fatigue, but I came around and ended strong. The days after Lemmon have been about recovery and now two solid days to end my 15 days in AZ.  Lots of training, lots of good times and a few more friends made.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the camp, I have a feeling that Cliff's crew is going to do great things this year.

Now just 3 weeks until the first race of the year.  More to come soon!

BB

Day 10 -Attack on Mt. Lemmon

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Mt. Lemmon is probably the most well known of all the climbs in the Tucson area.  It's LONG (at 25miles) and takes you up just over 8000 ft in elevation (see pic).  It's a very scenic ride, though today I don't think many of the guys were noticing.



Justin and I rolled out at 8am from the westside of town and met the group about 30min from the base of the climb.  I actually preferred this because it gave me an extra 45+ min of warm-up. Once over there we fueled up and were off.

I knew the climb up to mile 20.5, which is where most turn around...I then heard that there was a descent of about 2.5miles before climbing and descending again into town.  If you have been following my blog, you know that I am NOT a good descender and I figured at the 20.5 mile mark I would need about 2minutes on anyone who I was going to stay away from to the end.

So my plan?  ATTACK at the bottom.  I wrapped my head around the length of the effort and lifted the pace just enough to slide off the…

Day 9 - Definitely Moving Faster Today

Well today was not very long in duration, but it sure didn't take away from the pain of the sessions.

Morning swim was a cracker (as Chris would say) of a session. 5.5k with a main set of 4x (4x100 on 1:15, 400 on on 5:15). This went well for the most part except I needed about 2 gels that I didn't have in the last 2 rounds of the above.

We then got a good rest, which was good.  I opted for my normal oatmeal, fruit and cottage cheese, but then opted to add a few more carb cals and went for an entire box of sweet potato bisque soup from Trader Joe's. Amazing stuff and easy to digest before a hard afternoon run session.

At 2:30 we headed to the track for a 90min session.  We had a longer warm-up followed by 6x400 as 200fast/200easy on 2:15.  Then completed a main set of 2x (1600,1200,800,400).  Basically descended from 5:25 to 5:00 on the first set and 5:15 to 4:50 on the second.  It's amazing how long it can take the legs to warm-up.  Hats off to Justin D and Chris B fo…

Day 8 - Rolling Along

Day 8 was the first of 3 solid days of training.  We started at 8am with a fun 5km swim that included 6x100 band only and 1600 pulling steadily.  I am surprised that my strength/speed is back nicely after I've had to be a bit careful since my NYD fall on the bike.

I then took a little time to myself before heading out early on the bike before the group.  I wanted to get a few extra miles in to really take advantage of the weather.  We then met as a group before rolling out to do some 'fun' intervals.  The mainset ended up being 4x (10minutes at 70.3 watts, 5min easy, 5min at threshold, 5min easy) ... this is a challenging set to pace correctly.  Everything felt good and I ended up finishing with just about 90 miles on the day.

Dinner included a trip to Sweet Tomatoes with JD and Marilyn.  If you haven't been, it's definitely worth the $12.99 all you can eat.  Though we reassured ourselves that the amount of food we ate was reasonable, I still question it after the…

Day 7 - "Coming To Play"

"Coming To Play" were Cliff's words on deck this morning.  Needless to say that I am feeling rested and back into a groove.  The 8 days before I left for camp seemed to really take a toll on my body, one that took almost a week to come out of...take away for everyone is to listen to your body and be patient.  It doesn't forget to do what you have taught it, it just needs to be listened to in order to bring it out again.

Today's swim was a good one with some generous rest from Cliff.  I was back where I am most comfortable, leading the lane.

5350 yards today:

WU:
800 easy choice
400 as 25drill/75swim

TS:
3x200 as 50build/50easy/25sprint/75 easy on 2:45
100 easy

MS:
3x
400 on 5:20 (in 4:45 +/-)
300 on 4:00 (in 3:30-35)
200 on 2:40 (in 2:15-20)
100 on 1:20 (in 1:05-07)
50 easy + :20

CD:
300 Easy

This afternoon calls for some coaching and strength work, an easy spin with JD, perhaps some time spent next to the pool and a nap.  6 BIG days to come...

