I’ve heard some great reasons why you need a coach. I’ve even heard someone say “Everyone should have a coach”. I’ve also heard a lot of different reasons why you don’t need a coach. These reasons were not directed at me personally, but comments I’ve heard on the trail or ease dropping on friends and clients friends facebook comments or blogs. Some comments include “all coaches do is bark power numbers” or “who likes to do intervals all the time”. My favorite was “my coach wanted to know about my bowel movements and I couldn’t take it anymore.” While there is some truth to all that, watching power and doing intervals make you faster, that’s a fact. Riding your bike without structure doesn’t always make you faster, eventually this rider will be limited. A coach will guide you through the process and make sure you are progressing, and if you aren’t, they will adjust your workouts and riding pattens so you do progress.
I understand that a coach is not for everyone. Many people have done great self-coaching themselves. There are a lot of great resources out there, and Joe Friel’s Mountain Bike Training Bible is an excellent resource. Do a Google on “free traning plans”and you’ll find a ton of self guided plans and tips. The problem is there is so much information;how do you make sense of it all? A coach help you put it all together; training, race execution. equipment choices, rest and nutrition. It’s a lot to know and deal with.
A coach can motivate by finding your strengths and build on your weakness. When you are lacking motivation you’re missing the things that will drive you to succeed. Coaches will hone in on those things and bring the drive back. You have got to want it, have a goal and be dedicated. If its not important to you, you will fail.
Knowing you have someone watching your workouts and going to review the work you are doing is not only motivating but will push you a little harder then you would if you were doing it on your own. You want to impress and show you are working hard and make your coach proud.
At the end of the day, what do all the numbers mean? Are you doing enough or too much. The accumulation over a week or month must be accounted for and how does that fit into the big picture (goals). Do you have the time to learn TSS, IF CTL, ATL and TSB? Time constrained athletes want someone to understand this so they can just focus becoming faster.
Balance work with rest
I see a lot of athletes that are over working themselves and are never recovered to do the important workouts. More is not always better. Getting the right amount of rest and work is critical to successful events. As athletes get older the consistency in workouts is more important then when they were in their 20′ or 30’s. but they also take longer to recover and rest is also critical.
Doing your first XC race or tackling a 100 mile or stage race. You need to understand your pacing strategy. You need to understand the equipment or fueling needs. Coaches have been there and done that. Use the experience of an expert to guide you on these challenging endeavors.
Get over hurdles
You’ve been self-coaching for years and you hit a platue. It’s most likely you have been doing the same type of workouts and not progressing. You need help to make a jump to the next level and having trouble doing it on your own.
Coaches are not just for professional athletes. All athletes seeking to become better or maybe learn new skills can get the biggest benefit from a coach. Coaches don’t work miracles, but if you do the work a coach prescribes, you will become stronger and a more skilled racer.