General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Looking for a coach and I don't know where to start Rss Feed  
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2016-10-25 11:35 AM

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Subject: Looking for a coach and I don't know where to start
I don't just do tris, I trail run and have two ultras planned for next year, and I want to do a full IM. This year, I had one ultra, one HIM, and what was supposed to be one full (IMNC). I completed all of my races, but due to strategic errors and a case of food poisoning the week of the HIM, I didn't hit any of my time goals. I have also found that I can't pace the long races well.

Where I live, there isn't a selection of triathlon coaches due to the size of the community. There is one that I know of, but he doesn't trail run, and from what I understand, he thinks that everyone should treat triathlon like a job where the only real goal is to KQ. I am someone who wants to have fun and try new challenges and sees both triathlon and trail running as hobbies. I have also found that anytime I try to maintain more than 15 hours a week of training, I get sick.

So I am trying to find a coach that I can work with online or on the phone to get me across the finish lines at my key races while understanding my limitations. How do I go about finding a coach that understands both trail running and triathlon and can fit them together? I can find information about people who do one or the other, but not both. Do I just start emailing anyone who looks like they have potential and set up calls?


2016-10-25 9:58 PM
in reply to: happyscientist

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Subject: RE: Looking for a coach and I don't know where to start
That is what I did. I just called a number of them and found one that I clicked with. I was fortunate to find one near me (about 45 minutes away).

I would think that "training" for trail running would take a backseat to training for an IM (if the IM is your A race). While I have only done a couple trail runs, any training that I did for my IM would have more than put me in shape. I suppose this is no different that the runners that decide to do an IM. They change their training to focus on Tri/IM and obviously their marathon racing is put on hold or suffers.
2016-10-25 10:14 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Looking for a coach and I don't know where to start
Originally posted by happyscientist

I don't just do tris, I trail run and have two ultras planned for next year, and I want to do a full IM. This year, I had one ultra, one HIM, and what was supposed to be one full (IMNC). I completed all of my races, but due to strategic errors and a case of food poisoning the week of the HIM, I didn't hit any of my time goals. I have also found that I can't pace the long races well.

Where I live, there isn't a selection of triathlon coaches due to the size of the community. There is one that I know of, but he doesn't trail run, and from what I understand, he thinks that everyone should treat triathlon like a job where the only real goal is to KQ. I am someone who wants to have fun and try new challenges and sees both triathlon and trail running as hobbies. I have also found that anytime I try to maintain more than 15 hours a week of training, I get sick.

So I am trying to find a coach that I can work with online or on the phone to get me across the finish lines at my key races while understanding my limitations. How do I go about finding a coach that understands both trail running and triathlon and can fit them together? I can find information about people who do one or the other, but not both. Do I just start emailing anyone who looks like they have potential and set up calls?


IMO the best coaches have a background in physiology, and when you understand the energy systems and skills required, a coach does not need to be an expert themselves at performing the *thing*, rather they can help guide training that balances all the things you are interested in. It probably sounds more complicated for you than it does for a coach. In otherwords, what you are describing sounds like a typical client's needs.

Just start reviewing websites of various coaches and send an email to establish contact. Enjoy asking questions and learning about what you need.

FWIW, one of my associate coaches just finished an ultra in brazil, has done prior IM's and coaches both IM athletes as well as ultra runners.

I've coached athletes doing a variety of IMs, HIMs & ultras as well. The challenging part as you noted is balancing the time and shifting priorities as your various races come up.

Edited by AdventureBear 2016-10-25 10:17 PM
2016-10-26 6:38 AM
in reply to: happyscientist

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Subject: RE: Looking for a coach and I don't know where to start
That's as good a method as any. I found my first coach through a friend - it worked just by luck. Then he retired and I had the hardest time finding a new coach. It's kind of like finding a good handyman for your house ... there seem to be a lot of them but finding someone that works with you can be strangely hard.

But - I will say this. I found that it is surprisingly easy to rule coaches out in one email thread or phone conversation. So, if you can make a list of what is important to you. For example trail running. If you chat with a coach and they just can't wrap their head around you wanting to run on the trails - walk away and try again.

Ironman now has a coach match system, Training peaks also has a list of coaches and usat has a list of coaches. And there are also lots of good coaches who don't have certifications they have degrees in kineasiology and sports science and what have you. Good luck!
2016-10-26 7:23 AM
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Subject: RE: Looking for a coach and I don't know where to start
Living here in Vietnam, there aren't any tri coaches (that I know of) so my only viable option is to work with someone online. I actually prefer that--I'm very self-motivated and have never really liked having a coach (or even a teacher--ironically, since I AM a teacher) in my face on a day to day basis telling me what to do. I can't even stand spin classes where the instructor yells at the class. So online coaching is perfect--I get the workout, do it when it works on my schedule, and get feedback. That also allows a very wide choice in coaches since one is not tied to local coaches.

