Before you shell out money to hire a triathlon coach, consider the benefits of structuring your own training plan.
As a triathlon coach, it might confuse you to hear my argument for why forgoing a coach and instead structuring your own training can be a good thing. But hear me out—the benefits might surprise you.
No one knows your strengths and weaknesses better than you do. Triathlon training is a learning process as you fine-tune what works and what doesn’t work for you. You become more aware of your body and its responses to a variety of training situations. Self-coaching makes you tune in closely to your body’s responses and make honest assessments.
You learn how to become your own motivator. You must find motivation and get yourself out the door for a workout for self-imposed reasons, and not because you have to answer to a coach. Your dependency on others to create motivation greatly decreases, which comes in handy in challenging race situations, when you have only yourself to rely upon for that kick of motivation.
You know why you are doing certain workouts. In order to coach yourself you have to ask the question “why” for each workout. Instead of doing a workout and not knowing its purpose, you learn to understand the goal of each workout. Driving your own workouts keeps you connected to the short-term goals that will help you realize your long-term objectives.
You can take credit for your own success. Getting yourself across the finish line after self-coaching yields big returns in terms of self-confidence and personal satisfaction. This kind of success can also translate to other challenges in your life. With proven results under your belt, you can become a good mentor for other triathletes.
It’s free. Need I say more?
When deciding if you should be your own coach, take some time to plot out your goals for the upcoming season. Then, consider what you need to do to accomplish those goals. Do you need to bike longer? Be able to run a faster half-marathon? Working backward from your overall goal and looking at the time frame you have to complete your goals will help you tremendously. Then, introduce the details. What are your daily workouts going to be like in terms of duration, frequency and intensity? This is where you become a student of the sport. There are many good online resources and training books (we recommend “Your Best Triathlon” or any other Joe Friel title).
If you find yourself questioning something in your training, don’t be afraid to ask for advice from those more experienced or knowledgeable than you. With time, you’ll be able to understand your physiological responses, adaptations and improvements more intimately than any other coach could.