Go Back  Bike Forums > The Racer's Forum > "The 33"-Road Bike Racing
Reload this Page >

Hiring a Coach vs Self developed plan via Friel

Notices
"The 33"-Road Bike Racing We set this forum up for our members to discuss their experiences in either pro or amateur racing, whether they are the big races, or even the small backyard races. Don't forget to update all the members with your own race results.

Hiring a Coach vs Self developed plan via Friel

Old 10-10-12, 07:57 AM
  #1  
In the Pain Cave
Thread Starter
 
thechemist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 1,672
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hiring a Coach vs Self developed plan via Friel

Well, I will be starting my first race season 2013 with a team and can't decide on how to train. I did search and found one thread but the gentlemen had a completely different schedule. I am able to hop on rollers throughout the week for 1-2hrs at a time and I am available for a long ride on the weekend(sometimes sat/sun but mostly just sat).

I am pretty good at researching good plans and have friel's book to get me going with TrainingPeaks. Part of the reason I am not dead set on a coach is I am not sure it is worth the cost given the amount of tires,race costs,gas etc. that I will be going through as well.

I am looking at roughly 10hrs a week if I can. Any thoughts on how I should go about it? I will also be doing team group rides etc. and some hammerfests as the season gets closer.
thechemist is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 08:08 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
ericm979's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Santa Cruz Mountains
Posts: 6,169
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I think a coach is an extravagance for one's first season.
ericm979 is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 08:11 AM
  #3  
These Guys Eat Oreos
 
Creatre's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Superior, CO
Posts: 3,432

Bikes: Yes

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My recommendation is for the first season, try it yourself and see if you are able to pull it off. Research the forums, continuously try different things from the books, and try to learn as much as possible about training. For the first year of racing it's more important to gain the experience of the races itself than building the big engine. Pretty much any structured training you do in addition to racing will get you some gains, depending on your prior training. After the first year you can sit down and decide if you want to get more seriously involved, how your training plans worked out for the year, and whether the price of the coach is worth the amount of training and structure he could give you for the next season.

My experience with a coach is that it is much easier to get solid training in because you have someone you have to report back to. You don't skip workouts and you always do the prescribed. When I was training on my own, it's much easier to make your overall training easier, in addition that some days you will go easy when you should go hard, just because you felt like it. I see it as I'm spending all of this time on the bike and racing, why not spend a small amount per month to make sure I'm getting the most out of my training.
Creatre is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 08:41 AM
  #4  
ride lots be safe
 
Creakyknees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 5,224
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Spend your money on entry fees. A basic training plan, if followed, will get you significant gains. Supplement with as much time with your more experienced teammates as you can. Learn everything you can from them.
Creakyknees is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 09:10 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
topflightpro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,575
Liked 686 Times in 434 Posts
Originally Posted by Creatre
My experience with a coach is that it is much easier to get solid training in because you have someone you have to report back to. You don't skip workouts and you always do the prescribed. When I was training on my own, it's much easier to make your overall training easier, in addition that some days you will go easy when you should go hard, just because you felt like it. I see it as I'm spending all of this time on the bike and racing, why not spend a small amount per month to make sure I'm getting the most out of my training.
This was my experience as well when I first started really training. When I was doing my own training plans, the plan frequently would change depending on how I was feeling. There were a lot more easy days than there should have been. At this point, however, I am much better at setting my own training. (Of course, right now, I am nursing an injured knee and dealing with a cold, so I'm not really doing anything except trying to not get fat.)

Also, OP, I am not sure how to read your initial post: Is this your first season racing? Or is this your first season racing ON A TEAM? Because that discrepancy could change how people respond to your question.
topflightpro is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 09:20 AM
  #6  
Resident Alien
 
Racer Ex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Location, location.
Posts: 13,089
Likes: 0
Liked 10 Times in 6 Posts
Depends on your goals, finances and seriousness.

Good coaching is a better investment than anything other than the race entries themselves. It will keep you from making a lot of mistakes and will make you faster quicker, from both a racing and training aspect, if that's your goal.

Racing is just swimming on bikes. If you're not sure about the water in the first place you can read a book and jump in hoping for the best. If you want to be a really good swimmer you read the book so you understand the concepts of swimming, then you take some lessons.

The opinion of most folks is to jump in and see what happens. Why? Because that's how most people did it. This questionable advice is part of the reason we have the retention rate of Burger King in this sport. People jump in the pool then start asking other people how to swim. A lot of the advice they get is bad (I could ramble on about the stupid things I've heard from "experienced" racers). They drown, or swallow a bunch of water and decide they don't like swimming. Or they dog paddle for years.

I went from chubby old Cat 5 guy to a series champ and Cat 3 in one season. I know I wouldn't have done that without a coach because it took me a while to go from fat old guy to chubby old guy.
Racer Ex is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 09:27 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tariffville, CT
Posts: 15,409

Bikes: Tsunami road bikes, Dolan DF4 track

Liked 183 Times in 104 Posts
Remember that fitness is only part of the equation. If it was even a majority of the equation, at least in flatter races, I would have stopped racing when I started because I'm no athlete - I came into bike racing from a music and strategic game background (chess, Go, and violin). Race experience, tactics, they count for tons and tons and tons. In fact, if you're under 25% body fat (because I am barely under that) and are reasonably fit (like you don't smoke and such), I bet that you could race pretty well in two weeks if you drilled really hard on group riding technique and tactics. You'd be in trouble when things got really fast, okay, but in a Cat 5 or even a Cat 4 flat crit you'd be fine.

