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Coaching - just because.

EebijeebiEebijeebi Posts: 91
I'm pondering the idea of trying to get a coach, but I just want to improve and do longer, faster, steeper in future. I won't be trying to compete.
Has anyone here ever employed a coach just to help get better without any mind towards competition?
I've looked at all sorts of plans, time crunched plans, and I use Trainer Road. All these things are great but they don't have the ability to put a flea in your ear if you're slacking, tell you where you're going wrong etc or even just say 'well done'.

So did you try coaching and was it good or bad? Worth it or not?
Thanks,
Eeb.

Posts

  • wavefrontwavefront Posts: 215
    You'll get varying replies (like with most subjects), but I think whether coaching works or not for an individual does depend quite alot on their personality. For me it works. Very much works, but quite a few in my club wouldn't be able to follow such a strict structure. I'm having to sacrifice quite alot so it's not for everyone.

    However, I'm doing it for a specific goal, and I doubt I'd be nearly as motivated if I wasn't constantly thinking about that end goal. It would be so easy to skip a session (I mean who wants to go out and do a 3 hr set of intervals in the soddin' rain at 7am on a Saturday morning) if I wasn't doing this for a reason. Once I've done my event, I know what my next aim is, so will probably continue with the coaching.

    As my goal is very specific, so it's easy to train towards that. But it might be tricky to be coached to just 'go longer, faster, steeper'. Just riding your bike may well help with that, but how much faster, or how much longer, or how much steeper may require different sessions. I'd suggest making a realistic goal something like - I want to ride a 'x' km loop with 'y' local hills 'z' % faster than I do now. This will give you the focus and aims to work towards with a coach.
  • I'm pondering the idea of trying to get a coach, but I just want to improve and do longer, faster, steeper in future. I won't be trying to compete.
    Has anyone here ever employed a coach just to help get better without any mind towards competition?
    I've looked at all sorts of plans, time crunched plans, and I use Trainer Road. All these things are great but they don't have the ability to put a flea in your ear if you're slacking, tell you where you're going wrong etc or even just say 'well done'.

    So did you try coaching and was it good or bad? Worth it or not?
    Thanks,
    Eeb.
    Cycling goals need not be competition. We've worked with plenty of riders preparing for non-competition goals, although the majority have had a race focus, or targeting a Sportive or fondo ride or rides.

    It's still a process, and needs to factor in things specific to you. A good coach can certainly help keep you on track, but the real motivation does need to come from within.
  • ravenvriderravenvrider Posts: 197
    I got a coach 10 weeks ago, mainly because after much research and playing with "free" plans i could not design anything that resembled a decent structured plan for the time i have to train every week. I have a specific goal which left my coach 17 weeks to maximise my ftp before my ride, as i did not have time to play around i bit the bullet and got a coach.

    My thoughts after 10 weeks, worth it..yes, if just to get a dedicated structured plan thats based around you.

    But dont expect to have a coach in your ear screaming to push harder....thats all down to you, you have to be able to commit fully to the sessions and do what is asked, and believe me a couple of weeks into a hard block of vo2 max intervals it hurts and the gremlin in the back of your head loves telling you to "just take it easy".

    But commit and the results do come, i have just destroyed a pr i set 5 months ago, now how much that is down to my coaches plan versus what i "would" have done is difficult to say, all i can say is i have not trained as hard or as focused for a very very long time.
  • All the best advice on these forums come from people like Alex & Ric (RST) and BeaconRuth while others can offer advice and opinion on what works, and what probably doesn't.

    Go on the British Cycling website and search for a local coach have a chat with them if you prefer.

    Even just putting some structure/ tailored plans around your cycling should yield improvements.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • CYCLESPORT1CYCLESPORT1 Posts: 471
    Get one who HAS ridden a bike (in anger) though !
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Thanks for the vote of confidence SloppySchleckonds.

