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2015-10-12 1:43 PM

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Subject: Cost of Coaching
I'm thinking of getting a coach for next year and although I'm sure there's a huge range, I'm wondering if someone can give me an idea of what a "basic" coach costs. Ideally I'd like to find someone to periodically evaluate my workouts and give me some suggestions to help me improve. I've found one in the Dallas area but they're asking for $160/month which seems high to me for 1 email and 1 phone call a week.


2015-10-12 1:51 PM
in reply to: TXTriRook

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
$160 is high? That is probably on the low end, most personal coaches cost between $150-$400 and above. Remember you are paying someone for their time, skills, education, and ability to help you. If you want to pay for just a plan you can find much cheaper options.

What would you like for your basic coach to do outside of what you want.

Season planning?
Help with goal setting?
Teaching you to be self-sufficient on course and in training?
Focus and development on your weakness?
Individual instruction or remote?

Do you want a plan for you, or just a basic plan and have check-ins?

Where do you want to go and how far do you want to take yourself in this sport? That can narrow down your needs and wants dramatically.

IMO communication should NEVER be limited, that is what fosters a great coach-athlete relationship, but every coach has their reason why they do what they do, but that is another topic of discussion for another time.
2015-10-12 1:53 PM
in reply to: TXTriRook

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
you'll find a wide range of pricing and services. it would be good for you to browse the websites of various coaches bouth in your area and outside of it, and talk to friends and see what kinds of things are out there.

1 email & 1 phone call a week limitation does seem kind of restrictive...the phone call I can understand...a weekly phone call is actually on the very very very very high side of even my most needy athletes. For the first month or two fo training, daily emails or texts are very common, and I they naturally fall off in frequency as the athlete gets more comfortable with the plan.

What I don't think is optional is the coach reviewing your training...wehtehr they review it every day or once awek or once a month, they should be reveiwing all of your key workouts and giving you feedback to let you know if it's going well or not.

As far as the cost, it's worht what you are willing to pay for it. In order to determine that you need to consider what you want out of a coaching relationship...one on ones? an hour phone call or skype a week? ability to text your coach at any time? Coach to come to some of your races? Training with your coach or her team/squad a few times a week?

What's more difficult to measure is what the coach saves you in terms of your overall training time, rate of improvement, avoidign mistakes that would otherwise cost you time, frustration or even injury...


2015-10-12 1:56 PM
in reply to: bcagle25

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
Heck....the coach I'm looking at for next year owns a full gym where his athletes ride on the computrainers; has a vasa; has structured swim (co-owns the masters swim program), bike and run sessions each week...........and it's less than what's been posted, so far/month (including masters swim class).



2015-10-12 2:00 PM
in reply to: TXTriRook

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
Well $160 is in the reasonable range for coaching actually. Which doesn't mean that this coach is worth that - but they could be.

I think it's good to think about what you're looking for. Do you just want a plan? That's probably not worth $160 a month. You can find training plans on training peaks. I recently had a friend order Dave Scotts Ironman plan and she got a real live email from him that answered some of her questions. I thought that was pretty cool.

Or do you want a custom plan? That might be worth $160 a month ... actually I think coaches charge more like $300 a month for actual custom coaching which means you get a schedule made for you every week or so and daily / weekly feedback on your workouts. There is a coach here in Miami who is rumored to charge $700 a month for custom coaching. I can't imagine that it's actually worth it.

Do you want group coaching? That's a plan made for a group either nearby or virtually and they are all training for the same race. You get a social connection and stuff. I think that's usually $50-$100 a month but you have to find somebody coaching for your race.

In fact if you are really a do-it-yourselfer (not a word but it should be) a lot of books with plans now have facebook groups tied to them. So there is a whole group associated with the be Iron Fit book. That's free.

As for evaluating workouts - almost everybody I know with coaches complains that they don't get enough of this. So if it's important to you make sure the coach actually does this and doesn't just talk about it. I encourage you to think about what you really want. Shop around and get referrals. Coaching is expensive and there is a huge range of talent and services. The only way I know of to know what you are getting is to talk to other folks that are being coached by that same person.

My coach retired and so I'm sort of looking for a new coach. Which is why I'm reviewing all these options myself. I realized that what I was mostly paying for was the security of the plan and having a group to train with. I got very little feedback so I was actually probably overpaying. But I did make it through 3 soon to be 4 Ironman races under his coaching so I have no complaints.

okay I rambled a lot here. Not sure if it was actually helpful ... but hopefully a little bit.
2015-10-12 2:10 PM
in reply to: nc452010

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
Originally posted by nc452010

Heck....the coach I'm looking at for next year owns a full gym where his athletes ride on the computrainers; has a vasa; has structured swim (co-owns the masters swim program), bike and run sessions each week...........and it's less than what's been posted, so far/month (including masters swim class).