I found my coach by checking out a number of coaches recommended by people on BT and elsewhere. I had to limit my choices somewhat due to budget. I then made a list of the remaining ones and contacted them. Most have a website where you fill out a questionnaire, and/or will ask you about your background, goals, etc. by e-mail or Skype. Be up front about your goals, limitations, and approach to the sport and see how they respond. I contacted maybe eight or ten coaches and then gradually narrowed it down to three. I think all were equally qualified; in the end I just chose the one I was most comfortable with. In a way it was a matter of finding the person who asked the right questions and could accept my honest answers. I have kind of an unusual athletic background, and a somewhat complicated training situation here, so finding someone who was accepting of and comfortable working with those parameters was important.

What's odd is that the coach I ended up choosing turned out to be the former coach of the woman who coaches the master's group that I sometimes swim with in the US. I knew she had worked with an online coach when preparing for two IM a few years ago, but didn't actually know the coach's name..... Didn't figure it out until I showed up at master's last winter break, mentioned I was working with a tri coach, and we realized we'd had the same coach!


Edited by Hot Runner 2016-10-26 7:26 AM
2016-10-26 8:08 AM
in reply to: happyscientist

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Subject: RE: Looking for a coach and I don't know where to start

My coach is in Boulder, and I am in Texas. For a while, he was an elite triathlete, now he competes in ultra distance running. I've been very happy with him in my triathlon training. His approach is practical and based on your lifestyle and goals. If you're interested, shoot me a PM, and I'll get you his information.



2016-10-26 9:01 AM
in reply to: LundyLund

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Subject: RE: Looking for a coach and I don't know where to start
Hot runner, we sound like we have similar motivation. I am internally motivated and will do just about anything for someone who is nice, but as soon as someone starts yelling at me, I am done.

LundyLund, your coach sounds interesting and like the type of thing that I am looking for. Please send me the information.
2016-10-26 9:26 AM
in reply to: happyscientist

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Aledo, Texas
Subject: RE: Looking for a coach and I don't know where to start

LundyLund, your coach sounds interesting and like the type of thing that I am looking for. Please send me the information.

PM sent. Good luck.

2016-10-26 9:32 AM
in reply to: happyscientist

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Subject: RE: Looking for a coach and I don't know where to start

You could tweet Tawny Prazak (podcast host) @tawneeprazak and see who she recommends.  She has a lot of connections that span both worlds.

Also, Endurance Nation is online coaching that covers more than just tris.  They've seen the light that people want to do more than just tris.

2016-10-26 10:02 AM
in reply to: AdventureBear

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Subject: RE: Looking for a coach and I don't know where to start

Originally posted by AdventureBear
Originally posted by happyscientist I don't just do tris, I trail run and have two ultras planned for next year, and I want to do a full IM. This year, I had one ultra, one HIM, and what was supposed to be one full (IMNC). I completed all of my races, but due to strategic errors and a case of food poisoning the week of the HIM, I didn't hit any of my time goals. I have also found that I can't pace the long races well. Where I live, there isn't a selection of triathlon coaches due to the size of the community. There is one that I know of, but he doesn't trail run, and from what I understand, he thinks that everyone should treat triathlon like a job where the only real goal is to KQ. I am someone who wants to have fun and try new challenges and sees both triathlon and trail running as hobbies. I have also found that anytime I try to maintain more than 15 hours a week of training, I get sick. So I am trying to find a coach that I can work with online or on the phone to get me across the finish lines at my key races while understanding my limitations. How do I go about finding a coach that understands both trail running and triathlon and can fit them together? I can find information about people who do one or the other, but not both. Do I just start emailing anyone who looks like they have potential and set up calls?
IMO the best coaches have a background in physiology, and when you understand the energy systems and skills required, a coach does not need to be an expert themselves at performing the *thing*, rather they can help guide training that balances all the things you are interested in. It probably sounds more complicated for you than it does for a coach. In otherwords, what you are describing sounds like a typical client's needs. Just start reviewing websites of various coaches and send an email to establish contact. Enjoy asking questions and learning about what you need. FWIW, one of my associate coaches just finished an ultra in brazil, has done prior IM's and coaches both IM athletes as well as ultra runners. I've coached athletes doing a variety of IMs, HIMs & ultras as well. The challenging part as you noted is balancing the time and shifting priorities as your various races come up.

Suzanne is talking about Michael Bauer.  He's a good guy who's knowledgeable.  He also lives in Pittsburgh, so living in West Virginia, you'd also be able to meet him in person, if you chose.  I'd strongly encourage you to talk to him.

 

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