    To the OP - there are some good answers above. Anyone who says the effectiveness of coaching depends on you, your personality and what you want from it is bang on. But also it depends on the coach. Every coach has a unique approach and attitudes too, along with different interests and emphases. So choose your coach very carefully - and don't assume that the most expensive (or famous) is the best. My number one tip for finding a good coach is to look for someone who is genuinely interested in you and your goals. Ultimately good coaching is 100% focused on you the rider and if a coach isn't listening very hard to you, giving you training which works for you and basing everything on what you have told them, then they're not doing their job very well.

    ps. this is not a sales pitch as my books are full and I have a long waiting list.

    Ruth
  • EebijeebiEebijeebi Posts: 91
    I think where I'm at is that I'd like to give it a go but ideally I'd find someone local enough (Essex) that I could actually meet them at some point. That really narrows down the numbers and there's very little info to go on, so it's a bit pot luck. Maybe I'll have to forget the face to face bit and look further afield.
    Recommendations go a long way.

    PS I did research this a few months ago and 'chose' someone. That was Ruth, (didn't know she was on here at the time) who of course was full.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    I think where I'm at is that I'd like to give it a go but ideally I'd find someone local enough (Essex) that I could actually meet them at some point. That really narrows down the numbers and there's very little info to go on, so it's a bit pot luck. Maybe I'll have to forget the face to face bit and look further afield.
    Recommendations go a long way.
    If you have a Garmin and/or HRM which allows you to send data to the coach, and if you're happy with email communications and some 'phone calls then not meeting a coach face to face isn't really a problem. Far more valuable than actual face to face meetings is the time and attention the coach gives you - and that can be done remotely. I've coached several riders for many years and never met them - 5 or 6 years in some cases - but I would say I know them and their cycling extremely well.
    PS I did research this a few months ago and 'chose' someone. That was Ruth, (didn't know she was on here at the time) who of course was full.
    Ah. Sorry about that. :-(

    Ruth
  • GrifterukGrifteruk Posts: 244
    I have been with a coach for about 9 months now training for a specific event at the end of Aug 2015. A few observations and conclusions reached thus far:

    1. You need to be honest with your coach on what you feel works and does not work for you both timewise and training wise. My coach has and continues to identify weak points in my cycling but ultimately it is important to provide honest feedback;

    2. Listen to your coach when they plan the training - it is there for a reason. I went through a phases of doubting what was being planned which (see below) was clearly without foundation;

    3. I don't have a problem with not having met my coach. We speak regularly and email as well. Skype has allowed face to face contact when required and in reality how often does a coach accompany all clients on rides. I suspect it is rare in the majority of instances just from a logistical side of things;

    4. Set some goals. Appreciate they may be less tangible than a specific event, but if you have something to aim for IMO it provides more structure.

    5. If you can, get a powermeter.

    After 9 months I am over a stone lighter (9st 9lbs whereas before 10st 12lbs) when I thought I was pretty happy with my weight as it was plus I am crushing PB's left right and centre on all sorts of terrain. Last year I struggled around sportives whereas this year I am finishing in the Top 10 consistently.

    I have gone from planning to simply get around my event in Aug to looking at a top 10% placing. Yes I am committed to the training but equally the structure it provides has been invaluable.

    Good luck.
  • supermurph09supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    I'm pondering the idea of trying to get a coach, but I just want to improve and do longer, faster, steeper in future. I won't be trying to compete.
    Has anyone here ever employed a coach just to help get better without any mind towards competition?
    I've looked at all sorts of plans, time crunched plans, and I use Trainer Road. All these things are great but they don't have the ability to put a flea in your ear if you're slacking, tell you where you're going wrong etc or even just say 'well done'.

    So did you try coaching and was it good or bad? Worth it or not?
    Thanks,
    Eeb.

    It sounds like you are a beginner to cycling? If you haven't already then I would consider joining a cycling club before getting a coach. Start with a group that suits where you are at, enjoy the experience of riding with others, picking up tips, then look to move into a faster group, this imo will bring you on and make you achieve the "faster, longer and steeper" objectives without the need for a coach. It'll also establish where you are strong and where you need to improve, if you can't figure that out yourself then one of the experts on this thread will be ideal.

