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Coaching Question

Old 07-24-09, 05:22 PM
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ridethecliche
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Coaching Question

When and how do you know if a coach is or is not right for you?
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Old 07-24-09, 05:56 PM
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You know your coach is not right for you if you don't have a coach and you suck.
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Old 07-24-09, 06:07 PM
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Interestinq question. I was wondering the same thing recently. I started with a coach back in Feb. We did some testing to find my my FTP, after buying a PT. He then wrote me a program for interval training(which was my main purpose of hiring him). I was riding 5 days a wk at the time, and did intervals 2 of those days, as well as my weekend 'training ride'. After 8 weeks of this he had me go to intervals 3 days in a row, threshold, v02, anaerobic, in that order...this was quite difficult! I ended up going on vacation and got a cold when i returned home, so i was off the bike for a little over 2 weeks. Needless to say i lost some fitness so i decided to leave the intervals and just go back to riding 'base' which i did for about 3 weeks. Looking back, i realized just how fatigued i was before i went on vacation. And now i feel better than i ever did on the bike! So im not sure what im going to do about the coaching... I'll probably be consulting my coach here and there. And im in the process of reading a few books on training to try and formulate my own plan. Stay tuned.

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Old 07-24-09, 06:11 PM
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The idea of training is to weaken yourself in hopes you can repeak. You should be weak.
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Old 07-24-09, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by hammy56 View Post
Interestinq question. I was wondering the same thing recently. I started with a coach back in Feb. We did some testing to find my my FTP, after buying a PT. He then wrote me a program for interval training(which was my main purpose of hiring him). I was riding 5 days a wk at the time, and did intervals 2 of those days, as well as my weekend 'training ride'. After 8 weeks of this he had me go to intervals 3 days in a row, threshold, v02, anaerobic, in that order...this was quite difficult! I ended up going on vacation and got a cold when i returned home, so i was off the bike for a little over 2 weeks. Needless to say i lost some fitness so i decided to leave the intervals and just go back to riding 'base' which i did for about 3 weeks. Looking back, i realized just how fatigued i was before i went on vacation. And now i feel better than i ever did on the bike! So im not sure what im going to do about the coaching... I'll probably be consulting my coach here and there. And im in the process of reading a few books on training to try and formulate my own plan. Stay tuned.

This is valuable feedback for a coach to have. You should tell him this as he may have been assuming you had more of a base then you implied. Coaching isn't a science, it's an art. The longer you have a coach, in general, the better he/she is going to get to know you and the better training plan they can suggest.
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Old 07-24-09, 07:07 PM
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You improve. You tell him things and he pays attention. He explains things to you. When you write the check, you're OK with it.

That's been my take.

Last edited by Racer Ex; 07-24-09 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 07-24-09, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
You improve. You tell him things and he pays attention. He explains things to you. When you right the check, you're OK with it.

That's been my take.
How long, in your experience, has it taken your coach to fine tune your workouts so that you feel semi not like ass the night before a race.
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Old 07-24-09, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by dmb2786 View Post
You know your coach is not right for you if you don't have a coach and you suck.
That's my coach !
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Old 07-24-09, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
How long, in your experience, has it taken your coach to fine tune your workouts so that you feel semi not like ass the night before a race.
That's pretty fluid. First thing is what priority the race is if you're doing A/B/C races. If it's a "C" race coach might use it to do the final bustup.

If it's an "A" or "B" race he/she should have this nailed down within a couple of tries. You should feel at least rested.

Thing is, as you get stronger and your workouts get more difficult/longer, you might run into more fatigue than planned.

But if you're going into targeted races feeling like poo all the time either you're not letting him know how tired you are, or he's not listening, and you need to fix that.
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Old 07-25-09, 05:53 PM
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I'm a coach and I think that the most common issue is communication. If your coach doesn't learn how to listen to what you said, and what you didn't, you have a problem that you will never be able to overcome. After that, you have to wonder if this coaching style is working for you. I have a collaborative approach that has not worked very well with some who wanted to be led on a tight leash. These are often people who played organized sports in high school under controlling coaches.

Also, some coaches are better at some parts than others. Candidly, I'm more knowledgeable on topics like endurance, stretching, injury avoidance and the mechanics of pedaling. I'm less wise in the ways of bike fit and lifting. I'm working on my weak points, but I believe a good coach has to be honest about their shortcomings and, if necessary, outsource to cover them.

