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Training peaks vs other coaches

Old 11-29-16, 10:04 AM
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TexMac
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Training peaks vs other coaches

Would appreciate your feedback from guys who have hired a coach or training peaks coach.
What was your experience?
What did you like/dislike

Thanks
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Old 11-29-16, 05:45 PM
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I had a triathlon coach last year. We took over a 1/2 hour off my 1/2 IM PR, and my FTP went up 40 watts.


Having a coach was great for:
* Not planning anything, just do the work outs
* Having someone to ask a question
* Having someone else plan your season around your peak events
* Having someone design work outs
* Having someone push you to do workouts you don't like


It was not as great for:
* Having to constantly email my coach my work schedule (variable shifts)
* Having relatively boring bike work outs (compared to TrainerRoad)
* Having to do work outs you feel are a waste of time (40 X 100m @ IM Pace anyone? Ugh)


I gave up the coach this year because I felt my coach didn't have me running enough, and I had some ideas for bike and run focuses I wanted to do during the winter. I would get a coach again, but taking a year off from the monthly fee helped me pay for a new bike.


If you're looking for a purely cycling coach, I would be more inclined to just get a TrainerRoad subscription. They have lots of great plans you for different focuses and different time commitments.


Having said that, depending on your personal situation, a coach can be a great time saver, and a goods source of advice and information. I certainly don't regret the year I was coached, and will probably go back to it at some point (assuming I stick with Triathlon for a while, for pure cycling I'd use Trainer Road).
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Old 11-30-16, 07:02 AM
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I've been using a coach through Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) for about four years. It's been an overall positive experience with few negatives.

Good stuff:

- Training knowledge. My coach has been doing this for about 13 years and has several certifications in addition to her training at CTS. She has a good handle on what, when and how much I need to do to meet my goals.

- Not having to do my own planning. This is probably a common thread among those of us with coaches.

- Flexibility. Life happens, and she takes that in stride instead of insisting that I follow what's scheduled. She re-does the training schedule as necessary.

- Psychological support. Once I establish my goals, she doesn't second-guess them and designs my training to support them, as well as explains the reasons the workouts support my goals. She is supportive when we have our weekly phone call.

Negatives: I have to pay for this. It's about the same as my cell phone data plan. I use the least expensive plan they offer and feel that it's a good value.
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Old 11-30-16, 08:25 PM
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I am coming up on my two year anniversary with my coach. It is 100% great, suits me to a T. My coach has zero official qualifications, no certifications, just a lot of racing experience in multiple disciplines. He's a smart guy though who puts a lot of thought & effort into being a great coach, you really couldn't ask for anything more.

I think the biggest pro in my mind is that when you know you have a great coach, you don't second guess anything. You might have a bad workout or a bad race, but you don't second guess your entire training plan. I also like everything being organized & logical, it's nice to feel like you're maximizing your time. And when you race and train hard, or even just going about living life, eventually at some point things go awry. The personal support of a coach can be really a positive stabilizing force during those times as well. Plus tons of helpful non-training advice- equipment, things to try, races to target, etc.

I see no downside except for the monthly expense. But to me it's a great value, totally worth it.
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Old 12-01-16, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by cvskates View Post
I had a triathlon coach last year. We took over a 1/2 hour off my 1/2 IM PR, and my FTP went up 40 watts.


Having a coach was great for:
* Not planning anything, just do the work outs
* Having someone to ask a question
* Having someone else plan your season around your peak events
* Having someone design work outs
* Having someone push you to do workouts you don't like


It was not as great for:
* Having to constantly email my coach my work schedule (variable shifts)
* Having relatively boring bike work outs (compared to TrainerRoad)
* Having to do work outs you feel are a waste of time (40 X 100m @ IM Pace anyone? Ugh)


I gave up the coach this year because I felt my coach didn't have me running enough, and I had some ideas for bike and run focuses I wanted to do during the winter. I would get a coach again, but taking a year off from the monthly fee helped me pay for a new bike.


If you're looking for a purely cycling coach, I would be more inclined to just get a TrainerRoad subscription. They have lots of great plans you for different focuses and different time commitments.


Having said that, depending on your personal situation, a coach can be a great time saver, and a goods source of advice and information. I certainly don't regret the year I was coached, and will probably go back to it at some point (assuming I stick with Triathlon for a while, for pure cycling I'd use Trainer Road).
Thanks for your feedback.
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Old 12-01-16, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
I am coming up on my two year anniversary with my coach. It is 100% great, suits me to a T. My coach has zero official qualifications, no certifications, just a lot of racing experience in multiple disciplines. He's a smart guy though who puts a lot of thought & effort into being a great coach, you really couldn't ask for anything more.

