What I Have Learned from Working with a Triathlon Coach
The very first race I did was in 2007 and it happened by chance. I had been riding with a Category II cyclist and his wife for a while and they suggested that I do a triathlon. Since the base I lived on was hosting a sprint triathlon that spring I figured, "What the heck." So my friend Kevin wrote up a training plan for me, put me on training peaks, and started working me up to my first race. Fast forward about 35 or 40 races later and here I am again working with a coach on a very different level and different circumstances. This time, I have some big goals in mind. I am older, wiser, more experienced, and know a lot more about racing. So below I have listed my thoughts on working with a coach and what it has done for me these past several weeks.
1.It still comes down to SHOWING UP EVERY DAY and DOING THE WORK with a good attitude. This is universal to all training. There are days when I have to teach 2 classes and then go swim with the Masters Swim Team after that. What? Three back to back workouts? Sometimes I get tired or warn out but that's what it's all about. Keeping on! Don't get me wrong, there is a difference between being tired and burnt out. Usually with burn out there are accompanying emotions and physical injuries going on as well, but being tired is just a sign that you are working hard to get where you want to be.
2. The accountability is AMAZING. I get an email when a workout isn't logged. Each morning when I wake up the workouts are in my inbox. My coach is looking for my Garmin results each night for heart rates, zones, duration, etc. When I go too hard on a particular run or ride, he will message me and tell me to stay in my zones and no higher. He reminds me that this is a well thought out plan that is based on building up to an end result.
3. Working with a coach certainly keeps things interesting. My coach comes up with well thought out workouts I would never think of, all of them with a purpose behind them. A long endurance ride is never boring because there are always a few timed efforts along the way or different training zones to achieve. Changing things up is great and keeps a fresh perspective.
4. Experience speaks volumes. Chances are your coach has done a lot of racing in his/her career and brings a lot to the table when it comes to knowing what to expect at a race. He or she can give you heads up on what to look out for and may have done the course themselves. Your coach has first hand knowledge in nutrition, hydration, training plans, mental readiness, and a slew of other triathlon topics.
5. Motivation- Your coach knows exactly what your goals are and is determined to get you there. He/she can paint the picture of what a podium finish looks like in your mind. Your coach has your best interests in mind and wants you to succeed in a big way. Sometimes you just need to hear that you are moving in the right direction and that the big picture is worth all of your efforts!