Finally, I think that there are a few things that should be "non-starters" with a coach. You should not use a coach that:
1) Races in your category or coaches other riders you compete with
2) Only communicates with you via phone, email, etc. You can't replace periodic face to face meetings.
3) Is only interested in your training. Good coaches should know generally what you eat, what the status of your sleep is and what kind of psychological stress your dealing with on and off the bike.
4) Has no conflicts of interest. I have heard amazing stories about coaches that are sleeping with their athletes, taking money for product endorsements, etc.
5) Is stuck in one way of thinking. It's important for a coach to have an open mind to new training techniques but also guarded against the new and useless.
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Old 07-25-09, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ri_us View Post
2) Only communicates with you via phone, email, etc. You can't replace periodic face to face meetings.
I'd agree with everything but this. Haven't found it to be an issue with my guy.
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Old 07-25-09, 06:51 PM
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I'd disagree with 1) as well. A) If you race 1/2 your coach will hopefully already be there and if you're coach is able to meet face to face with you (and presumably other clients) he's going to be local and if he's a good coach, have more than you as a client.

3-5 are good ideas, though cliche from everything you say, it sounds like there is no real communication of what's working and what's not, I know when I started with working with my coach (who is also a new englander if you're interested) we talked for a couple of hours over my past workout and physiological tendencies, and I'm pretty consistent with telling him as much as possible about what works and what doesn't. You need to be transparent and humble.
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Old 07-25-09, 11:17 PM
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I've met with my coach a few times, and I talk to him via phone and email.

I also bump into him at races in the area and stop by his office every now and then.

I'm not sure what to really expect of this, really.

Maybe I was just a little sick or tired for the last 2 weeks, but all my workouts feel exhausting, and I felt completely drained at the end of a workday even before I started working out.

Since the initial month that I worked with my coach, I haven't felt as good at a race since then. That too, I felt worse and worse then, but I'm not sure if that was a function of a peak ending or what...

I'm so new to this, that I'm not sure what's working and what's not. I just know that I sometimes miss being able to go do something else but ride, or go hit some hills if I feel good, or go do a group ride every week.
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Old 07-26-09, 03:16 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post

I'm so new to this, that I'm not sure what's working and what's not.
I'm positive that in the future this trend will reverse itself in american cycling. At your level if you open any decent cycling training book, stick to a program that has a reasonable amount of hours for your fitness level, and make sure you (the most important part) get enough rest you will improve. Get a coach when that stops working. I'm staggered at the amount of money pay for that stuff.
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Old 07-26-09, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
and make sure you (the most important part) get enough rest you will improve.
Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
but all my workouts feel exhausting, and I felt completely drained at the end of a workday even before I started working out.
Gary's dead on about rest, and it's the most overlooked part of most people's training. I know too many people who believe the solution to everything is to train harder. It's actually one of thing best reasons to get a coach sometimes; forced recovery periods. And he should be able to work the group rides into your sched if you want to do one or two a week.

If you're already in a hole fatigue-wise before you start and can't complete the workout, or do so at reduced wattage (one of the huge benefits of a power meter) you're just digging a deeper hole.

And if you're coming off a peak, hard training isn't the right strategy. I'm fighting this right now (inadequete rest after a peak/recovery cycle).

Does he have a rest/recovery week scheduled soon? Get on the phone, ask him about this, tell him you're toasted. If you still feel like monkey butt after a rest week, adjustments need to be made. If he tells you you don't need rest, I'd shop for a new coach.

And BTW, there's only 3-4 guys I know that I can actually do a recovery ride with.
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Old 07-26-09, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Gary's dead on about rest, and it's the most overlooked part of most people's training. I know too many people who believe the solution to everything is to train harder. It's actually one of thing best reasons to get a coach sometimes; forced recovery periods. And he should be able to work the group rides into your sched if you want to do one or two a week.

If you're already in a hole fatigue-wise before you start and can't complete the workout, or do so at reduced wattage (one of the huge benefits of a power meter) you're just digging a deeper hole.

And if you're coming off a peak, hard training isn't the right strategy. I'm fighting this right now (inadequete rest after a peak/recovery cycle).

Does he have a rest/recovery week scheduled soon? Get on the phone, ask him about this, tell him you're toasted. If you still feel like monkey butt after a rest week, adjustments need to be made. If he tells you you don't need rest, I'd shop for a new coach.

And BTW, there's only 3-4 guys I know that I can actually do a recovery ride with.
This is very well put. When HR Monitors first came into common use the biggest revelation for many of us was how much we needed to back off during a recovery ride.

