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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:48 pm 
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Location: Bremerton, WA
Hey everybody. I am currently considering hiring a coach in order to "step up my game" a bit. I am a Cat 2, which means I race in the P-1-2 fields, which means I may as well be a cat 1, and I regularly line up with pros. These races are pretty hard.

My question is whether my money would be well spent on a coach. The reason I ask is because, being quite the nerd, I have already looked into a lot of training philosophy, strategies, routines, etc. What would a coach be able to bring to the table that I can't already do myself? For reference, the cost is $200/month, which could add up to equal some serious weight weenie gear over a few months.

I'm thinking I'll try it out for a few months and see if I notice any improvements over self-coaching and re-evaluate. The minimum commitment is 3 months.

Edit: I should probably add that currently I am not training with power, but I have a PM on its way (eventually) as I plan on being a guinea pig for the new 4iiii power meter. Right now the only metric I use for training is HR.

Opinions? Advice? :noidea:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:06 pm 
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So as a Cat2 I will assume you're on a team. What resources do they have? Usually someone in a decent team has an aptitude for sharing knowledge/coaching others and as a teammate they really want you to be good for the team and best of all, unless you're really high maintenance it's free of charge. As a nerd I'd save my money and just read more. The info is out there...

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:04 pm 
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Nerd and a power meter = gold :thumbup:

One exception is if you need another opinion on anything its good to bounce ideas of an experienced coach.

For example: like the one time I was not recovering well and a coach told me to check my B12 (or was it get more protein? - I can't remember but a coach sure would!) and sure enough started recovering like a champ.

Stuff like that.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:50 pm 
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Always wondered how many hours a month these coaches are repeatedly spending on customers paying $200 for distance coaching 2 emails and a phone call!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:10 am 
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Quote:
My question is whether my money would be well spent on a coach. The reason I ask is because, being quite the nerd, I have already looked into a lot of training philosophy, strategies, routines, etc. What would a coach be able to bring to the table that I can't already do myself? For reference, the cost is $200/month, which could add up to equal some serious weight weenie gear over a few months.

I'm thinking I'll try it out for a few months and see if I notice any improvements over self-coaching and re-evaluate. The minimum commitment is 3 months.


I was in a similar boat about a year ago!

I was previously coached though LW Coaching, and also TIS some years ago so had a fair understanding of training philosophy, strategies, routines, etc… At the time I was following a plan set out by myself in the traditional periodization model, Base, Build, Taper, Race w/ decent volume. On employing my coach he effectively flipped the plan on its head and changed my (rather out dated) way of doing things. There was nothing wrong with what I was doing, he just identified ways it could be done better. Subsequently performance improved for months and has done so for almost a year now despite reducing my training volume by about 50% since March (due to a new baby).

At the time I employed my coach he would review and update my plan weekly, respond to emails back and forwards about twice weekly (i.e. two entirely different conversations per week), review and comment on Garmin files, offer advice on nutrition, racing, etc… Now I am at a point where I set my own goals, prep my own training plan and the Coach reviews the plan, offers up suggestions such as changing various sessions, etc… (at a very reduced rate). He also offers an alternate view point which I find handy as occasionally I box myself into doing too much of the same thing, or not thinking outside the box. I also know he is there if I run into trouble, or hit a bit of a plateau.

A bulk of my coaching is done online, via email, Facebook, phone, etc.. as we live in different cities, however when we are in each other’s town we make sure we catch up for a ride, or a coffee.

Is there value in it, I would say yes but only because I have quite flexible arrangements with my coach – if I were paying $200 per month then personally I couldn’t see the value in its current form.

That said, the 3 month commitment might be enough of a change to get over a plateau or yield impressive gains simply just though change.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:18 pm 
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First off if you are a nerd you will find a lot of room for improvement once you add the power meter to the equation.

I was in the exact same boat as you a year ago. I was a cat 2 (still am...but not for long), very involved in my own training but I felt like I needed a bit more knowledge. I got a coach for a full year, picked his brain everyday, added his knowledge and some workouts to my bag of tricks and then moved on. My results improved with coaching but it wasn't due to better fitness. He was a great resource for race strategy and he had lots of knowledge of the local courses and racers which helped.

