One effective way to stay motivated and to develop a solid training plan is to have a coach. A coach will help design your training plan and hold you accountable for your workouts. All of the Olympic medalists have coaches, as do the top pro athletes all over the world. Is it just a coincidence that they all have coaches? Of course not- they need guidance, support, and direction. They want to know when to go hard, when to go easy and when to take time off. Having a coach benefits them greatly.
Why should recreational athletes be any different? I hear many athletes (especially triathletes) say, “I don’t want someone telling me what to do” or “What if I don’t like the workouts?” or “What if we don’t get along?” These are important questions to ask as you interview your coach.
Each coach has his/her own style, his/her own philosophy and motivational techniques. You communicate with your coach about which workouts you like and which workouts you don’t like. You explain to them your time constraints and goals. It’s their job to take all of the pieces of the puzzle and make them fit together. Instead of blowing off that important bike or swim workout because you made another commitment, your coach should re-adjust your schedule so you won’t miss the important workouts.
Your coach will know which workouts to emphasize, when to push you, and when to back off of you. You should be able to build a good rapport with your coach. He or she should be trusted and come with a solid endorsement from other athletes. Make sure your coach isn’t just churning out programs to athletes of all abilities... you want your program to be tailored to you.
Here are the top 5 reasons why you need a triathlon coach:
1. Injury Prevention: This is what I believe is the main focus as a coach- injury prevention. If you are injured, you are not training and then the coach is not needed. The more training you do, the more susceptible you are to injury. Through the coach you will be able to train and race safely and confidently. A coach can also help you prevent cramps and dehydration by making sure the right balance of electrolytes are taken at the right time, (fortunately for you Ultima Replenisher helps with this department!) This is crucial for maintaining your performance levels.
2. Structure: Your program should fit your specific needs. From strength training to long easy runs, from rowing to gut-busting hill climbs, to recovery runs and days on the couch. Your program should cover all areas of training including nutrition and hydration. A coach can also help you with all of your caloric and nutrient needs, as this varies over the course of your program.
3. Correction: Every athlete needs correction, especially triathletes. The more you do something, the stronger the habit becomes. It is the job of the coach to make sure you are creating safe and effective training habits. If correction is needed, your coach will be able to spot it instantly and make the appropriate adjustments.
4. Motivation: So what if you have a bad training day and your motivation to train is nil? Your coach should provide you the motivation to get you back out the door the next day.
5. Success: Yes, success. Your plan should help you meet your goals in order to reach your max performance. As long as you follow the prescribed plan and abide by all of the nutritional guidelines the coach presents, then the program should work for you. If it doesn’t, sit down with the coach and ask questions, lots of them. You are paying for his or her help, so you should get answers you are looking for.
Do your research, ask questions and select the right coach for you. Follow the prescribed plan and expect to train hard. Don’t expect it to work if you keep adjusting the schedule or if you keep skipping your long workouts. You need to work with the plan that you and your coach have designed. It’s never too late or too early to hire a coach, improvements can always be made no matter the time of year.
Brian Klepacki is the official Performance Expert for Ultima Replenisher and writes in-depth training articles on a monthly basis. Brian earned his Master’s Degree in Exercise Science with a focus in Strength & Conditioning. He also holds many highly recognized certifications that set him apart from others. Brian owns Optimax Performance Training and has a strong following in St. Petersburg, Florida where he resides with his wife and son.
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