Getting tuned into how to properly cycle your training is the biggest challenge both you and your coach face. Get it right and you can have a very long season, and train effectively for years. That being said it can take a season or two and some trial and error to finally get it. I would be concerned if my coach was not paying attention to this, or was very ridgid about Work/Rest cycles.
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Old 07-26-09, 09:40 AM
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RX, I had a feeling that I should have been doing longer rides for a week or two after the peak died, but he had me do a 'recovery week' which was 1 week of lower volume but the same intensity which seems normal.

At the same time, I was traveling around that time and got a little sick (possibly) 2 weeks after that time. I'm not sure if I was sick or just so over worked that I couldn't do my workouts. I had a little fever, but no cough or cold or anything. Weird.

As for Gary, I totally agree with what you're saying. Just from the couple of months I've done this now, I can see what's starting to work with my body and what's not.

Also, a few of the guys on the 1/2 squad of my team have taken a little interest in me. I think I want to ride with and learn from them as much as possible over the next few weeks. It'd be too hard to co-ordinate that with a coach, so I think I'm going to see how it goes without it.
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Old 07-26-09, 03:58 PM
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So you think your coach should have you figured out and firing on all cylinders in a couple of months? You are on weekly or monthly contact?
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Old 07-26-09, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 92degrees View Post
So you think your coach should have you figured out and firing on all cylinders in a couple of months? You are on weekly or monthly contact?
Right now, I'm debating whether it's

A) better to be trained by a good coach who is going to figure out how I work soon enough

OR

B) better to work with the CAT 1/2's on my team who seem to want to take me in under their wing and work with me.

My coach gives me a weekly schedule with everything. I give him feedback during the week and after the week. We talk on the phone, sometimes in person, and do okay together.

There's no way I'm going to get the personalized attention I would get working with some of the older guys on the team who know a thing or two.

I'd also be spending nothing on coaching with option B, and I'd be getting more personalized attention.
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Old 07-26-09, 10:03 PM
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As someone who has "taken under wing" a number of riders, I can honestly say that although I feel like I do help them a lot, I'm not the same as a coach. I listen to them and recommend the next step, but I don't plan the next 10 steps down the road like a coach would. I can explain a lot, answer a lot of questions, but they aren't getting a plan from me. The plan they create themselves, and then I'll add my own input.

You get what you pay for, basically. Your teammates might know you better than your coach does right now, but even those with the best intentions are not going to help you plan like a coach will.
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Old 07-26-09, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ZeCanon View Post
As someone who has "taken under wing" a number of riders, I can honestly say that although I feel like I do help them a lot, I'm not the same as a coach. I listen to them and recommend the next step, but I don't plan the next 10 steps down the road like a coach would. I can explain a lot, answer a lot of questions, but they aren't getting a plan from me. The plan they create themselves, and then I'll add my own input.

You get what you pay for, basically. Your teammates might know you better than your coach does right now, but even those with the best intentions are not going to help you plan like a coach will.
From what I've been told, one of the two guys who talked to me has been 'coaching' a local racer for a while. The racer is on my coach's team and would probably pay a pittance for his coaching.

I'll know more about everything after tomorrow, but I'm actually hoping to do some stuff less structured over the fall.

It has been absolutely BRUTAL this summer to see my friends go out and play a hard game of frisbee or go mountain biking, and just not being able to join them because I had a specific workout set out for me.

I'm not sure my coach plans 10 steps down the road either. I just get weekly schedules from him.
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Old 07-26-09, 10:56 PM
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this doesnt sound much like a coaching problem. this sounds more like you can't decide if you want to commit to cycling full-time.
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Old 07-26-09, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by pinky View Post
this doesnt sound much like a coaching problem. this sounds more like you can't decide if you want to commit to cycling full-time.
Nah, sorry. That was just a random reflection. I'd like to be able to do that, but that's what late fall and early spring are for.
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Old 07-26-09, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by pinky View Post
this doesnt sound much like a coaching problem. this sounds more like you can't decide if you want to commit to cycling full-time.
Based on myriad posts before this, that would be my conclusion as well.
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Old 07-27-09, 06:35 AM
  #25  
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In all honesty, I didn't mean this question to be related to me.

I know sometimes things don't work out particularly well between a coach and athlete, and I'm not at a point where I know if it's right or not.

Since people on this forum have more experience than me, I was hoping to get some feedback regarding your interactions with your coach and how something 'clicked' and revealed that it was working and it would work out.


It was a general query. That's about it!

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