The benefits of triathlon coaching

The benefits of triathlon coaching

Whether you're just getting started, looking for those extra gains or preparing for an Ironman, finding a coach can make the world of difference in your development as a triathlete. ITT's Mark Pearce explains the benefits of getting a coach at any level.

Everyone from a triathlon novice to seasoned pro can benefit from having a coach; however, it's essential to get the right coach for YOU. They might not always be your coach, sometimes you need a change, not because your previous coach wasn't right, but a change in stimulus/ideas can provoke a more significant improvement in performance.

What's your level?

Novice

Novices can make significant improvements very fast with a coach’s help and support. An experienced coach of beginners will be able to help structure a suitable training load, through adjusting the volume, frequency and intensity of the training. If they are a local coach, they should also be able to help with technical aspects such as swim stroke, cycling and running. Club coaches and face-to-face contact is vital at this stage to make the most progress.

Intermediate

If you're looking for the next gains or you've plateaued, a coach can help to make those subsequent improvements. If the most pressing reason you have for wanting a coach is to improve something technical, then you want to be looking for someone close to home who you can see regularly. However if you want someone to help re-structure training, provide new ideas, look at areas such as nutrition or using a power meter, race strategy, all of those can be accomplished effectively via internet support. 
 
There's no rule saying you can’t have multiple coaches, but you need to ensure they all know what the others are doing. Triathlon is not three sports, it's one that has three disciplines that interact with each other, and this needs to be reflected in your training and preparation.

Elite

Many pros have an enormous amount of knowledge gained over many years, but they still want or need a coach. It could be to lay out the programme and having a structure to guide them through, a friendly face or stern talking to at the appropriate times, an objective voice, technical input, or all of the above and more. 

How YOU can benefit

Optimise available time - if you have limited time to train, a coach will help you make the most of this time. One of my athletes told me I am his wife’s favourite person; he trains less, has more time for his family, but is racing better and so he is happier!

Provide objectivity - when you are looking at your training and performance as an athlete, it can often be difficult to be objective about where you are at and what you need to do.

Improve technique - whether swim, bike, run or transition, most people can gain time by becoming more technically competent.  Safety, in particular on the bike is another area.  Being able to take a drink, ride in a pack, be confident through the corners etc. are all critical. 

Improve physical ability - knowledge and experience of training methods and sessions should enable you to reach higher performance levels.

Tactical and strategic input - an experienced coach will be able to analyse a race course and advise on race strategy based on your particular areas of strength and weakness.

Accountability - there is a massive amount to be said for having someone to be accountable to get you out training consistently and properly. The motivation that a coach can provide to you as an athlete can be invaluable.

Support - there are times when all athletes need something extra, maybe a shoulder to cry on, a stern talking to, advice and general chat; a good coach will be there for you.

So now we've identified the multiple benefits of triathlon coaching, keep reading to learn more about finding the right triathlon coach for you!

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