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Old 08-18-12, 09:50 PM   #1
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What does a coach offer?

I have been thinking about pulling the trigger on getting a coach to help me get to my full potential and maximize the gains for the amount of work I put into cycling. I have heard all of the pros and cons of paying for a coach and have become a believer so what I'm really interested and haven't been able to get a good answer for is what the average coach should offer in the way of help. I know that they help you build workouts and help you figure out the best strategy to win during races but do they also help you with your nutrition? Should they also be willing to ride with you so much a week? Should they meet with you every so often in person and figure out how your coming along or do they usually just do it by email with you giving them your ride reports? Just wondering what I should be looking for in a good coach and how to know a good one that will fit my needs when I see them. Thanks in advance for the responses.
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Old 08-19-12, 01:19 AM   #2
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Join a team, buy Friel's book. (people to ride with and give you advice, and the book can help you structure your training)

I say save your money for entry/travel fees, and food.

But if you really want a coach, can't you just ask them what kind of services they offer? I'd imagine they'd be willing to tell you that for free.
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Old 08-19-12, 04:25 AM   #3
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Different coaches have different packages.

I know coaches who ride regularly with their clients. My coach lives a bit too far for that to be pragmatic.

I won a lot of races self coached, though I win a lot more coached. Some are good, and some are bad. So like the cost of their packages it all depends.

Honestly, almost vague enough to be a 41 thread. Get it together. There's a standard over here.
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Old 08-19-12, 05:19 AM   #4
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So many questions, so many answers...

First off, figure out what YOU want and then go from there...
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Old 08-19-12, 06:09 AM   #5
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IME, a coach drastically shortens your training learning curve by eliminating the extraneous BS one reads on the 'Net and constructing a training plan based on your goals, limitations and time available. Matt's recommendation - get Friel's book and a good team - would work too, but you have to be fortunate in the choice of a team...or a coach, for that matter.

For me, I'd rather not have a coach ride with me - if I've got to do X intervals at Y watts for Z duration, or do a 3-4 hour LSD ride, the last thing I want is someone there with me. If you have a hard time flogging yourself, having the coach there might help, but if you have a hard time flogging yourself, you probably wouldn't be racing.

A coach should be able to help you with nutrition and tactics, though IMO the tactics would be better learned in a team environment.

Again speaking for myself, mostly web-based feedback works well. I get my coaching through Carmichael Training Systems (CTS), and it works like this (thumbnail sketch): I get daily emails with my workouts (they're also set up on the Training Peaks website), upload the workout results to Training Peaks, get email feedback on them a couple of times a week, and have a weekly conversation with my coach as well as additional emails I use for asking questions and providing my own feedback. I'm using the least-expensive option they offer; with more money comes more coach/athlete interaction.

It's been worth it to me, in that it has re-adjusted my expectations of myself upwards and made me a stronger cyclist.
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Old 08-19-12, 06:11 AM   #6
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unfortunately many most coaches construct their plans from Internet BS
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Old 08-19-12, 06:16 AM   #7
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unfortunately many most coaches construct their plans from Internet BS
That's an advantage of using an established company like CTS or Friel's organization - there's an assurance of an at least minimum standard of training and coherence.
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Old 08-19-12, 06:17 AM   #8
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people eat frosted flakes as well.
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Old 08-19-12, 06:32 AM   #9
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A coach offers you the ability to complain to your training partners that you can go over zone n today.

#t=25s
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Old 08-19-12, 09:12 AM   #10
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Ha lol. "Is this a good place to pee?"
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Old 08-19-12, 09:21 AM   #11
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I have had a very positive experience with my coach. Not only do I get daily workouts, I get important feedback. It constantly amazes me what he can see in my files, and things he ask me to work on as a result.

On top of that we communicate on nutrition, and other related topics. He has even pointed me in the direction of a few good deals when I mentioned I was in the market for a specific product.

As he lives on the other side of the country, we don't ride together.