Economy of scale...he's got not only a service (coaching) but also a product (CT rides, masters swim) that scales more easily wiht more people and can charge less.

I'd be curious what he provides for individual, customized coaching in terms of service and rates...can you share who it is?


2015-10-12 2:16 PM
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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
As soon as I'm "in", sure. I'm sure he wouldn't mind the advertising.

We're meeting, this week. I've never priced a coach before, but I used to be a PGA teaching professional. I think coaches should command (and they deserve) what the market will bear.

In the scenario I mentioned, I'm thinking it's more along the lines of group training. I would imagine that will work fine, for me. I would also imagine individual plans could cost more (though I'm not coming up with a reason why that would particularly be required).

Edited by nc452010 2015-10-12 2:35 PM
2015-10-12 2:45 PM
in reply to: nc452010

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
Thanks for the feedback everyone! I'm going to contact a few more coaches and will make a decision from there. Between race/travel fees and all my new gear this sports getting expensive.
2015-10-12 5:19 PM
in reply to: TXTriRook

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
IMO limited contact is something that should automatically remove a coach from consideration. Just like limiting schedule changes is a no go as the whole point of a coach is to build your training according to your needs. Schedule changes and communication are key elements of that.

Beyond that, it is impossible to say if it is a good deal. For a great coach, that's a fantastic deal. For a poor coach, way too much. There are experienced coaches who charge less and novice coaches charging way more. Talk to a coach about their experience and use that to decide if they are worth it.

Talk to the coach about using RPE, pace, power and HR to guide training. Even if you don't plan to use it now, you want a coach who knows how to use all of these. Also, if a coach is unable or unwilling to use any of the above, that's a huge red flag.

You need to figure out what's important to you as an athlete and then find a coach who will make that happen. Speak to the coach as well as current and former athletes. Try to speak to those who have a similar background and goals to you so you will have a better idea of if they will work for you.

Ask to see some sample plans for athletes similar to you to get an idea of how the program will look. Ask about personalization of training and examples of this from various athletes.

Finally, make sure they aren't just regurgitating the training bible (or another source but Friel's book is the most commonly used source for this).

Good luck,

Shane
2015-10-12 6:28 PM
in reply to: gsmacleod

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching

Originally posted by gsmacleodYou need to figure out what's important to you as an athlete and then find a coach who will make that happen. Speak to the coach as well as current and former athletes. Try to speak to those who have a similar background and goals to you so you will have a better idea of if they will work for you. Ask to see some sample plans for athletes similar to you to get an idea of how the program will look.

 

That'll do it.

Also....pay particular attention to the coaches swim background.  In many cases with triathlon coaches, you are better off hiring a separate swim coach (if swimming fast is important to you).....and it doesn't have to be as expensive as you think it might be. 

I don't even want to talk about the coaching bills I pay.

2015-10-12 9:11 PM
in reply to: nc452010

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
Originally posted by nc452010


In the scenario I mentioned, I'm thinking it's more along the lines of group training. I would imagine that will work fine, for me. I would also imagine individual plans could cost more (though I'm not coming up with a reason why that would particularly be required).


DO you mean you don't know a reason why YOU would need an individual plan, or you don't know a reason why it would cost more?


2015-10-12 9:15 PM
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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
I mean I don't think I'd require an individualized plan.

Edited by nc452010 2015-10-12 9:16 PM
2015-10-12 9:24 PM
in reply to: TXTriRook

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
Just my .02. I hired a coach for my first IM coming up in a few weeks.

I pay about $125/month which includes my plan uploaded every couple weeks on Training Peaks (a higher version is included with her coaching me), and I get unlimited emails, texts and phone calls if necessary. Plus as one of her clients I get a % discount at the local tri stores, so that is nice.

I have to pay extra for swim lessons or anything 1 on 1 (bike threshold tests, etc) but I think that is pretty standard.

Nice thing is when I have hiccups (sickness, injury or change in schedule) she is the one that takes care of moving things around and makes sure I still stay on track. With the packaged programs, there isn't any wiggle room and lets face it…life happens.