I think the biggest pro in my mind is that when you know you have a great coach, you don't second guess anything. You might have a bad workout or a bad race, but you don't second guess your entire training plan. I also like everything being organized & logical, it's nice to feel like you're maximizing your time. And when you race and train hard, or even just going about living life, eventually at some point things go awry. The personal support of a coach can be really a positive stabilizing force during those times as well. Plus tons of helpful non-training advice- equipment, things to try, races to target, etc.

I see no downside except for the monthly expense. But to me it's a great value, totally worth it.
Great insight. As someone pointed out if you have someone sent you a program on weekly basis, that's a "trainer" not a coach.
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Old 12-01-16, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by TexMac View Post
Great insight. As someone pointed out if you have someone sent you a program on weekly basis, that's a "trainer" not a coach.

I think a huge key for me is the feeling that I never have to second-guess anything. A bad day is just a bad day, it doesn't call into question everything you are doing training-wise. I think the drawback to a canned training plan or even a minimally-interactive/bad coach is that you can be left wondering if a crappy day means you should be doing something different in your training. Prior to my current coach, I had a really bad coach. He had pretty impressive qualifications- a graduate degree, high-level certification from USAC- and I was paying for a premium coaching package which included unlimited contact. But basically what he was providing was a canned training plan, I had the same workouts that he gave any "newish cyclist". He set my schedule a month at a time, no assessment/modification based on how things were going. I came to realize eventually that he didn't even really look at my data, beyond verifying that I had done the workouts. He calculated my FTP wrong. My data software was set up so that it did not account for the 18 months of endurance riding I'd done before starting with him. Basically, he inspired zero confidence and his coaching was essentially worthless, I was constantly wondering if what he was doing made any sense.


World of difference with good coach. Everything makes sense for where I am right now this week. I cannot tell you how huge a luxury it is to just wake up in the morning and do whatever is on my schedule and never have to give it another thought. You have to have patience for sure, its a process. But having a coach can be one way to maximize enjoyment of it all, if you have some goals you'd like to reach.
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Old 12-01-16, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
I think a huge key for me is the feeling that I never have to second-guess anything. A bad day is just a bad day, it doesn't call into question everything you are doing training-wise. I think the drawback to a canned training plan or even a minimally-interactive/bad coach is that you can be left wondering if a crappy day means you should be doing something different in your training. Prior to my current coach, I had a really bad coach. He had pretty impressive qualifications- a graduate degree, high-level certification from USAC- and I was paying for a premium coaching package which included unlimited contact. But basically what he was providing was a canned training plan, I had the same workouts that he gave any "newish cyclist". He set my schedule a month at a time, no assessment/modification based on how things were going. I came to realize eventually that he didn't even really look at my data, beyond verifying that I had done the workouts. He calculated my FTP wrong. My data software was set up so that it did not account for the 18 months of endurance riding I'd done before starting with him. Basically, he inspired zero confidence and his coaching was essentially worthless, I was constantly wondering if what he was doing made any sense.


World of difference with good coach. Everything makes sense for where I am right now this week. I cannot tell you how huge a luxury it is to just wake up in the morning and do whatever is on my schedule and never have to give it another thought. You have to have patience for sure, its a process. But having a coach can be one way to maximize enjoyment of it all, if you have some goals you'd like to reach.
That's good and lucky you!
I've had 2 coaches. One got me to race in crits, 2nd got me to race road. I'm thinking of going fast cat coaching since i'm disciplined enough to follow a workout and don't need micro managing (commuting)
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Old 12-03-16, 07:53 AM
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My first five years were with a coach that wasn't local, but I did get to see a couple of times a year. Once I felt I had the hang of training and what did and did not work for me, I went my own way. But as far as bang for the buck improvement, I think a coach is worth so much more than the latest equipment upgrade. I'd even go so far as to promote a coach over a power meter (though so many request a pm nowadays) if I were just starting out because there's so much you can learn so much faster from someone who knows what's up.

I think there's a lot of benefit to having a coach not tied to a massive organization like Training Peaks or CTS. We have a number of high level (Cat 1/2s) local coaches who are not only very methodical with their plans, but adamantly seek out riding with their clients and meeting up at races to go over tactics and and race breakdowns and such. They also charge far less than the big companies do and with a lot more personal interaction.

I feel like that type of exposure and insight from higher level racers can be a huge boon to the addition of structured training.

If that's avaiable, I would certainly go local rather than big business for coaching needs.
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Old 12-20-16, 03:32 PM
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The biggest draw back is not seeing the coach regularly. Training peaks does an amazing job with their coaches as well as Carmichael, but being in Texas those coaching programs are a ways away from you. I would recommend looking into USA Cycling or USA Triathlon, whichever you are a member, and using their find a coach tab. This way you can see the coaches that are near you and usually it will tell you how long they have been a coach. I feel it is much better to meet even if it is once a month to get to discuss how everything is going. Good luck with the search!
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