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Old 12-20-08, 08:40 AM   #1
Roscoe326
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Coaching vs. self training

Please share your coaching experiences and compare them to your results when you were self trained. Given the benefit of hindsight, what would you change if you were being coached for the first time today?
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Old 12-20-08, 10:17 AM   #2
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Get a coach who can not only help you with fitness but also with race strategy and tactics. Most coaches I've seen do a pretty decent job with fitness, but not many do a really good job of teaching you how to be in the right place at the right time.
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Old 12-20-08, 10:39 AM   #3
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Get a coach who can not only help you with fitness but also with race strategy and tactics. Most coaches I've seen do a pretty decent job with fitness, but not many do a really good job of teaching you how to be in the right place at the right time.
Its because many of those coaches have never raced at a high level and know tactics. Many of those are ex. phys guys that know how to train someone physically but not much more than that.

You may find yourself switching coaches several times before you find one who knows what makes you tick and motivates you. Just because coach A works out for Athlete A, doesn't mean coach A will work for you.
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Old 12-20-08, 05:42 PM   #4
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Well I had a coach back in the 80's when I was a hotshot junior; but ever since I've been self-trained.

To answer the question: I think my strengths and weaknesses are physically the same as they were back then; but mentally I'm smarter and tougher now and more aggressive. I chalk that mostly up to maturity and experience.

I did cough up $200 (oops better update the $ thread) for a local coach this past summer, to do an assessment and just talk a bit about goals etc. He's certified but also a former cat 1 who's now in his 50's and still winning in the 1-2 fields around here.

Anyway, I filled out his form, he looked at me on the bike a bit, we did some rides together, he watched me race a few times, gave me a couple of tips b/c I wanted to lose 10 lbs, but he basically said, "you know what to do, keep doing it"

But, that's just me. Somebody with less experience, especially in their first few years, I think could really benefit from having a coach who's there to ride with you occasionally, watch you race, talk about tactics, etc, and build training plans.
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Old 12-20-08, 07:23 PM   #5
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I think anyone can do better with a coach than without, but finding a good match is key. Lots of us do well self-coached, but I still think it'd be better with the right coach.
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Old 12-20-08, 07:32 PM   #6
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I think anyone can do better with a coach than without, but finding a good match is key. Lots of us do well self-coached, but I still think it'd be better with the right coach.
This is sage advice...

I am doing much better with a coach. He gives me direction and keeps me motivated...

After a year of 'basic fitness coaching', this next season he is going to work more on bike handling and race strategy...

He is a PhD, Cat 1 racer, former pro team director, and all around great guy...

Best of all I think we get along...

A good match...
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Old 12-20-08, 07:46 PM   #7
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To your question...

I was training to my strengths, a common mistake...

He made me focus on what I disliked doing...

I would suffer through an interval set...

He would say I was weak and slow...

Do it again and again and again...

I got better...

I do better being told what to do....

Everyone is different...
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Old 12-20-08, 09:25 PM   #8
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I've thought long and hard about a coach. It would suck all the fun out of cycling for me. It would feel like friggin boot camp.
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Old 12-21-08, 05:33 AM   #9
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If you want fitness, ring up the exercise physiologist.
If you want to win races, ring up the retired pro.

That said, I self coached my whole career.
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Old 12-21-08, 09:24 AM   #10
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I've thought long and hard about a coach. It would suck all the fun out of cycling for me. It would feel like friggin boot camp.
Depends on the coach and what you want them for. If it's someone who's going to plan your training program, you have to give them a realistic schedule and they'll work with it. If it's someone who's going to teach you how to race better it's not like boot camp, it's mostly fun stuff-- practicing particular skills and getting debriefs from races.
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Old 12-21-08, 10:43 AM   #11
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Depends on the coach and what you want them for. If it's someone who's going to plan your training program, you have to give them a realistic schedule and they'll work with it. If it's someone who's going to teach you how to race better it's not like boot camp, it's mostly fun stuff-- practicing particular skills and getting debriefs from races.
I absolutely agree with this. My choices are an ultra fast champion Cat 1 male and a national champion masters female. They both currently compete and have gone to Nyack with me. I have to figure out which one is better for me.

Thanks for the responses. You guys might not know that there are many, like me, that lurk around here and read all the threads, especially PCAD's, and get the cycling bug. I hope to repay my BF debt one day by dropping PCAD on the Nyack ride and coming back here to talk about it.
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Old 12-21-08, 10:52 AM   #12
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I think having a coach is a great idea if you are serious about your performance in races and really want to improve. I'm not that serious, hence, I will probably not budget money for a personal coach.
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Old 12-21-08, 12:29 PM   #13
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Its because many of those coaches have never raced at a high level and know tactics. Many of those are ex. phys guys that know how to train someone physically but not much more than that.
.