It was worth it for me to have 1 less thing to worry about and I think the cost was reasonable and what I know others pay around the area.

p.s…I definitely take advantage of the unlimited communication…she probably rolls her eyes when she sees yet another email from me, but is very patient
2015-10-13 7:27 AM
in reply to: runspingirl

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
I have just wrapped up the process of choosing a coach and having looked at a couple dozen different individuals and groups both regionally and in North America, I'd say that $150 to $160 is somewhere between a bit at the low end and fairly standard. What is unusual is the once a week limit on communication. I didn't see that at that price level for the coaching I looked at. (Okay--maybe I just left the site right away if I saw prices in the $400 range!) A few mentioned weekly or monthly Skype calls, but no one limited e-mail or texts. I think limited communication would be problematic in that life happens--you might need to adjust workouts if, for example, you couldn't do what was written due to an unexpected meeting or bad weather, or you got sick.I would think one reason one would be looking for coaching in the first place is getting some guidance in how to deal with issues like that.
2015-10-13 9:05 AM
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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching

Originally posted by nc452010 Heck....the coach I'm looking at for next year owns a full gym where his athletes ride on the computrainers; has a vasa; has structured swim (co-owns the masters swim program), bike and run sessions each week...........and it's less than what's been posted, so far/month (including masters swim class).

That's not the type of one-on-one coaching that is being discussed, but it can be a good way to go for the athlete who is relatively knowledgeable and self-sufficient.

I also agree with Shane that limited communication or limited changes should be a deal breaker for most people considering full service coaching.

Also, that $150-160 / month seems to be about average now for full service coaching by professional coaches carrying insurance, doing constant continuing education, Training Peaks subscriptions for athletes, etc (as opposed to the many experienced athletes out there providing "coaching" for a cheap price that is actually handing an athlete a training plan being a mentor).  There are some good coaches charging less, and some others charging much more.  Finding one who's both knowledgeable and whose coaching style and philosophy that works for you is also crucial.

Lastly, large up front fees and/or multi-month contracts are red flags that you should consider carefully before committing.  Some good coaches do them, but some bad ones do it as a way to lock in the revenue, because they have trouble retaining athletes long term.

ETA:  I mentioned Training Peaks, but forgot to say that whether or not the coach includes your subscription to it can make a difference in your actual cost & value received.  If you need to pay for their Premium plan on your own on top of coaching, that's an additional costs.  Many coaches include that in their fee structure.  (Does anyone know what they're charging now for an athlete to buy Premium directly?)

 

 



Edited by TriMyBest 2015-10-13 9:10 AM
2015-10-13 9:16 AM
in reply to: TriMyBest

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching
I guess I'm ignorant as to why so much individualized coaching is either required or perceived to be required.



2015-10-13 9:26 AM
in reply to: nc452010

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching

Originally posted by nc452010 I guess I'm ignorant as to why so much individualized coaching is either required or perceived to be required.

There's nothing that's required in this sport.  It's all up to the individual.  Some have the financial resources combined with a type 'A' personality that drives them to excel despite many other significant time demands.  By hiring a coach, they get the benefits of a higher level of knowledge and experience than they possess,  an objective set of eyes, it saves them time, plus something that's rarely mentioned is a coach can make it more enjoyable.

For some others, they're spending thousands of dollars to pursue their dream of finishing an IM, and they view the cost of a coach as insurance against failure.

 

2015-10-13 9:40 AM
in reply to: TXTriRook

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching

Originally posted by TXTriRook I'm thinking of getting a coach for next year and although I'm sure there's a huge range, I'm wondering if someone can give me an idea of what a "basic" coach costs. Ideally I'd like to find someone to periodically evaluate my workouts and give me some suggestions to help me improve. I've found one in the Dallas area but they're asking for $160/month which seems high to me for 1 email and 1 phone call a week.

I'm going to give my view on this and it's probably a little different than Shane's and Suzanne. The most expensive thing we own is time - and as a coach, limiting your interaction isn't a way of saying "I don't want to talk with you" but more in the lines of "I can't afford to talk with you every day" - so there needs to be ground rules.

But let's back up a minute. Let's say you want to be paid $50/hr. To set up a schedule, look over your files and answer 1 email a week is about 1.5- 2 hours a week. That's $100 of the coaches' time. Over 4 weeks, that's $400/month. But wait, you are only paying $160! So, are you getting a deal or is the coach getting rich? I would argue the coach isn't getting rich and you may argue you aren't getting a deal either.

If you figure that a coach can handle 10-15 athletes with great communication, solid analytical skills, and a great training plan @$160 x 15 athletes, you are making $2400 a month. In most cities, that's a tough living. So, as a coach, your choices are to raise your rates or increase the number of athletes you work with.

If you increase the number of athletes, you risk not giving everyone enough attention and if you raise your rates, you'll be seen as too expensive.

