Actually my coach (me, guided by Friel's, and assorted crap I've read in the 33) has done me pretty well so far. Of course, we'll never know how it would've turned out had I been coached the last few years, but since we've heard some "success stories" of people being coached, here's my "success story" when not being coached:
- started racing in late 2009, upgraded to the 3's in June of 2010 after 18 cat 4 races (won a big local crit, placed well in others)
- sidenote: was hit by a car in Dec 2010, fractured some vertebrae, and was off the bike for 4 months leading in to the 2011 season
- won a big local crit in June 2011, and some other crits that season
- in 2012 won more cat 3 crits and a hilly RR
- upgraded out of the 3's with 54 points (after winning lots of crits, and even a hilly RR) in June 2012
While I have no doubt I could've upgraded to the 2's sooner, I'm not really sure I would have wanted to.
And of course as a 2 I'm not a hotshot anymore, but I'm surviving. Scraped up a few points this year but am looking to train harder this offseason in order to do better next year. If that doesn't work, then I'll probably get a coach.
Also, a big caveat here: I'm not saying getting advice is wrong, I love to take (most) advice from those with more racing experience than me. I just want that advice for free. =]
^^ burn him
if you'd take the services for free, it seems to me you are implicitly saying 'coaching is too expensive for my taste'. that's cool; what is "worth it" to one person may not be worth it to another.
for someone figure out where their next meal might come from, $1/month could be too much for good coaching.
this could all be me as i tend to login periodically and read a page or 3 of a thread at once to catch up, but i often find your posts confusing. they often come across as serious (anyone who rides as much as you does take the hobby seriously…you do want to race well/win, you read up on the matter, you hang out here a bunch), but when someone posts something to that counters what you've written, a subsequent post from you seems to be how you 'weren't really serious.'
i think it has less to do with someone being a devil's advocate (not everyone in this thread, for one example, is advocating coaching) and more to do with the way you do it.
i'd find it confusing/frustrating/irritating if i were trying to engage in a discussion with you, but perhaps that is your goal.
What I definitely wouldn't want is someone to say "these are the rides you'll do for the next few weeks/months" - I need more flexibility than that. So I don't want to pay someone to tell me how to train, then possibly not do it - it's a waste of their time and of my money.
If racing was my job, of course things would be way different!
I've done a lot of hammerfests, long rides and short random BS rides since I started cycling. About the only things that have been truly helpful in improving my fitness/performance consistently has been:
B. power meter
I passed on a nice set of wheels to get a power meter, and passed on quite a few bike shwag upgrades to help pay for a coach.
To me its worth it, to you? maybe not. I don't know what people's training plans are but for the most part looking at Strava I see people doing completely random rides where they hammer almost on a daily basis.
In a way I view cycling like a healthy alternative to grinding levels in world of warcraft. There's no endgame amateur racing. You get faster, you win, you race against faster people. All up until you're racing at nationals and you win your age group there and that's very cool and quite an achievement, but ultimately probably not very life changing.
I ride a bunch and learn my own way, mistakes surely included, but I am happy with my current situation and if you can't be happy with now, when will you be? Achievement is like $$, people always want more and are always just a little bit dissatisfied with what they have.
if an athlete cannot (or is not allowed to) communicate with a coach and if a coach cannot communicate with the athlete, the relationship is worth little. people get sick, have days when they can do more, days when they can do less, y'know…life gets in the way. plans -- good ones -- account for this and can be changed.
an analogy: do you enter your races with a plan? i do, but we all know that our plans need to be modified as the race unfolds. i've heard it said best that race plans are like war plans -- they both go out the window when the first shot is fired.
perhaps some bring a pre-conceived notion about coaching and inflexible plans to the table. i guess i have a preconceived notion about training, too, but perhaps mine is more broad and more about relationships vs. a plan. i'd characterize the latter as impersonal coaching -- and definitely not great coaching.
i know some 'coaches' who have 50+ athletes. they do not spend every waking hour coaching…they basically offer canned plans that do not change. IMO, this is a bad thing.
i'll ask again, if a great coach offered you their services for free, would you do it?
I fall victim to the temptation to point out exemptions to broad blanket statements, though. I recognize that. (e.g. when gsb say's "you must do specific focused training or you'll suck" I felt obligated to point out that I do not suck nor do I do intervals or anything like them.)
But confusing? I don't understand that. pm me or quote anything that is legitimately confusing to you and I'll try to clarify.
The difference is that with cycling I know the people I practice with, I am healthier, I'm married, and I get more sleep and eat less pizza.
But really, I said "this is what I do" and you said to the O.P. "If you do that you will probably be mediocre forever" so I replied.
Then just now I listed that exchange as an error where I replied to a blanket statement where I should have just let it go. I literally listed it as an example of an exchange which should have gone better. What more can I do?
Lol, it's definitely the off season!
I also consider training to be grinding my experience/level. Higher the power, higher the level kind of thing. Probably why I can go out and enjoy day after day/week after week of doing the exact workout my coach planned for me. May seem horrible to some, but I get some sort of cruel satisfaction from knowing I am successfully grinding and eventually it'll show in my watts and/or results. I did the same thing in games, everyone went on quests and stuff, and I was there camping some sort of creature that I knew if I killed a million of, I would actually gain levels faster than the questers. So I sat there, and grinded away.
You're a guy who likes to do things on his own. Productive…perhaps not. Appropriate? Yep. :p