Also many "coaches" that I see on the internet are guys who are cat 2's and 3's with little actual race experience. You buy the book and take the test and boom you think you are a coach. Of course USAcycling says you are a coach with that little amount of effort so who am I to judge?
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Old 12-21-08, 01:04 PM   #14
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Also many "coaches" that I see on the internet are guys who are cat 2's and 3's with little actual race experience.
I think it's hard to be a cat 2 without a good amount of race experience. Sure, there are some guys who move up fast, but in the big districts they still have to be beating large numbers of fairly skilled riders pretty regularly. It doesn't mean that they have enough insight into how they did it to be able to teach it to someone else, though.
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Old 12-21-08, 01:15 PM   #15
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I just got a coach.
She's an exercise physiologist and currently a pro. It looks like I got a good combo there.
Part of the reason I got a coach is that I tend to get in shape, then coast on that form. I need somebody who is going to hold me to a schedule. I also tend to be very disorganized and end up "just riding". Its good to know that every ride I have now has a purpose.
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Old 12-21-08, 02:21 PM   #16
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I think having a coach is a great idea if you are serious about your performance in races and really want to improve. I'm not that serious, hence, I will probably not budget money for a personal coach.
With all due respect, this is a thread for those serious about fitness and/or performance, coach or no coach. That's why I posted it on the "road bike racing" sub-forum.

You seem to be well on your way to achieving your goals.
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Old 12-21-08, 02:33 PM   #17
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I think it's hard to be a cat 2 without a good amount of race experience.

Not in Ohio - our rep is eager to upgrade anyone whether or not anyone thinks they actually belong in the next category. Couple that with the basic requirement to be a USA cycling certified coach and there you have it. These people should not be teaching tactics.
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Old 12-21-08, 02:36 PM   #18
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These people should not be teaching tactics.
It's great if they're teaching tactics to people I have to race against. People just shouldn't be paying them for it....
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Old 12-21-08, 02:44 PM   #19
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I've thought long and hard about a coach. It would suck all the fun out of cycling for me. It would feel like friggin boot camp.
Wouldn't it increase your self loathing?
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Old 12-21-08, 04:10 PM   #20
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I've thought long and hard about a coach. It would suck all the fun out of cycling for me. It would feel like friggin boot camp.
All joking aside, you appear to be comfortable with your workout schedule and your team role. What would you like a coach to do for you?

Assuming that you already know what you should do (you ride with so many veterans, you should know something), why don't you just do it yourself? Based on your annual mileage, you appear to have enough time. Discipline could be a problem from the "boot camp" quote.
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Old 12-21-08, 04:40 PM   #21
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If you want to win (or do well), in races a coach would help unless your willing to put in the effort of learning and making your own plan. Being busy with work, a coach keeps me focused. I tell him what races I'm riding in this year and he builds the plan accordingly. It certainly helps when you have a fixed amount of time available and need to get the most out of your weekday training rides.

That being said, Pcad's right, having a coach can take the fun out of riding. I never used a iPod while riding until I had to a coach. Once late August hits the weekday Z2 rides were dull as living downtown TO the only pace to ride without Freds, ped and stoplights, is a loop around the EX grounds. It's could be that I was riding the same circuit every weekday that got to me bored...not the riding itself. Aside from the fitness coach in 08, I had a racing coach ( national track champ ), who was great in improving riding style and race tactics. The group rides were pretty kick ass and I learned more in 6 weeks than a lifetime on BF. This coach made riding fun, a fitness coach can make a program where some days are dull. You want to hammer but instead just cruise while the Tri-athletes go past.

My program for 09 starts with training camp in Cuba end of next week in SC in March. It's much easier to get the wife to agree to these trip when labeled as "training".

At the end of the day, if you can, get a coach otherwise read books and make your plan. The book "Base Building for Cyclist" by Thomas Chapple, and "Racing Tactics for Cyclist" by Thomas Prehn which I've found useful. The one by Thomas Chapple can be a little technical if your not already an athlete.
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Old 12-21-08, 04:47 PM   #22
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getting a coach is always a good idea, they help you keep on track with your goals.. There are a few coaches on BF.. what Category are you currently racing and where are you located?
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Old 12-21-08, 06:19 PM   #23
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I think we all would want a coach there's no questioning that, its just the price tag for the ones I've talked to range from $150 to $350 which I'm by no means poor, but that's alot of money.
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Old 12-21-08, 06:25 PM   #24
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getting a coach is always a good idea, they help you keep on track with your goals.. There are a few coaches on BF.. what Category are you currently racing and where are you located?
I don't have a problem finding coaches; I have the luxury of choosing one of two very good coaches. I purchased my first road bike in 2007 for fitness, but needed more challenges when I got fit, so I started racing this year (I am a Cat 5). I am from NYC.

Thanks to the responses on this thread I realized that I need to at least try coaching and see how I respond to it.
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Old 12-21-08, 06:39 PM   #25
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I think we all would want a coach there's no questioning that, its just the price tag for the ones I've talked to range from $150 to $350 which I'm by no means poor, but that's alot of money.
Due to the economic crisis in NYC, the prices have come down from your range to the $50 to $80 range, which makes it more palatable for me. I doubt that I would even consider having a coach that would cost me $350 per month.
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