Why Hire a Coach?
Some people believe that only professional athletes or Olympians need coaches. Or they think that only those who could qualify for the Ironman World Championships or want to run the Boston Marathon need coaches. But let’s think about why those people hire a coach in the first place: It’s because they need the knowledge, support and guidance. They want to know when to take it easy, when to push it and when to back off and rest. Having a coach allows them to focus on achieving their goals without having to worry about whether they are doing it correctly.
So why should age groupers be any different?
If you have a goal and you want to achieve it to the best of your abilities, why would you not get the help you need to make it a success? Here are just a few areas in which a good coach can help make your training an effective and enjoyable experience:
Coaches offer a wealth of knowledge, research and skills that take years of experience and study to acquire. That knowledge can be applied to your personal set of skills, strengths and weaknesses. A good coach will work with you, at your level and with your individual needs, to create the most efficient training plan possible. Recognizing what areas of your training can be capitalized on and which need more work is priceless and something that a “Canned” training plan from a website cannot give you.
Endurance sports are all about efficiency. Technique and efficiency go hand in hand. Your technique in running, biking and/or swimming, becomes exponentially more important as the distance increases. Good technique and efficiency will fight off fatigue, improve your speed and keep you injury free. This is something that’s very difficult to work on or improve if you’re training yourself or being coached online. Having a Coach physically watch you and work alongside you (using Gait evaluations, video analysis etc), can give you an invaluable advantage.
It’s very well known that going “all out” all the time is a very irresponsible approach to any sort of physical activity. A training plan helps make sure you get enough recovery time in between workouts to prevent injury. But even the most sophisticated training plans out there can’t take everything into consideration. A coach’s responsibility is to adjust your plan when you are overworked, stressed out or feel like you’re about to get sick. These are all things that make it very easy to over-train and get hurt. As athletes we like to push through and tough it out. Restraint is not something that we are good at; a good coach is.
There is so much information out there regarding nutrition in general. You can read about race nutrition and athlete diets as well. The problem is that there is rarely one thing that works for everybody. Each person has different nutritional needs based on body composition, fat burning rate, how much they are training, resting, etc. Daily nutrition has to be balanced and has to mesh with your training and racing to be effective. All of the theories out there can be confusing, which is daunting when nutrition can either “make” or “break” a long distance event. A knowledgeable coach can help you figure out what works best for you and what will give you the energy you need come race day.
This is where the difference between having a coach and using a “Canned plan” becomes even more apparent. Having someone who appreciates and knows what you’re going through makes a big difference when you’re training for a challenging endurance event, while balancing a normal work-day and/or a family life. Whether you want someone to push you and hold you accountable or someone with a more nurturing approach, or both! Look for a coach that’s qualified and understands your goals.
They will be an incredible asset and make sure you achieve them!