I think if you have the right coach, you will get out of this experience whatever your willing to put in
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Old 08-19-12, 10:57 AM   #12
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I know different coaches will offer different things I just want to know what the standard is so that I'll know if I'm getting cheated or not. Is it normal for a coach to ride with you ever week or would that be considered extra? Same with nutrition help? I want to know if these things are pretty normal so when he gives me a price I will know if its a good one or not. I don't want to be that guy who goes to buy a new car and ends up with getting 30% interest and smiling because I think I got a good deal because I didn't know what questions to ask or what the norm is.
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Old 08-19-12, 11:29 AM   #13
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Use the rkwaki ride plan for a year with a heart rate monitor to track training stress / gauge efforts. In that year investigate local coaches to see who is the best. If you want to work with that person in 12 months, then do.
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Old 08-19-12, 11:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I know different coaches will offer different things I just want to know what the standard is so that I'll know if I'm getting cheated or not. Is it normal for a coach to ride with you ever week or would that be considered extra? Same with nutrition help? I want to know if these things are pretty normal so when he gives me a price I will know if its a good one or not. I don't want to be that guy who goes to buy a new car and ends up with getting 30% interest and smiling because I think I got a good deal because I didn't know what questions to ask or what the norm is.
You've provided no specifics yet want something more than it depends. Just to teach guys a lesson in how to ask questions I'm tempted to lock this.

The answer to your question is it depends.
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Old 08-19-12, 11:46 AM   #15
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You've provided no specifics yet want something more than it depends. Just to teach guys a lesson in how to ask questions I'm tempted to lock this.

The answer to your question is it depends.
Good point. Well I have been riding for about two years now. I'm on the Texas State Cycling Team and raced for the first time last year. Did ok but not great. We don't have a team coach and most of the time we don't even ride with each other. Mostly just a loose group of people who travel to races together. I mostly just rode my bike as much as possible last year to train. Averaged about 40 miles a ride as hard as I could. I know that there is a better way to do things and have heard intervals etc. but not how many, how often, how many rest days, etc. Also I had a problem with not being able to recover from my rides a few months ago and had to take a couple months off the bike to fix it. I don't want that to happen again. I was kinda obsessed with getting as light as possible and was dieting while riding a ton which caused me to burn out and take the time off the bike. So I also want some help figuring out by nutrition stuff. I would ask the team but all of them are pretty much just college students who eat whatever, ride whenever, etc and see what happens. I want my stuff to be a lot more structured. Is that what you were asking?
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Old 08-19-12, 12:03 PM   #16
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Seriously, I would start with the book purchase (Friel's "Training Bible") before you spring for a coach.

He goes over structured training (intervals, rest, etc), and also nutrition, plus a bunch more.
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Old 08-19-12, 12:18 PM   #17
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Good point. Well I have been riding for about two years now. I'm on the Texas State Cycling Team and raced for the first time last year. Did ok but not great. We don't have a team coach and most of the time we don't even ride with each other. Mostly just a loose group of people who travel to races together. I mostly just rode my bike as much as possible last year to train. Averaged about 40 miles a ride as hard as I could. I know that there is a better way to do things and have heard intervals etc. but not how many, how often, how many rest days, etc. Also I had a problem with not being able to recover from my rides a few months ago and had to take a couple months off the bike to fix it. I don't want that to happen again. I was kinda obsessed with getting as light as possible and was dieting while riding a ton which caused me to burn out and take the time off the bike. So I also want some help figuring out by nutrition stuff. I would ask the team but all of them are pretty much just college students who eat whatever, ride whenever, etc and see what happens. I want my stuff to be a lot more structured. Is that what you were asking?

Good background I guess

But

Do you want a guy to ride with you?
Have you met/inquires about/know any local coaches?
What are your cost parameters?
Have you done an iota of research or do you really expect us to do it for you?
Packages vary widely. It's an unregulated industry. Name costs. As do hissing points of and regularity of contact.
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Old 08-19-12, 12:33 PM   #18
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I have looked up some local coaches and the packages are very variable as are the costs, sometimes for the same package. I'm wondering if that is because one coach is better than the other or is just overcharging etc. I would like someone who rides with me at least once every week just to touch base and see my progress. Also a coach riding with you can point out what your doing that could hinder you that just looking purely at the numbers won't be able to tell why you may be going a bit slower then you should be say on the hills or whatever. I would like to keep the cost to no more than around $200 a week and less if I can get some of the other guys on the team to do it with me. Maybe a group discount? So yes I have done some research I just want to make sure I'm doing the correct research and asking the correct questions.
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Old 08-19-12, 12:40 PM   #19
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God bless your good fortune.


