Hiring a coach isn’t for everyone in our sport. Some people go around reading and researching everything they can about the tried and true ways to train. Some are coaches themselves, and can make their own training plans without being biased about their sessions. Others use triathlon just as a outlet, a hobby, and can’t warrant the cost of hiring a coach. But for those of us that have a coach, we need a good fit.
One thing I looked for before hiring my coach, Tony Hammett at Endurance Concepts, is a coaching firm that invests in their athletes. I’m talking a company who’s athletes aren’t just pay checks; they actually want their athletes to improve. And they want to really know you, more than just logging your hours each week. Knowing what you want from the sport, life, where you are mentally each day, ect ect. The relationship should be more than just athlete-coach, and that will translate to bigger and better results.
I’m not writing this to dote on my coach, but more to show how a coach should interact with their athletes. During my flat[s] debacle in Cartersville a couple of weeks ago, Tony asked me a question while Bethany, Tony, and I sat on the side of the road. I immediately threw out an answer, to which he just nodded and kind of grinned. I read people well, so I knew there was something else going through his head, but I didn’t know what. I thought it was a good answer. About 36hours later I sent Tony and email, with my real answer. His response was basically “I know” but in more words and with an explanation of how he knew what my answer would be. He knew me better than I knew myself, and it’s because of that that my training fits so perfectly, and that I trust his guidance.
Make sure you fit with your coach. They need to be more than just the person that updates Training Peaks; they need to interact with you. If that’s all you want, then you can get similar results a lot cheaper buying a training plan, or a book. One way that Tony and I look at my training is a quote from The Matrix. It shows that I can question my plans each week, even if it doesn’t make sense or I’m a little apprehensive, because he’s done each session for a specific reason tailor fit for me. “I’m trying to free your mind. But I can only show you the door. Yours the one who has to walk through it.”