Sunday, November 4, 2012

To Coach or Be Coached, This is the Question?

So as you know, I stated in a previous that I was going to participate in my first 140.6 distance race this year, without actually coming out and saying it. (read it here). So one thing that has been on my mind was whether or not I was going to hire a coach to help obtain my goal, or am I going to go ahead and continue to "self coach" me to the finish line. I am still am not sure which way I will go. I know a guy that is qualified and able to coach me, and we have had conversations about it already, he may even read this post! I have talked this over with some other people and it always comes back to this. what do you expect from a coach? What is important to me? What do I need help with the most? What can they do for me that I can;t do for myself? So here is what I expect in no certain order:

  1. I want to have my coach to have definite plan. In the past, I have used the plans from So, I knew for weeks what my workout would be, from day 1 to race day. This is pretty important to me and my family.
  2. I want a coach that will give me some guidelines on nutrition  both during workouts and in everyday life. I do not expect them to plan meals or anything, but I would like them to hold me accountable for what fuel I am putting in my body.
  3. I don't know that I want the entire coaching relationship to be done through emails. I want to know my coach, I would hope that we might be able to workout some together  I do not expect him to show up to every workout with a whistle and clipboard.
  4. I want a coach that values a trainer ride. Last year I used a trainer to do almost 70% of my rides and I made huge strides. It is hard for me to find the people to ride with during the week and I feel more comfortable and safer riding on the trainer, besides I feel it adds to that mental toughness piece.
  5. I want a coach with experience, that has been in my situation, that knows what it takes to complete a 140.6. I want to use their experiences to help me.
  6. I also want a coach that understands this is a hobby and a goal of mine. I have a job and a family that comes first, I am not going to make any money at this, but I will take it seriously. there are going to be some missed workouts due to family or work obligations that can't be missed.
  7. I also want a coach that will help me schedule races leading up to my 140.6. In my mind, I have an Olympic, a sprint and maybe a half I would like to do leading up to my 140.6. Is this to much??

So, is this too much to ask for? I don't know if it is or not, but these are the questions or insights I will definitely be asking the potential people. This is what is important to me. I would lover to hear your thoughts, especially from any that have used a coach in the past.

Thanks for reading!


  1. So you and I aren't in the same city. But my coach does the things you're looking for. He actually leads a Sunday group ride and Saturday run. Not all of his athletes are coached in person but for those who are its good. The thing he doesn't do is coach in person swimming.

    For me the best thing is that he plans the workouts and if imdon't update them he'll ask me why .... Holds me accountable. I have made tremendous strides with him so it's worked for me.

    I haven't don't my 140.6 yet but I think that having build up races is important. Not the sprint. But the half - or 2 even and a marathon in there might be nice.

    What race have you chosen?

  2. I think that all of your requests are valid. I starting using a coach when I went up to my first 70.3. I actually completed the USAT/L1 certification myself but don't actively coach clients except through charity stuff.

    An effectively coaching relationship is very personal. The right coach for someone else may be the wrong coach for you. I believe in a "committee" or team of coaches as one person can't excel in all areas.

    I also believe that, while a standard plan can get you to the finish line, individual plans are more effective. I get my workouts a week at a time and it allows my coach to adjust up or down on sickness or unanticipated improvement. My philosophy is constant testing while training can see if the plan is working or if another approach would be better.

    I found that using a coach gained me precious time as each workout is actually shorter and more targeted to a specific purpose.


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