If you are involved with a coach you can gain quite a bit even if you feel you already know your SH*T. If you already bring a lot of knowledge to the table as an athlete you can probably go with a cheaper coach. Conversely you can find a group of like minded individuals to create a self coaching group, just bouncing ideas off each other constantly. I have also found great success with this and IT'S FREE, you just need some very nerdy friends.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:24 pm 
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Thanks for the input guys. On un unrelated note, anybody using the Fitness and Freshness feature in Strava? They just opened it up to heartrate, and I was kinda curious as to how the heartrate results compare to the power results. I'm guessing using both would yield the best results.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:59 pm 
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As well as racing at a high level, I have been coaching many riders who also perform well Internationally. I was self coached for a long time (I'm a huge numbers, physiology and nutrition geek) and did well from it. Still, 2 years ago I got in contact with Max Testa Coaching and was then coached by him (and one of his sub-coaches). Despite having read everything there is out there and having a good understanding of the underlying mechanisms, I made great performance improvements and got a lot of ideas about how to do things differently that not only made me a better rider, but also a better coach.

It is great to have an outside voice saying when to back off and when to dig in and changing things up. Personally (despite it being much more than the $200/m) it was a much much more economical spend then anything I could have done to my bike. Worst case - take on the coach for a few months, get some new insights and if you feel you can step back into coaching yourself again, do so then. You'll learn most in the first 6 months.

In the coaching thing, I was charging a little less than $200/m but once I started back into working part time again (I have a computer science background) - it just didn't make economical sense for me to coach. What I charged per hour per athlete simply wasn't worth while from a monetary point of view (I was no cookie cutter coach) - having said that, I do miss the constant feedback and seeing the improvements my riders made (although I do work with a couple of riders still).

One other thing - as I'm guessing you know, now is the time to get a coach, not in March :)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:58 pm 
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I'm in the exact same boat as you are. Been doing it on my own for the last couple years and seeing improvements, but wondering if having the second set of eyes and insight will help me improve more. The monthly dollars is what's holding me back, but after seeing some other peoples responses it seems like it has been a great investment if you find the right person.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:33 pm 
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ShutUpLegs4 wrote:
a great investment if you find the right person.


Exactly - for me it was important that I had 100% faith in my coach and completely trusted him/her (of course, I would still ask a lot of 'why' - I wanted to understand). Other folks had talked to me before about coaching me but I never got the right feeling. Kinda like finding a girlfriend :)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:03 am 
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If you have a power meter and don't need the feedback/interaction with a coach, take a look at VeloPro (velopro.com). Pretty interesting setup and once you get your goals in and a few other things set up it's good to go.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:24 pm 
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I have hired a very well respected and experienced coach. I will update this thread with results after the minimum 3 month commitment period.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:00 pm 
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Well, I've been working with my coach for a couple weeks now. I have seen my volume increase significantly due to better planning and accountability.

I still haven't received my power meter yet, so I am unable to reliably track gains at this point. I plan on getting one ASAP so I know whether or not my money is being put to good use.

My coach is a strong believer in supplemental strength training. I had my first session yesterday and holy crap is my body dysfunctional and inflexible. My back muscles (which were being neglected in my previous core work) are very sore today from doing dead lifts. I also noticed that my shoulders were extremely weak and inflexible. Shoulder dislocates, overhead squats, and push press/snatch were pretty difficult with very low weight. Turkish getups are straight up awkward.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:16 pm 
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I've thought this same thing too, but the $ per/mo is been holding me back from having a coach. so i've been using Trainingpeaks premium for the past year and half and i think its been working well for me. the only thing i wish i could get more of is some one to ask questions to. I'm curious to see how this pans out for you.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:18 pm 
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Just paid for my first month outside of the commitment period. Compared to my first power test around new years, my FTP has increased by 25 watts (although the recent numbers were hit on a TT bike in a TT, and the previous numbers were on road bike on trainer, so not exactly apples to apples). I've definitely noticed improvement on my freshness at the end of a long/hard ride due to the increase in volume. I have seen an overall upward shift in my power profile, so it seems to be working (and it's only March). Here's a breakdown of number increase since December:

20 min: 270 -> 295
5 min: 338 -> 357
1 min: 464 -> 500
5 sec: 1117 -> 1123 (I haven't really done any full out sprints since Dec. though)

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Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:18 pm 


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