Sunday, May 29, 2016

Do you need a coach?

Do you need a coach?  

You might expect that the title of this month's episode is a rhetorical question.  You might, assume that it is simply the prelude to a panel of coaches.  Hopefully not, but you may have jumped to the conclusion that the question challenges the value of the profession.  I assure you, that is not the case.

Rather the question "do I need a coach?" is something that I ask myself frequently.  Actually, I don't really ask the question in my head in the same way I express it in writing here.

The questions in my head sounds more like:

"why can't I push to zone 5 this morning?", or

"yesterday was a pretty hard day, this plan is written for the average person, I'll bet it's okay to take it easy today...I think...wish I knew.", or

"oh great, their closing transition - I hope I'm trained and ready for this I?" or,

"am I taking in enough calories for...?" and it goes on, right?

These questions are personal to me.  They are my personal needs, which are derived by a goal that has been set to achieve a result.  That goal could be to lose 40 pounds, lead a healthier lifestyle, or finish an Ironman.

I have my questions and you will have yours.  As you train of the next few weeks, pay attention to the voice in your head and the questions being presented.  As you are doing that introspection, listen to the interviews from experts from different perspectives.  There is no agenda other than to provide you with a rich layering of interviews, discussing the fundamental of triathlon training, development, and racing.  From there, we will talk about the many roles triathlon coaches fill in helping athletes achieve their goals safely. 

The podcast is my way of sharing the lessons I've learned in triathlon with others.  When I lived in my first college apartment, I learned the lesson don't fry bacon naked.  Until today, I have not had an opportunity to share that with anyone.  Of course, the lessons of triathlon rarely give you love handles and skin welts.  No, these are lessons that take the shape of being injured, sick, unmotivated, unimaginative, plateauing performance, DNFs, IV's, and so forth.  Actually, the lessons of triathlon can sometimes be painful.

The Merriam-Webster simple definition of coach is a person who teaches and trains an athlete or performer. Just how hard can it be?  There are plenty of training plans online.  In fact, the information resources available to the self-coached athlete are nearly infinite.  I don't need to tell you that there are plenty of books, websites, forums, specialty services, physiology testing, and let's not forget podcasts!.  

The good news is there is a ton of information out there.  The other good news is that you have tons of time on your hands to research it, right?  No?  Well, assuming you do have a lot of time on your hands,and you can research everything there is to know about nutrition (eg, strength training, endurance training, speed/intensity training, recovery, race strategies, form, technique, etc.), there is more to the role of a coach than technical expertise.   

The roles of a triathlon coach are numerous.  The best collection I've found is from coach Brian Mac's website.  The roles he lists include: Advisor, Assessor, Counselor, Demonstrator, Friend, Facilitator, Fact-finder, Fountain of knowledge, Instructor, Mentor, Motivator, Organizer, Planner, Role Model, and Supporter.  

In this month's theme on coaching, I share my experience as a coached and self-coached athlete and work with my hosts to help you hear the hot topics are for making that decision. My goal at Mile High Tri is to bring you the resources that empower you to achieve your fitness and triathlon goals, and these guests are here for you.

  • Will Murray, mental skills coach at D3 Multisport and co-author of "The Four Pillars of Triathlon"
  • Jim Galanes is a three time Olympian competing in cross country skiing events in each 1976 (Innsbruck), 1980 (Lake Placid), and 1984 (Sarajevo) Olympics.
  • Nicole Odell talks about her role a coach and what it's like coaching coaches. 
  • Carole Sharpless Pro and now coach, Carole talks about the role of coaches in her career and how she applies that in her coaching today.