I know the guy who should coach you but he can't ride with you and I'm not sure he has room in his schedule.
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Old 08-19-12, 12:42 PM   #20
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Good point. Well I have been riding for about two years now. I'm on the Texas State Cycling Team and raced for the first time last year.
That's a start. Category? Goals? What type of races do you want to do well in (i.e. what are your A races)? How many hours do you train a week? A year? 40 miles a ride is useless data.

Pretty much any training plan, even a canned one from some internet site or one you build yourself after reading Friel, will be way better than "ride as hard as you can" every ride. As you found out one of the problems with that is burnout.

Edit: one way to find out who is a good local coach is to ask local racers. Ideally you'd find people who have had the same coach for a year or more. For example one of the local coaches is good but does not believe in rest weeks and has a tendency to overload his riders. But they do well for a while before they crack.

You should get Friel's Training Bible. Even if you get a coach, the concepts and exercises in it can help you figure out what you want your coach to help you with. The chapters on figuring out strengths and weaknesses and setting goals are very useful.

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Old 08-19-12, 12:57 PM   #21
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God bless your good fortune.


I know the guy who should coach you but he can't ride with you and I'm not sure he has room in his schedule.
For $200 a week he should make room. And give you a commission.
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Old 08-19-12, 01:00 PM   #22
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I would like to keep the cost to no more than around $200 a week...
That's a good chunk of change. Most coaching programs I'm aware of are well within that range - shoot, the one I'm on is less than that per month. Still, wanting the coach to ride with you will up the price considerably since his/her time is valuable. If you could get him/her to ride with you one day a week for X dollars, and divide that fee by however many show up for a group, you could get a less expensive (web-based or local) program and still get the occasional eyes-on attention you want.

As Eric indicates above, you need to come up with more specific goals for your performance and figure out which races are most important for you...and you need to do this before you start talking to coaches.
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Old 08-19-12, 02:10 PM   #23
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For $200 a week he should make room. And give you a commission.
Sorry I meant a month
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Old 08-19-12, 02:16 PM   #24
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My best race is the RR. I suck at the crit as I have no get up and go power to speak of. I'm not bad at the TT but nothing special. I guess what I was looking for was some people posting what they get with their coaches and how much it costs so I have a baseline to say ok that def. way to much money or whatever. I was thinking something like my coach meets with me x number of times a week or month, helps me figure out a good diet, and training program and costs x monthly. That way I would be able to see what the average coach is willing to do and what the average price is for it. Then when I decide exactly what I want I will know ok I want him to meet with him this often and that's a little more than usual so it will probably cost about this much extra. That way I can figure out if I'm asking for to much from them etc. I'll def. look into that book to.
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Old 08-19-12, 02:38 PM   #25
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unless your question regarding nutrition is very general, you should be going to a sport nutritionist rather than a coach.

What i want in a coach are the following:

-Understanding of training methods and philosophy. Icing if a coach has general grasp of exercise physiology
-Experience to be able to spot things such as overtraining
-Ability to help me plan a schedule based on the limited time that i have
-Cognizance and patience needed to help me see the forest
-Willingness to provide feedback to my occasional kvetching
-Shrewd tactician

There are a lot of coaches out there, some of whom only took the USAC coaching license exam and call themselves coaches and give you cookie-cutter plans. Those are not the people you want. Ideally, you'd want someone who has few clients so that you can receive the attention you deserve. You also want to work with someone who has raced bikes and have at least some results. This is necessary because a good coach should be able to advise you on how to approach a race based on your strengths and limitations. A coach whose background is solely in triathlon may be able to help you get physiological results but probably can't help you with race tactics.
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