From time to time I get the question what the advantages are of working with a coach. So, here are some of the reasons why you need to work with a personal coach:
ROOKIES: If you're new to the sport (also called Rookie in Triathlon-terms), getting a coach is a smart idea. You’ll get faster familiar with the terms, the exercises, the training plans, so your coach can start you up in no time.
SAVE TIME: Coaching can help you detect 'weak spots ' in your training/racing, regardless of experience or ability. Whether it’s stripping back on ‘junk’ sessions in favour of more effective training, or someone spotting your mistakes and finding ways to develop yourself. A coach can help fast track you to a point that would have taken years on your own through trial and error.
SMART-GOALS: Setting clear goals: You may already have a specific training or racing goal in mind, but equally, it may be something quite vague like ‘to win a race’ or ‘reach my best shape ever’. That’s fine, as goal-setting can be worked out with your coach. So, together with the strong points, weak points and your preference he/she can figure out Specific – Measurable - Achievable - Relevant – Time-bound goals, also called: SMART GOALS. Which will help and motivate you during your training process. Having a coach will also keep you on track to reach these goals.
MORE ORGANIZED: A coach can help you to become more organized and productive. A well designed training plan helps to organize things better and brings more structure into your life while you combine training with family and work and/or studies.
A WALKING ENCYCLOPEDIA: Experienced coaches have a huge amount of (sportive) knowledge. This can be helpful for yourself as an athlete because competitive endurance sports are quite complex. There are many variables that impact your success including the specific material (bike, shoes, wetsuits,..) itself, adapted nutrition, specific supplements, dehydration problems, altitude adaptations, position on the bike/water, bike handling, running technique, year-round training regimen, motivation, rest & recovery, choice of racing discipline and race selection.
DREAMING ABOUT NUMBERS: Coaching in endurance sports these days, is 65% (or more) about correct analyzing the training/racing efforts and translating this into good feedback and specific training plan development. With a ‘think clear principle’, the athlete doesn't have to worry about what all the (sometimes unending) numbers after a training/race could mean, and what he has to do with it. After the analysis and the feedback from the coach, it's time for the athlete to do what he can do best, go on the road and smash those records!
A BODYGUARD: A coach won’t protect you from robbery or whatever, but together with the analysis, a coach can spot out if you train too intensive, too soft, too less or too much (as an external guard to protect your body for for example: overtraining). And he/she can even spot out when exactly you have to take a rest day or rest period. Or when your training volume should be reduced in order to have a perfect taper.
MOTIVATOR: A coach can push you thru the wall. You can perform always a bit harder when you know someone is watching over your shoulder. As if it's on the side line or behind the computer, you'll be always a bit more motivated if you have a coach. But, a coach can also help/motivate you during difficult times. A coach can be a source of strength, a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board and a friend.