Triathletes are typically a solitary lot. Self-driven. Self-trained. Self-reliant.
They often like to do things alone. The notion of seeking a coach to add value to their triathlon training can take many out of their comfort zones.
But triathlon is a rigorous, multi-dimensional, multi-disciplined sport, which requires more than the average demands on an athlete. When you add the uniqueness of each athlete, from body composition, to athletic background, to triathlon experience, the best data and an experienced coach who can assist in the physical and mental demands of the sport will give you the best advantage you can ask for.
A coach delivers three key values to your athletic achievement and enjoyment:
1. Securing a triathlon coach reduces subjectivity
The challenge of such a solitary sport is that your view is limited to one perspective – your own.
Whether running a trail, riding a path, or swimming in open water, you may be able to see what’s in front, but what about what’s behind? It’s easy to miss the blind spots.
A coach takes the subjectivity out of the equation.
Jared Milam, professional triathlete and a TriDot coach explains, “Even after acquiring a coach I wanted to do things my way. So I would go for a ride when my coach told me not to. As one can expect, my run workout for that day would suffer. The effect of overtraining would compound and my legs would be too dead for the next day. I wasn’t being patient and I wasn’t looking at the big picture. Time and time again, the more I listen to what my coach has prescribed the better end results I receive.”
2. Securing a triathlon coach increases expertise and experience
Two heads are better than one – especially when there are three sports involved and hundreds of competitors. With so many moving parts, gaining outside expertise in the technical and non-technical aspects of all three disciplines is not only a luxury, it’s a necessity.
Coach Milam adds, “Even if you’ve been racing for as long as your coach, you’ve only seen your training and performance from YOUR perspective. Your coach will/should supply a ‘second opinion’ to your training methods. Ideally, this, combined with experience and expertise in the sport, will enable a coach to outline the mistakes you may have been making, supply additions to training you may have been missing out on, and advance what you’ve been doing right even more so.”
3. Securing a triathlon coach assists in motivation and accountability
Sport at any level is often won or lost on the mental playing field. In endurance athletics, where the limits are pushed to the extreme, motivation and accountability are especially pivotal if one expects to achieve victory. Having a coach in your corner can assist you to push through those mental obstacles in reaching your greatest goals.
A coach is a great source of accountability. Both in training and in racing, knowing you can lean on someone through the bad and the good is incredibly important. A coach is someone you can depend on for top instruction and to motivate you through the times of challenge and distress.
“I’m sure there are a great many triathletes like myself. You know the kind – a person who is always WAY too hard on him or herself. I need a coach who is going to be honest with me, but is also willing to focus on the positives. There’s almost always a silver lining. We often don’t see it in ourselves, but a good coach will.” – Jared Milam
If you’re considering whether or not to take on a triathlon coach, remember the great advantages. All athletes need a secondary point of view, we could all use some expertise and experience that we ourselves might not have, and motivation and accountability are always easier when you’re not alone.
Do you have a coach and have you seen these benefits from him or her? What other benefits does your coach provide? If you’re not coached, what other reasons for consideration would you need?