I no longer have to even think about the answer to this question… Coach for sure!!! I will never tackle a race without a coach again. Now is the time of year when athletes are planning their 2016 race schedules and setting their goals. I believe that if you are serious about your goals you should hire a coach. Hiring the right one is the key. Here are some things to consider:
- How much of a budget do you have? Be realistic about how much you can afford to spend. And realize that having a coach may save you money in that you end up at your race, healthy and prepared. instead of injured and eventually DNFing.
- You get what you pay for. Be wary of very inexpensive plans. You may be getting a generic plan that you could have found online. Coaching can range from $100-$400+ a month. If you want an individualized plan and the ability to talk to your coach on a regular basis be prepared for at least $150-$200 per month.
- How much interaction do you want? Some people need very little coaching and others need more. Only you know the answer to this. You may not need someone in your geographical area. Online interaction can be very effective.
- Ask your friends if they have a coach. Especially those who are meeting their goals. Referrals are the best way to find a coach.
- Ask to talk to some of the coach’s other athletes. Ask them about their experiences good and bad with the coach.
- Be realistic with your time budget. Make sure you are realistic with yourself, your family, and your coach about how much time you truly have to commit to training.
- Commit to at least 6 months to a year. It takes time and you really need to trust and listen your coach. You have to make a commitment to them after you have made a decision. Of course, if you know right away that it is s bad match, get out right away. But, you really need to listen to your coach. They do this for a reason.
- Do your job. Your job is to do your workouts and provide feedback. Do that and everybody benefits!
I am starting my third year with Jen Mathe from One 10 Performance and Nutrition. She has helped me achieve Ironman times I really never thought I could. I think with her by my side I can get to Kona one day. There are many reputable coaches out there and probably as many shady ones. I recommend Jen with all my heart (even though I hate her for single leg drills on my bike). If you are serious about your training, find yourself a good coach. Your time is worth it!