“I need a coach but I can’t afford the cost or time required to work with one.”
This is a statement I hear often, very often…
Private coaches are often maligned as being an unobtainable luxury in the world of amateur endurance sports. With a wealth of well-written books, articles, podcasts and videos it is believed by many athletes that this content is enough to self-coach by. For many it has worked very well. For others it only leads to confusion and frustrating outcomes.
So lets talk about the cost of not having a coach
You, the athlete, spend 5-20 hours a week training for your goal(s). A month, a week or a few days away from said event and you are positive that you have not trained well enough. You go to the race or event and it goes poorly. What do you do? Read more, train more and try again? Maybe you do. So the next season comes and you train even more and this time you feel worse before the big event and race and sure enough it doesn’t go as planned. By now you are thinking about giving up or that you aren’t cut out for your sport and you throw in the towel. In 2 years time you trained 500-2000 hours, spent thousands of dollars on nutrition, travel and potentially thousands of dollars on equipment if you are a cyclist. For what, to be just disappointed with your self and to have rampant thoughts of what could have been or even more self doubt?
The realities of competitive endurance sports
Our sports are not cheap! Professionals are time strapped and even now cash-strapped in today’s economies. This hasn’t stopped thousands from trying to run in Marathons, Ultras, compete in triathlons, duathlons and road racing events all over the world. So why are you risking your investment in your beloved sport to mostly chance? Don’t you want to do well, meet your goals and maybe just maybe win?
It is likely you can afford a coach and just don’t realize it
The average cycling coach fee in the USA according to a 2014 poll of cycling coaches conducted by USA cycling determined that the avg. per mos. fee is $125.00 per mos., which comes out as $1,500.00 per year in coaching fees. The average lunch cost in the US costs some where between 11.00 and 16.00 per lunch. The average American goes out for Lunch 2-3 times weekly at a cost of approx. $39.00 per week or $2,028.00 per year. It’s believed that total average expenditures on going out to eat per year by the avg. American are approx. $4,000.00 per year.
I don’t have the time to work with a coach
While this statement would seem counter to the above criteria I gave where the athlete trains 5-20 hours per week w/o a coach but doesn’t think they have time to work with a coach. Stating how much time is required to work directly with a coach can be a tough one to guesstimate due to not knowing what sport or level of experience an athlete has when writing an article like this. That doesn’t mean I am not going to try.
When I first started looking for my very own coach it was suggested that I take a very serious look at how much time I had to train. To do this I grabbed a spreadsheet and broke down my typical day by 15 minute intervals and accounted for things like sleep, the work day, personal hygiene, dining, commuting and so on. Then I took a look at things I might not do daily but certainly weekly such as household maintenance and yard work. Then I looked at entertainment such as watching T.V. or cerfing the web for fun and not for work. I was amazed at how much time I was spending doing things that I really no longer valued. So much so, that I changed jobs to get rid of my 1.8 hours of daily commuting and its added stress along with the 10+ hours of overtime per week. I also looked at my T.V habits and realized how much time I was loosing not doing what I really wanted and that was to race well! So I took a look at some recent statistics on the amount of time the average American spends watching TV and even commuting to and from work. The average American is spending almost 3 hours a day watching TV and a hour a day commuting. That’s Approx. 4 hours of not getting anything DONE! That’s Approx 26 hours a week that you could spend training!!!!! Lets be clear I realize that not everyone can change jobs just so that they can participate in the sport they love but what I am saying is that the average American does have time to train and work with a coach
How much time do I have to work with a coach?
That once again depends on the athlete, coach, and sport. Some of my athletes only talk with me once a month, some once a week and some I see face to face a couple times a week. While those that I talk with monthly and weekly are just that, conversations, I am there to answer questions and go over the current training and future training but those calls might last 30-60 minutes. Those that I work with Face to Face with are usually along for a ride, a run or a visit to the gym. These meetings count against training time. However I also offer testing and bike fitting to those that I coach and that can’t always be counted against training time but of course it is still beneficial. So for my athletes that don’t come see me the investment in conversation time is approx. 1-4 hours per mos. and for those I work with face to face the time I spend varies greatly but averages between 3 and 6 hours a month.
Why should I spend my money with you?
I have been coaching now for 6 years. I have been a USAC and USATF coach for many of those 6 years. I have coached athletes from all over the US, the Caribbean, Canada, Bermuda, Eastern and Western Europe as well as Australia. I have coached competitive and recreational men and women. The athletes I coach range in age from 20 something’s to 70 something’s. I have and do coach amateur cycling teams, individual cyclists, track cyclists, cyclo crossers, mountain bikers, runners, Duathletes and Triathletes. I work every year to complete 40-60 hours of Continuing Education a year as a coach. This is more that twice what it required by either USAC or USATF. My athletes have competed at countless local races and many have raced and won on the national stage. I have been competing for 11 years as a cyclist, duathlete and runner. I have also raced at regional and national levels. I have helped athletes to make fast and safe upgrades from Cat 5 – Cat 1 in as little as 2 seasons. BTW: This is not an easy task for the athlete or me, nor is it the norm!
NO podium guarantees
In the end it’s important to understand that while you are spending money and time on your sport it is also an investment in yourself. While I never make guarantees on outcomes I do guarantee that if we structure your work, test results, recognize strengths and weaknesses honestly and train consistently you will make positive changes in your performance as an athlete. I have proven this to myslef and to my athletes every time. Sometimes athletes want it to happen sooner than there bodies or timetables allow. I recently had a Team Director of Continental Pro team make a general statement to me that coaches too often will only deliver training plans that athletes want because the coach needs to make sure they are making money (paraphrased). Yes there are coaches that depend on athletes and their money to make a living. Currently I am a part time coach and do not rely on the money I make as a coach to support my family. However if I did I still would not let finances dictate my training philosophies or prescriptions to make sure that an athlete “likes” there training. Your training must be effective and you may not like it!
Good coaches are not dictators
Good coaches are partners. We must listen to our athletes first and foremost. Look at the athlete’s data, observe actions and behaviors, listen a lot, read a lot, provide a reasoned voice and did I say listen a lot? So when it comes race time I can know that I as the coach have done everything I can to help the athlete meet his or her performance goals.
Are you ready now?
Still sitting on the fence, want more proof that I can get you where you want to go? That’s fine, call me, email me, or use our form. I would love to talk to you. If you live outside of the US and speak English give me a day to schedule the call and I will gladly answer your questions.
Train Smarter Not Harder,