    Of course if you prefer the structured approach then go for it, but (without knowing your background) I'm pretty sure that getting out 3 or 4 times a week with riders who will encourage and push you will yield a lot of gains.
  • ollie51ollie51 Posts: 517
    I think where I'm at is that I'd like to give it a go but ideally I'd find someone local enough (Essex) that I could actually meet them at some point. That really narrows down the numbers and there's very little info to go on, so it's a bit pot luck. Maybe I'll have to forget the face to face bit and look further afield.
    Recommendations go a long way.

    PS I did research this a few months ago and 'chose' someone. That was Ruth, (didn't know she was on here at the time) who of course was full.

    If you want Essex, you could get in contact with Marginal Gains coachign (Russell Hampton)

    http://www.marginalgainscycling.co.uk/
  • andyebandyeb Posts: 407
    I paid for a coach for a year or so, but had to stop due to needing to cut back on financial expenditure. I was coached by a qualified coach who also happened to hold the KOMs for most Strava segments around here.

    Provided you can afford the outlay without cutting back elsewhere on things that also matter, I'd say it was worth it.

    In essence it buys you three things:

    i) a tailored and structured training plan appropriate to your current level of fitness and available schedule

    ii) troubleshooting on specific problems, where you want someone qualified over simple opinion that you get on boards like this

    iii) someone to give you a kick up the backside if you are slacking, or tell you to back off if you are overdoing it. Depending on your personality type (I'm more prone to over-doing it) both of these have value.

    One thing I would say is make sure you find a coach who is happy working the way you like to work. For example I'm very big on the numbers, analysing everything to the n-th degree and tracking improvement over time. My old coach however was more of a ride-by-feel type person and trusting intuitive judgement and relying on things like RPE over what your stats are telling you. Personally I find RPE way too subjective.

    This was one reason in me deciding to make coaching one of the things I decided to cut back on, so I'd recommend trying to get that right from the get-go.

    Best of luck hunting for your ideal coach!
  • mpattsmpatts Posts: 976
    I'm pondering the idea of trying to get a coach, but I just want to improve and do longer, faster, steeper in future. I won't be trying to compete.
    Has anyone here ever employed a coach just to help get better without any mind towards competition?
    I've looked at all sorts of plans, time crunched plans, and I use Trainer Road. All these things are great but they don't have the ability to put a flea in your ear if you're slacking, tell you where you're going wrong etc or even just say 'well done'.

    So did you try coaching and was it good or bad? Worth it or not?
    Thanks,
    Eeb.

    I am a massive advocate of coaching generally, my experience:

    I trained pretty hard but was aware I was plateauing, and didn't know were to go next. I looked at online plans, and online coaches, but they just didn't suit my personality. So I employed a local well know coach, who is an ex-pro and still races at elite level. He designs me a plan, gives me advice, recommends races to target, gives me a gee up when I need it and also tells me when I am being a nob. It's been worth every penny.

    Give it a try!
    Insert bike here:
  • EebijeebiEebijeebi Posts: 91
    Thanks for all the thoughts and advice. Have taken the plunge.
  • AK_jnrAK_jnr Posts: 717
    I paid for a coach for a year or so, but had to stop due to needing to cut back on financial expenditure. I was coached by a qualified coach who also happened to hold the KOMs for most Strava segments around here.

    Provided you can afford the outlay without cutting back elsewhere on things that also matter, I'd say it was worth it.

    In essence it buys you three things:

    i) a tailored and structured training plan appropriate to your current level of fitness and available schedule

    ii) troubleshooting on specific problems, where you want someone qualified over simple opinion that you get on boards like this

    iii) someone to give you a kick up the backside if you are slacking, or tell you to back off if you are overdoing it. Depending on your personality type (I'm more prone to over-doing it) both of these have value.

    One thing I would say is make sure you find a coach who is happy working the way you like to work. For example I'm very big on the numbers, analysing everything to the n-th degree and tracking improvement over time. My old coach however was more of a ride-by-feel type person and trusting intuitive judgement and relying on things like RPE over what your stats are telling you. Personally I find RPE way too subjective.

    This was one reason in me deciding to make coaching one of the things I decided to cut back on, so I'd recommend trying to get that right from the get-go.

    Best of luck hunting for your ideal coach!

    I had the same coach as you for a year and stopped for the same reason. Plus on top of that I didnt get the results I wanted.
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