“Do I really NEED a coach?” this is a question that I am asked on a frequent basis by athletes with a wide range of abilities. The short answer to this is obviously “No”, having a coach is a luxury and there are many successful athletes who are self-coached. I have athletes that are new to the sport that don’t think that they are good enough or fast enough to have a coach. On the other side there are more experienced athletes that have been in the sport for years and think that they don’t need a coach to help them along. Having said that it is my belief that every athlete can benefit from having a coach and here are a few reasons why:
The most disciplined athlete has those days when the last thing they feel like doing is training. Knowing that a coach is either meeting you at a venue for a workout or will see your results via data upload can turn what would have been a missed workout into an opportunity to get better.
We are all busy with work, kids, social and professional obligations so it can be a challenge to find time to work out each day much less determine what type of training should be done. A coach will create a long term plan that will take into account all of the external factors in your life and maximize the time that you have available to train.
Train Smarter, Not Harder
Do you know how to do a Lactate Threshold test and set Heart Rate zones? How about figuring out what wattage to hold for a half iron race? A coach will take the guess work out of training and make sure that every workout has specific parameters to effect a certain physiological change.
A Guide Along the Journey
I spent the first three years of my triathlon career making stupid mistakes at races mainly because I didn’t know any better and there weren’t a lot of online or print resources to draw from at the time. A new athlete will benefit from coaching by not having to make those same mistakes as well as having an available resource to ask any question that might come up during training. For longer distance races such as Ironman or marathons it is of great benefit to have someone to manage the training load and come up with a race strategy that will ensure success.
It is hard to be objective about your own training and that can lead to complacency and wasted effort. It is human nature to rationalize why we didn’t hit the wattage on that last interval (“I didn’t sleep well, had a hard day at work” etc.) or to naturally gravitate to workouts we enjoy and avoid the ones that we don’t. Doing this often leads to training areas that are already strong and neglecting weaknesses that could be improved. In order to become a better athlete it is important to train the entire spectrum of substrates in order to maximize performance.
Coaches can help an athlete of any level and any ability maximize their performance on race day and finish the race with a smile (or at least a grimace of joy!).
Have questions about how coaching can benefit your multisport career? Leave a comment below or read more about our PTS Sports coaching staff.
About the Coach
Brett Daniels is a USA Triathlon Level II Coach based in Atlanta, GA. Brett began his multisport career with a reverse sprint triathlon (5k run, 20k bike, 300m pool swim) in Kuwait while deployed in support of Operation Desert Thunder. Since then he has completed well over 100 multisport races from sprint to Ironman (Louisville x2, Lake Placid, Coeur D’Alene) including the 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Championships.