Should you hire a coach?
Last year I raced the Bike Trans Alp a stage race from Austria to Italy over 7 days, climbing 19,000 metres. I had never raced anything like this before. I had never ridden the distances required on multiple days let alone raced it! Climbing alpine mountains was also a new challenge, but I was excited about pushing my limits and seeing what I was capable of.
One of the key factors in getting me ‘race’ fit was hiring Mark at Velo Coaching. As a cycling coach myself I understood the basic principles of training and the sorts of sessions I should be putting together, to increase my endurance and also my ability to climb economically, however I had no real idea in how to put this together as a training plan that would allow for recovery and the adaptation in my physiology that I needed.
Mark and I worked together to look at my daily commitments like working hours, my own cycling coaching sessions and time to spend with my family. From there we plotted what type of training I could do around this and added in some important recovery time.
Having a plan made it easy for me to focus on a day at a time and not get overwhelmed with the task ahead.
I am a self-motivated person and if I want something I am prepared to make sacrifices to make it happen, having said this, having a coach there to motivate me and analyse my progress was one of the most helpful tools. Every week Mark would look at my training and we would discuss over Training Peaks what was going well and what wasn’t. As a cycling coach myself I didn’t need hand holding through my sessions I just needed the structure to work within.
The Trans Alp bike race came round in July 2016 quicker than ever and as my Dad and I drove to Austria I felt prepared, safe in the knowledge I had put in as much training as I could manage and was as ready as I could be.
It was in the Autumn after returning from the alps I had an email from someone about coaching, they weren’t sure if they were ‘good enough’ to have a coach.
My experience is that having a coach can make a difference to the small things like, for example as I have a lot going on in my work it made the task of planning and analysing my training a weight off my mind, I new Mark was there working that out so all I had to do is put on my kit and go cycling and not put too much thought into the planning stage it was all laid out for me. I think also from a confidence point of view having a coach to say it’s okay if it doesn’t go well every race or you need to work harder on hill climbing.
My thoughts are if you want to get better at something then it takes practise and patients. Getting expert advice whether you’re looking to just feel more confident when you’re out riding with your family or you are aiming for a challenge, anyone can grow as a rider and become better with the guidance of a good cycling coach.
If you would be interested in me helping you, please get in touch.