The decision to work with a triathlon coach is something that many athletes will consider at one time or another. Whether you are completely new to triathlon and need guidance while training towards your first race. Or you are a seasoned athlete who wants to reach their full potential and perform at a higher level. It can be very beneficial to seek out professional support to progress in your sport.
I worked with Jon Brown at Run and Tri Coach for the past two seasons, but this year I’m going it alone. Jon was hugely helpful in improving my fitness, strength and endurance as I prepared for race season- having a coach is something I’d highly recommend.
Some of the reasons to consider a triathlon coach are…
Bespoke, tailored training plan
One of the main benefits of being coached is having a training plan which is customised to your own unique goals, strengths, weaknesses and lifestyle. There are lots of training plans available online and in magazines, but they will be very generic and usually will not meet an individual’s needs.
Feedback and Guidance
When you are self-coached, it’s impossible to get any kind of feedback on your training. A coach will provide objective feedback and constructive criticism whilst thinking about the big picture. Coaches are also there when you need a second opinion or need further clarification and advice on your training.
Having someone to be accountable to can make a huge difference in making progress towards your goals. It’s easy to skip a workout when we are only accountable to ourselves, but knowing that you have to check in with your coach provides extra motivation to stick to a training plan.
Expertise and Experience
A triathlon coach will have a wealth of knowledge on many aspects of triathlon including injury prevention, nutrition, hydration, strength and conditioning. Take advantage of their expertise and utilise it to help you improve. Having a coach give you feedback on your running form or swimming technique can highlight the areas which you wouldn’t pick up on otherwise.
Many triathletes are juggling training alongside other commitments and responsibilities, so maximising available time is important. A coach will create a plan which prioritises quality over quantity- every workout has a purpose and no time is wasted to junk miles.
Rest and Recovery
As well as pushing you to complete tough workouts, a coach will also ensure you rest and recover sufficiently. Many of us find it hard to take time off, it’s considered lazy or weak to ease back from training. A coach will schedule in rest days before fatigue sets in and creates burnout.
Do I need a triathlon coach?
When making the decision to take on a coach, it’s important to have realistic expectations. There is no magic formula for success and it takes work on the behalf as the athlete as well as the coach. Also, it might take some trial-and-error to find a coach who suits your needs. There are a variety of approaches- some coaches are very demanding whilst others are more laid-back. Not forgetting that a coach is an additional cost in an already expensive sport.
Joining a triathlon club is an alternative to coaching if costs are too prohibitive. You will benefit from structured training sessions and feedback in a motivating group environment.
Right now, I’m using a combination of Havering Tri training sessions and the knowledge I’ve picked up from working with Jon previously. I’m quite self-motivated and after four years in this sport, I feel I’m able to structure my week in a way that works for me.
Have you worked with a triathlon coach?