The End of Coaching

Since August of 2009 I’ve been under the tutelage of a world-famous triathlon coach. But I have a limited budget for all my triathlon needs, and I need a tri-bike, so earlier this month I started thinking about talking to my coach about bumping down to one of his lower-priced plans. Coincidentally, my coach had become more occupied with his full-time job, plus he’s co-owner of PowerTri.com, and so of necessity he told me he had to let go of 5 of his coaching clients. Given that I was already looking to cut down on his services, I was one of the logical people for him to cut entirely.

I think this is going to turn out to be a good thing. I’m a bit overwhelmed not having someone to tell me exactly what to do each day, but this has spurred me to really start digging into the Triathlete’s Training Bible and I’ve been learning a lot that I wasn’t learning before because I didn’t have to. As much as I enjoyed having a coach, and as much as I think I would race better this year with him as opposed to without him, I think it’s in my long-term best interest to be on my own at this point.

When I first starting triathlon, I didn’t know anything. Having a coach would have been great, but completely unfeasible financially. I didn’t even read books like the TTB because they seemed so overwhelming. There were so many words I didn’t understand that I didn’t know where to begin. What’s a cockpit? What’s an interval? What’s a split, taper, base, period, fartlek, or brick? What do the terms fast twitch, slow twitch, and glycogen mean? Every time I read an article or part of a book on triathlon I was completely confused because I didn’t know what half the words meant within the context of triathlon.

Over time I picked up things, but it was slow going. My training regimen consisted of doing a little more each week than what I did the week before. It got me to a half-Ironman, but it took me 7 hours and 13 minutes to finish it. When I was able to get a coach, I was ecstatic. And it made a huge difference. Not only did I have someone who could answer all my questions, but he was telling me exactly what to do each day. I started losing weight and improving my times dramatically.

During the past 6-7 months, I’ve learned a lot from my coach–enough that now reading the TTB isn’t so overwhelming. It’s overwhelming to try and figure out a 7-week half-Ironman training plan on my own, based on what I’ve been doing for the past 6-7 months, but if I were starting a brand new year it would be fairly straightforward. In other words, having a coach for half a year has provided the bridge I needed to get from being completely clueless to the point where I can learn on my own. If I’m not an expert on triathlon right now, I’m at least heading in that direction under my own power. And since it’s now up to me and nobody else, I think I’ll start progressing much faster in my knowledge, and while that might not give me as fast of times in my events this year as I might achieve otherwise, 2-3 years down the road I think I’ll be much better off for it.