It’s about that time of year. Time when athletes finish up one season and start to look at goals for next year.
Did I achieve my goals for this year? If not why?
Do I have bigger, scarier goals for next year?
Do I need a coach to get to where I want to go?
The obvious answer is YES. I mean I’m a coach hire MEEEEEEEE. The more nuanced answer is also yes, in my opinion, for athletes at every level of triathlon. I’ve been a triathlete for almost ten years now, I am a successful triathlon coach, and yes I also have a coach. I have a complete inability to be realistic about my training, and let’s face it I’d probably never swim if I was solely accountable to myself.
Let’s take a second to look at how coaching can help athletes at various levels of experience.
The Rookie Triathlete:
Quite a few athletes come in to this sport and use a “boxed” plan. I get this. Triathlon is a damned expensive sport, coaches aren’t cheap, and most that are new to the sport are going to make gains on just about any plan. So why get a coach then?
· At the most basic level a well thought out, custom tailored plan is going to advance you as an athlete faster than a plan written for the “average” triathlete. A lifelong swimmer may not need to be in the pool 3 times a week when they first move in to triathlon. The return on investment time wise is probably greater elsewhere.
· It gives you someone to bounce questions off of. Questions generally abound when you first break into a new sport. This will give you someone as a go to with any random question you may have. And you won’t feel bad about taking up someone’s time because you’re paying for it
· Form issues. A well versed coach is able to diagnose and help design plans to address form issues. Swim form is essential to progressing through the sport. It’s very easy to form bad habits if you are not a seasoned swimmer. Avoiding having to correct issues down the road is a worthwhile investment. Run form can also lead to injury. A good coach should be able to make minor changes to gait to assist in staying healthy.
· Fatigue manager. Many rookie triathletes think training needs to be HARD all the time. Not so. A coach helps with keeping you healthy and recovered by making the hard days HARD and the easy days EASY.
The Veteran Triathlete:
If an athlete sticks with the sport they tend to invest more of their “free time” in the sport, or move out to a distance that makes them a bit nervous, or set more aggressive goals. At this point many athletes ditch boxed plans and turn to a coach. What does a coach offer this level of athlete?
· Most triathletes have priorities outside of triathlon. Family, job, children’s activities, etc. A coach will make efficient use of the time each individual athlete has available. Life is stressful enough without having to stress about how one is going to fit training in. A quality coach takes this chore off the athlete’s plate and takes it on.
· Accountability and objectivity. Starting with accountability: A coach will hold the athlete accountable to several things. Several are getting workouts in, not going AWOL, and working with the athlete to assist them in staying consistent. Objectivity is another benefit. Is the athlete on the right path? Is the athlete training the correct volume in each discipline? For instance I might never swim if I didn’t have someone there to objectively remind me that it’s a limiter.
· Coaches can prove to be a trove of knowledge. Taking your performance to the next level often requires a different approach than what you have been doing. Coaches have worked with several different types of athletes who require vastly different approaches and they’ve logged away many different ways to get an athlete from point A to point B. A coach can provide someone to help re-structure training, provide new ideas, look at areas such as nutrition or using a power meter, race strategy, all of those can be accomplished effectively via the internet or in person.
The Elite Triathlete:
Many top end age groupers and elites have an enormous amount of knowledge gained over the years, but they still want or need a coach.
· Much like the less experienced athlete many times the elite athlete wants the stress of programming their training off their plate. Writing plans, analyzing data, balancing stress scores, etc. is time consuming. Many athletes don’t have the time or inclination to do this. This is what good coaches love to do. This way the athlete can take a “see workout, do workout” approach to training.
· Emotional/Mental Support: There will come a time when every athlete needs a friendly voice to pat them on the back. By the same token there will come a time when every athlete needs a swift kick in the arse. Coaches get to know their athletes over time, know what buttons to push, and when to optimize performance.
· And no matter how experienced you get in the sport the accountability and objectivity piece outlined above never becomes less needed.
With identifying the multiple benefits of triathlon coaching hopefully we have helped with your decision making. Obviously if you’re in the market for a coach we’d love to sit down and talk or chat via phone/video call. We’ve tried to put a team together that caters to most athletes. Learn more about what we do at https://www.journeymultisport.com/1-on-1-coaching