Happy Monday every…

Day 6 - The Legs Arrived

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Well I knew they would make it eventually and today seemed to be the day.

This morning I headed out with Chris and Justin for about 15 miles.  Nothing too over the top, as I have been rolling about 16-18 for the last month. We started at Trader Joe's and then ran along the river (dried up) for our pace work.  Mainset was 30min, 20min, 10min descending on 5minutes recovery.  We cruised the first set at 6:15ish and then finished up with a quick 10 at about 545/mi.  All in all a good run and the body is finally starting to feel normal again.

After a nap out by our pool (see below) I am headed out for a few short hours on the bike and then hitting up sushi with my friend Erin, who lives here in Tucson.

Tomorrow we are back at it in the water and I have a feeling week 2 may be a bit bigger than week one!

Day 4 & 5 - Sleep

I haven't forgotten about blogging, I have just been sleeping more than usual over the last two days.  I usually don't do naps and I have had two of then for a combined total of almost 4 hours, I have also banked 19hrs of sleep over the last two nights...this is a huge jump for me.
Friday was a big day in the pool with a main set of 11x200 on a descending interval of 2:40, 2:30, 2:20 with and easy recovery 200 between the sets of 3. The rest of the day was off besides an easy run before dinner with the McDonald's and JD.
Today was a solid day of training with just under 4hrs of riding over to Mt Lemmon.  We had a fairly large group of riders who rolled over together.  Good times.  I ended up doing about 8 miles at a mod-hard effort with Chris and JD, then dropped back down and did a few more efforts before rolling home.  I came back, napped and then headed to probably the most awesome pool in Tucson - Oro Valley. 
Tomorrow is another solid day before heading into week two.  I…

Day 3 - Bringing Up The Rear

Well so far during this camp I have been at the back more than at the front.  The ironic part is that up until camp I had trained at a level that would put me off the front, then hit a bit of a bad patch about a week and a half ago and I just haven't come out of it yet. I'm trying to keep a sense of humor about it though because i do know the legs will come around. They always have and always will.

This morning we rolled out at 8am and rode to the top of Madera.  It's about 100miles round trip and very fun ride.  We started with about 30min easy and then rode in a double pace line for about 90minutes (building by 30min increments).  This was tough at times with a false flat and headwind the entire way. We  stopped and fueled up and then headed to the climb.  It was a total of 13miles with the last two at well over 10% grade.  It is typically a tougher climb, but when you don't have legs...well, you're off the back.  That's exactly where i found myself at the 10…

Day 2 - Back At It

Today was a solid day for sure and though I am still not firing on all cylinders, I am on my way.

We started out with a tough 5k swim at 8am.  The main set was 3k of hard swimming on a 1:20 and 1:15 base.  Essentially we swam 6 rounds of 200,150,100, 50.  It was a very fast 3k.

Highlight Of The Day: After swim, I got home, was standing in the kitchen with my roommate (stud mountain biker, Sam Schultz) and watched a hawk swoop in and attack our resident morning dove that lives on the porch.  The hawk knocked it out of the nest, onto the ground, then picked it up and flew with it into the door, they fell to the ground before the hawk finally won the battle and flew off with our animal alarm clock.

Next session of the day was a 90min run with a main set of 3x ~3miles.  I did NOT feel great for this session, but got it done.  I have been running well up to camp, so looking forward to feeling better next week.

I finished the day off with a nice 90min ride with buddy Justin, before getting …

Good Stuff..

Read this on a friend's blog (Joe Sweeney). I couldn't help but copy them and share them with all of you. Enjoy... +++ Here are some of my favorite John Wooden Quotes:   “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are”“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out”“It’s what you learn after you already know everything that really counts”“Parenting is the most important job in the world”“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”“Sports do not build character.  They reveal it”“Make each day your masterpiece”“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but what you should have accomplished with your ability”“Be prepared and be honest”“Do not let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do”“Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time”“Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.”