Spend some money on spares so you never miss a ride due to a mechanical - I'd get things like cables, at least one dropout, tires, tubes, wheels if possible (with cassette), even a second bike. Learn to do some of that work on the bike - flat fixes, derailleur adjustments, basic safety checks / awareness. Get some versatile clothing (wind vest, LS jersey, knickers, booties, various gloves, etc), a trainer or rollers (latter is better for form, former is better for power), and go ride and have a blast. 10 hours a week is huge, that's Cat 2 or, if not a sprinter, Cat 3 fitness. At 10 hours of riding a week the tactics (when to make moves, when not to, what moves to make) and technique (like drafting etc) make up the difference between actual race category and Cat 3s.

Once you're a 2 then fitness is really significant (and if you can't sprint then as a Cat 3 you'll need to leverage fitness to overcome the lack of top end speed). If you decide road races are your thing, like you always seem to be waiting on the climbs for all your Cat 2 training partners but they think your "sharp attacks" are moderately slow pulls, then you do need to be fit.

Whatever you decide on the coach there's a wealth of information offered up in this forum. Use it, ignore the background noise, and have fun racing.
carpediemracing is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 09:35 AM
  #8  
fuggitivo solitario
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 9,107
Liked 13 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by thechemist
Well, I will be starting my first race season 2013 with a team and can't decide on how to train. I did search and found one thread but the gentlemen had a completely different schedule. I am able to hop on rollers throughout the week for 1-2hrs at a time and I am available for a long ride on the weekend(sometimes sat/sun but mostly just sat).

I am pretty good at researching good plans and have friel's book to get me going with TrainingPeaks. Part of the reason I am not dead set on a coach is I am not sure it is worth the cost given the amount of tires,race costs,gas etc. that I will be going through as well.

I am looking at roughly 10hrs a week if I can. Any thoughts on how I should go about it? I will also be doing team group rides etc. and some hammerfests as the season gets closer.
totally OT, a chemist you say?
echappist is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 09:47 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Ultraslide's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Evansville, IN
Posts: 782

Bikes: 73 Raleigh Supercourse, 99 Specialized Stumpjumer, 08 LeMond Tourmalet

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
A good compromise might be to sign up with Training Peaks Premium and utilize their annual training plan feature as best you can. Along with the assistance and advise of your team mates this should get you through your first season. I'd like to employ a coach but my kids just insist on being fed. Silly children.
Ultraslide is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 09:57 AM
  #10  
These Guys Eat Oreos
 
Creatre's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Superior, CO
Posts: 3,432

Bikes: Yes

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Ultraslide
A good compromise might be to sign up with Training Peaks Premium and utilize their annual training plan feature as best you can. Along with the assistance and advise of your team mates this should get you through your first season. I'd like to employ a coach but my kids just insist on being fed. Silly children.
I wouldn't advise this. If he's going to pay up, he needs the advice and the mentoring of the coach. He can do fairly well on the training plan part of it on his own, and just getting an annual plan or a plan calculator doesn't give you that accountability that a coach will.
Creatre is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 09:59 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Ultraslide's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Evansville, IN
Posts: 782

Bikes: 73 Raleigh Supercourse, 99 Specialized Stumpjumer, 08 LeMond Tourmalet

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Creatre
... and just getting an annual plan or a plan calculator doesn't give you that accountability that a coach will.
I kind of figured it was obvious that if you can afford a coach, then get one.
Ultraslide is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 10:03 AM
  #12  
Resident Alien
 
Racer Ex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Location, location.
Posts: 13,089
Likes: 0
Liked 10 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Creatre
I wouldn't advise this. If he's going to pay up, he needs the advice and the mentoring of the coach. He can do fairly well on the training plan part of it on his own, and just getting an annual plan or a plan calculator doesn't give you that accountability that a coach will.
It also won't teach you how to race your bike, prepare to race your bike, or explain why something worked or didn't.

Depending on who you work with, coaching can be (and should be) a lot more than "here's your workout".
Racer Ex is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 10:04 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
ericm979's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Santa Cruz Mountains
Posts: 6,169
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Racer Ex
I went from chubby old Cat 5 guy to a series champ and Cat 3 in one season. I know I wouldn't have done that without a coach because it took me a while to go from fat old guy to chubby old guy.
You always have good advice but I have to point out that using yourself as an example is like using Michael Phelps as an example (since we're using swimming as a metaphor). You're so naturally gifted that I could easily see you going from 5 to 3 on your own.
ericm979 is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 10:12 AM
  #14  
out walking the earth
 
gsteinb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Lake Placid, NY
Posts: 21,441
Liked 752 Times in 342 Posts
By simply following Friel's plans I went to cat 2 in the 90s, and when I came back about 10 years ago I did the same. I became a pretty good 3 and upgraded to 2. Simply using out of the book plans. I'm pretty dedicated though and don't skip stuff, including a lot of rest. Now I'm coached and it's made the difference in getting me over the next hump. Would it have been better to have been coached all along? Perhaps, though seeing what most coaches charge I recognize that most folks don't have that much money to toss at what's an already expensive hobby.
gsteinb is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 10:18 AM
  #15  
Resident Alien
 