So, in my opinion, for $160/month with 1x a week communication, that's a pretty good deal. You can easily lay out all your questions in one concise email and the coach can email you back with the answers. I think if you really want more communication, you have to pay for it. You are asking for more of your coaches' time and time is money - so think about what you are paying for and like any expert in any field, your coach should be fairly compensated as well.

That's my $0.02

2015-10-13 10:17 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching

Originally posted by mikericci

Originally posted by TXTriRook I'm thinking of getting a coach for next year and although I'm sure there's a huge range, I'm wondering if someone can give me an idea of what a "basic" coach costs. Ideally I'd like to find someone to periodically evaluate my workouts and give me some suggestions to help me improve. I've found one in the Dallas area but they're asking for $160/month which seems high to me for 1 email and 1 phone call a week.

I'm going to give my view on this and it's probably a little different than Shane's and Suzanne. The most expensive thing we own is time - and as a coach, limiting your interaction isn't a way of saying "I don't want to talk with you" but more in the lines of "I can't afford to talk with you every day" - so there needs to be ground rules.

But let's back up a minute. Let's say you want to be paid $50/hr. To set up a schedule, look over your files and answer 1 email a week is about 1.5- 2 hours a week. That's $100 of the coaches' time. Over 4 weeks, that's $400/month. But wait, you are only paying $160! So, are you getting a deal or is the coach getting rich? I would argue the coach isn't getting rich and you may argue you aren't getting a deal either.

If you figure that a coach can handle 10-15 athletes with great communication, solid analytical skills, and a great training plan @$160 x 15 athletes, you are making $2400 a month. In most cities, that's a tough living. So, as a coach, your choices are to raise your rates or increase the number of athletes you work with.

If you increase the number of athletes, you risk not giving everyone enough attention and if you raise your rates, you'll be seen as too expensive.

So, in my opinion, for $160/month with 1x a week communication, that's a pretty good deal. You can easily lay out all your questions in one concise email and the coach can email you back with the answers. I think if you really want more communication, you have to pay for it. You are asking for more of your coaches' time and time is money - so think about what you are paying for and like any expert in any field, your coach should be fairly compensated as well.

That's my $0.02

I think 160.00 per month with email and phone conversation is a bargain.

Paying for a coach is a personal thing.  I think that anyone who goes down that road has a goal in mind.  What are your goals worth?  What are your dreams worth?  What will you gain?  Is there a payoff?  What can you afford?  What are you willing to go in debt for? (yes, I have)

Here's the other end of the spectrum for those that are interested.  Here's what I paid for my kid to be coached to the elite level. 

Swimming - $200.00 per month, plus meet fees, travel, open water camp...  4800.00 per year  Head cvoach is former Olympian, both coaches are USA swimming level 5 coaches

Cycling -  $20.00 per session, 6-8 sessions per month.  This is done for roughly 6 months, nearly one on one, with a coach who has trained national champions and TdF riders.  Plus a one week camp in Arizona each Spring.  2000.00

Running - 875.00 for 12 sessions on overspeed treadmill, all one on one coaching, done twice per year. Plus run camp... one per year with National level coach. 3000.00

Triathlon coach (the brains of the operation) 75.00 per month to put training peak workouts together and get him from one season to the next (triathlon, XC, swimming, Track) in one piece. .  Plus 900.00 team fee. Plus 2 camps....600.00 each   3000.00

You can do the math, but it's over 1000.00 per month.....and quite a bit of travel (to camps) is not figured in.

My wife and I once sat down to figure out what we had spent on his training and racing the last 4 years and it approaches $70,000. (doesn't include equipment)   Worth it?  For us, yes.  We won't have to pay a dime for his college and we have given him a gift that he can carry for his life......the gift of fitness,  the love of sport, and the knowledge that hard work really does lead to good results..  We also haven't had to pay a dime for drug rehab, lawyers, court fees, or all of the other fees that I see quite a few parents pay.

My son has also made friends around the world, has relationships with coaches that extend FAR beyond just athletics (life's lessons are oiften included) and gets to chase a dream few of us can even consider.

It should be expensive to be coached well......you should expect to pay for the time, the experience, and the knowledge that a good coach carries.  You should also have expectations of where the coaching will take you.(get a new one if your coach can't tell you)  If you find that what you are paying and what you are getting don't match up, you need to find another coach.  I have vetted dozens and dozens for my kid through the last years.....you can expect to pay more as your expectations rise.

 



Edited by Left Brain 2015-10-13 10:20 AM
2015-10-13 10:21 AM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Cost of Coaching

I would also like to add to this discussion...that a coach is only as good as the information they receive from the athlete, the athlete's logging, and the athlete's willingness to follow instructions.  If you aren't in it mentally, they can't do anything for you. (not that I know this from experience or anything...)

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