Why do I need a coach?
If you've been training and racing for many years, you may ask yourself that question. Training from the outset seems quite simple. With modern technology, the right tools and information related to training are at our fingertips. The podcasts, training plans, workouts, Zwift group rides, have made it quite easy for the Average Joe to become an expert in training. Most people can be quite successful while coaching themselves up to a certain point-- but then, something happens. Often people will find themselves in a rut; they are not progressing year after year and their training is stagnant. Lots of us have the potential to become far better cyclists, but it is hard to do it on our own. There are reasons why lots of coaches have coaches themselves. Even the best riders in the world who have been riding a bike for decades have coaches to guide their training. Having that "second opinion" will help get us out of that training rut for a few reasons:
1. Objectivity: Let's face it, we're all biased towards ourselves. We may have a good sense of our strengths and weaknesses on the bike, but oftentimes our judgement can become clouded. We can often let our emotions get in the way of reality. If a race didn't go doesn't go our way, we have a tendency to find reasons to explain why, such as "I didn't eat enough," or "I need to do more intervals." A lot of times, we can misdiagnose why we may have done poorly in a race. We may think we need to start doing more intervals, but what if the problem is that we are doing too many intervals? A coach is able to look at the big picture of your training, and identify what may have been the problem. Progressively, a good coach-athlete relationship will provide a more individualized program over time, tailored to fit the athlete perfectly.
2. Working on Weaknesses: One of the hardest parts about coaching yourself is getting yourself to do things that you don't want to do. It's not that a riders lacks the knowledge to train, but a coach is able to give an athlete that extra push. I know that I'm a great climber, a mediocre time trial-ist, and a poor sprinter. Scratch that, I hate sprinting. When I used to coach myself, I had no problem going into the hills and climbing all day, but I think I sprinted like maybe once the entire year. When I showed up to race day, I had a hard time following the accelerations in the pack. Sometimes I would miss the race winning move because my top end was so poor. Hmmm... I wonder why? I knew that I should have been working on my sprinting, but I didn't want to work on my sprinting. Sprinting was for the birds. Once I got a coach, he made me sprint-- a lot. At the time it really sucked, but now I'm a lot better at sprinting and hey, it actually can be kind of fun. Sometimes. A coach is able to make you do the things that you don't want to do. And yes, you may be cursing at your coach while completing a tough workout, but when you're standing on the podium, it makes it all worth it.
3. Holding Back: Most cyclists are addicted to the endorphin rush that accompanies a good hard ride. Consequently, the self-coached athlete has the tendency to train too hard, and not recover enough. There are times when a cyclist needs to push hard and dig deep, but there are also times when getting good quality recovery is equally important. The only way the body can come back stronger is through rest. A common scenario is the taper period. I've seen lots of people who will train far too hard in the weeks leading up to their event, thinking that they must continue to meticulously hone their form, when really they should be resting. The great benefit of a coach is that they will tell you when you should rest, and when you should train. This tendency to over train is quite a common phenomenon, and even many experienced professional riders will have bad, citing over training as the reason. In spite of our deepest desire to go out for a hard ride, your coach may tell you that you need to do 1 hour easy. While this may be hard at the time, you'll arrive at the starting line firing on all cylinders.
4. Rest Assured: Most of us have a lot going on between work, school, kids, spouses, yard work, shopping, etc.. Sometimes it's hard to find time to breathe, much less map out a training plan. The good news is that there are people who can do that for you: Coaches! There's no need to be stressing about what kind of intervals you need to do or if you'll be fit enough to peak for your "A" Race, a coach can do all of that for you. This removes all of the guess work. You can rest assured knowing that whatever ride is planned for the day is the exact workout you should be doing. Oftentimes this makes riding a lot more enjoyable knowing that you are doing everything you should be in order to succeed.
Interested in coaching?
Send me an email: Landry@AspireCyclingCoaching.com