Racer Ex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Location, location.
Posts: 13,089
Likes: 0
Liked 10 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by ericm979
You always have good advice but I have to point out that using yourself as an example is like using Michael Phelps as an example (since we're using swimming as a metaphor). You're so naturally gifted that I could easily see you going from 5 to 3 on your own.
Appreciate the comparison but I'm no genetic freak, plus I'm shorter and better looking than Phelps.

And yes, knowing what I know now I could roll through to Cat 2 from a 5 in a season on my own. But I'll stay with what I wrote because, back then, I would have just as easily cluelessly under or over trained and would have been lacking some of the confidence and tactical nuance that I was able to get from my coach. And I came to cycling with a bunch of prior 2-wheel racing experience at a pro level which was a head start in the first place.
Racer Ex is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 11:20 AM
  #16  
I need speed
 
AzTallRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 5,550

Bikes: Giant Propel, Cervelo P2

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
You can spend a lot of time in races and still not have a clue about what is really going on. It's like watching the proverbial duck in the pond, and not seeing the legs paddling. And good coaching goes beyond training up the power. Is a Friel or TP plan going to teach you how to maximize your speed through a corner? Is it going to teach you how vitally important it is to conserve your power, and how to do that? Will it optimize your position, and give you the power in the specific ranges you need to win the races you are doing? Will that plan look at your data and say "See these spikes, here... and here? These pointless bursts are what made you blow up when the race was on the line." For me, it's a question of how serious you are about excelling in our sport, and how long you want to take to get here. If you want to hit your potential quickly, there is absolutely nothing that will help you more than a good coach.
AzTallRider is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 11:31 AM
  #17  
out walking the earth
 
gsteinb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Lake Placid, NY
Posts: 21,441
Liked 752 Times in 342 Posts
on the other hand there are a lot of bad coaches out there.
gsteinb is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 11:36 AM
  #18  
I need speed
 
AzTallRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 5,550

Bikes: Giant Propel, Cervelo P2

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by gsteinb
on the other hand there are a lot of bad coaches out there.
And to compound that, you need some knowledge/experience to tell them apart.
AzTallRider is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 11:44 AM
  #19  
Resident Alien
 
Racer Ex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Location, location.
Posts: 13,089
Likes: 0
Liked 10 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by AzTallRider
And to compound that, you need some knowledge/experience to tell them apart.
Which is why you need a coaching coach.
Racer Ex is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 12:07 PM
  #20  
**** that
 
mattm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: CALI
Posts: 15,402
Liked 104 Times in 30 Posts
I vote no coach besides the Friel book, at least for now.
__________________
cat 1.

my race videos
mattm is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 12:50 PM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
Posts: 526
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I'm in the same boat as the OP. I've considered going it on my own, but my fear is developing bad habits. I did one race last year (a 45 minute crit) and basically just hung with the pack the entire time. I was never worried about being dropped, but never felt comfortable enough to move up to the front and didn't feel strong enough that I could have pulled away from the field. My goal next year is to do a full race schedule.


So if you were new to racing and looking for a coach, what questions would you be asking him? What services are important that he provide?

Thank you (and hope I'm not stepping on OP toes with my questions).
AMFJ is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 01:29 PM
  #22  
In the Pain Cave
Thread Starter
 
thechemist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 1,672
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks guys! I found the advice very useful and yes this will be my first season racing and yes it will be with a team. I think I will go with the friel book for now. I do see the advantages of a Coach and I will most like choose one after my first season.

I never really looked at racing as too tactical but I guess I am clearly wrong here. Sure you need to sit in and conserve but aside from that I thought it was all physical. It makes sense what all of your are saying now about tactics!
thechemist is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 01:46 PM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
shovelhd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Western MA
Posts: 15,669

Bikes: Yes

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Racer Ex
I'm shorter and better looking than Phelps.
One of these statements is true.
shovelhd is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 02:00 PM
  #24  
starting pistol means war
 
YMCA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 3,150

Bikes: Cervelo R3

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by thechemist
I never really looked at racing as too tactical but I guess I am clearly wrong here.
very
YMCA is offline  
Old 10-10-12, 02:05 PM
  #25  
pan y agua
 
merlinextraligh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Jacksonville
Posts: 31,411

Bikes: Willier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Calfee Dragonfly tandem, Calfee Adventure tandem; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Motebecanne Phantom Cross; Schwinn Paramount Track bike

Liked 826 Times in 427 Posts
I think it comes down to money. You certainly don't need a coach to start racing. However, if you have the money for entry fees, equipment, travel, and a coach, then a good coach can certainly be helpful.
__________________
You could fall off a cliff and die.
You could get lost and die.
You could hit a tree and die.
OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.
merlinextraligh is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.