As most of you already know, I am a self-coached athlete. This has been my choice since I started this sport in 2006. I've had a pretty interesting progression that looked something like this:
2006 Season: New to the sport, jumped in with my training buddies on whatever they were doing
2007 Season: Recovering from being hit by a car and breaking my leg. Mostly rehab.
2008: Let's do an Ironman! Brilliant! Used a book by Matt Fitzgerald with training plans.
2009 Season: Totally self-coached, did whatever I wanted. Gains made. Got faster. I attribute most of this to recovering from injuries from my accident
2010 Season: Jason halfway coaches me. I adopt his training principles. Even more gains are made, and I PR in every distance race I competed in.
2011 Season: Jason doesn't really have the time/energy to coach me. With no races or events longer than an Olympic triathlon I lack the real motivation for triathlon training. Spent a while recovering from a ruptured bursa sac. Performances declined for my repeat races from last season. Felt like I was just going through the motions. No speedwork completed in anything other than biking.
So there you have it. My career in a nutshell. What everything boils down to is this: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING! Yes, I can totally train/coach myself for shorter distance races. But a 420 mile ride? I've never even MET someone that has ridden that far, let alone know how to train for it. A double Ironman in February? Eh, that's a whole other story. So.......I think I NEED a coach. BUT......I don't really want one. Here is why:
I have always thought that this sport is "for fun" I don't win money. I pay money to do this. My approach to training is actually very laid back( contrary to popular belief). Yes, I train a lot. But it's super laid back. I change my plans all the time. I do what I want, when I want. This makes training fun for me and I ALWAYS want to workout.
BUT.....I, like most athletes that I know, tend to spend unequal amounts of time dedicated to the 3 disciplines. No doubt, cycling is my one and only real gift in this sport. Because I am good at it and love it, I will choose that over anything else. Sadly, swimming and running take a backseat. Actually running has taken more than a backseat. It's been boxed up and in the trunk. My "long" run career is so pathetic that I can actually count every long run I have ever done. 1 18 miler before my 2 IM's, 3-4 15 milers, 1 50k race, 25 miles pacing Jason at Umstead, and about 25-30 walk/run miles at Key West. That. Is. It. Told you I don't run!
My deepest darkest triathlon secret when it comes to why I haven't hired a coach? I don't trust 'em. I have no idea why. In my mind many coaches have one way that works for them, and a majority of their athletes and they want you to train that way. Regardless of whether it works for you. I call it "cookie cutter coaching" and it really bothers me. That and I don't like being told what to do. And if I don't trust you or respect you then I am definitely NOT doing what you say. (The irony of this is that I will listen to a plan in a book written by someone who doesn't know I exist)
I know that the way I do things isn't the best way. It's the way that creates the most fun, not the most speed. I have a degree in Exercise Science and Kinesology for pete's sake and I STILL do things my way. Plain and simple......I am stubborn. So stubborn that it has been detrimental to my athletic endeavors.
I trust Jason. And I trust Shanks. Both are logical and level-headed. They will have disagreements with you without telling you that you are wrong. They understand that there is no such thing as a wrong opinion, and if given factual data, I do believe that they will both change their minds. Shanks has kinda been my advisor of sorts. I send him an occasional text asking if something is a bad idea or not. Sometimes I listen and sometimes I don't. But I respect both of their opinions immensely. In a perfect world, there would be a hybrid of Jason and Shanks. They would have Jason's tough love attitude and "I-know-when-you-are-full-of-shit" detection system and Shanks ability to write plans and periodize.
I have looked and looked for a coach. Ok, I made like 2 phone calls and sent 3 e-mails. Jason has been somewhat quiet about the whole thing (he personally thinks it's a waste of $) I have come up with reasons why I need a coach:
-I need to run more, and I need someone to MAKE this happen
-I am tired of getting to the taper period before a big race and wondering whether or not I have done enough
-I need to focus my energy and efforts on the actual TRAINING itself.
-I want to reach my full potential, and I really do believe it's much greater than what my results have shown thus far
Things my Coach HAS to be:
-Open-minded and understanding
-Firm without being bossy
-Allow me to do my core workouts three times a week and lift weights twice a week. I can get a doctor's prescription if I need to. I have to lift weights. Seriously.
-Creative, funny, and NOT sensitive
Who's up for the challenge?