Do you really need a coach?

Do you truly need a coach? The pros and cons of hiring an expert

Do you need a triathlon coach? Maybe a strange topic for a blog post by a triathlon coach… But I will give you my honest opinion and when and when not should you consider hiring a coach.

Before we go into the pros and cons of hiring a coach let me tell you my path from having no idea on my first triathlon, over hiring a coach to becoming a coach myself.

I did my first sprint distance triathlon back in 2012 and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Running in basketball shorts, riding a city bike with a rack, and swimming like crazy I learned the basic rules the hard way. Looking in hindsight I could have done it better.

Slowly growing the distance it was in 2019 that I decided that I wanted to qualify for the Ironman World Championship. But I knew I will not get there on my own – I needed some guidance. Then I met my coach and shared my goal, to which he said: “Okay, it is going to be very hard, but if you want it we can get there”. Long story very short – in 2021 I qualified with a Sub 10h time and in 2022 crossed the line of the Ironman WC in Sub 11 hours finish time. I honestly do not believe I would have gotten there without help…

Getting the knowledge from someone who already has made the mistakes would have saved me time and money. But anyway, that is why I am writing this content to give you my take on Having VS. Not having a coach.

First triathlon in Germany 2013

Starting with the fact that triathlon is a demanding sport that requires discipline, hard work, and dedication. As a triathlete, you need to have a well-rounded fitness level, which includes swimming, biking, and running. While it’s possible to train on your own, you may be considering hiring a triathlon coach. Look at both sides of the argument to help you make an informed decision.

Firstly, let’s talk about the benefits of hiring a triathlon coach.

  • One of the main benefits of hiring a coach is that you’ll receive personalized training plans. A coach can create a customized training plan that’s tailored to your specific needs, goals, and abilities. This can help you train more effectively and efficiently, and avoid injury. A personalized training plan is especially important if you have specific goals or if you’re training for a particular event.
  • Another benefit of hiring a triathlon coach is the expert guidance you’ll receive. A coach can provide expert guidance on everything from technique to nutrition. They can help you identify areas where you can improve and provide feedback and support to help you reach your goals. This can be especially helpful if you’re new to the sport or if you’re looking to take your training to the next level. Because let’s face it, we can all use a little help sometimes.
  • This might not apply to all, but accountability is another benefit of hiring a triathlon coach. A coach can help keep you accountable and motivated. This goes both ways – not undertraining, but also not overtraining. Knowing that you have someone holding you accountable can be a powerful motivator to stay on track and stick to your training plan. A coach can also provide encouragement and support when you’re struggling.
  • A coach is there to provide you with structure. You might know all the basic training concepts and can make and adjust your own plan. But at the same time, you have a demanding job, a family, and other social obligations and you simply want to outsource the task and rather pay someone to update your training and nutritional plan so that you are in top shape on race day. This is basically what a triathlon coach’s job is.
  • Finally, hiring a coach can help you with race strategy. A coach can help you develop a race strategy and provide guidance on pacing, nutrition, and other key factors that can impact your performance on race day. They can also help you prepare mentally for the event and provide tips on how to handle race-day stress. Because we all know that a little stress can go a long way when it comes to race day.

Of course, there are some drawbacks to hiring a triathlon coach.

  • One of the main drawbacks is the cost. Hiring a coach can be expensive, especially if you’re working with someone who is highly experienced and in demand.
  • Another drawback of hiring a coach is the lack of flexibility. A coach’s training plan may not always be flexible enough to accommodate unexpected changes in your schedule or other factors that may impact your training. If you have a busy schedule or if unexpected events come up, you may find it challenging to stick to your training plan. That is why some coaches (including me) are here to support you along the way and adjust the plan accordingly
  • It’s also important to find a coach who is a good personality fit for you and your training style. If you don’t mesh well with your coach, it can be difficult to communicate effectively and get the most out of your training. You may also feel uncomfortable sharing personal information with someone who you don’t feel comfortable with.
  • Finally, if you rely too heavily on your coach, you may not develop the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful triathlete on your own. It’s important to remember that a coach is there to guide and support you, but ultimately, you’re the one who has to do the work.

So, do you need a coach? The answer depends on a variety of factors, including your experience level, goals, and budget. If you’re looking to compete at a high level or achieve a specific time goal, a coach may be able to help you get there faster and more effectively. A coach can help you develop a training plan that’s tailored to your goals and can provide guidance and support to help you achieve them.

If you’re new to triathlon or still learning the basics, you may benefit from the guidance and support of a coach. A coach can help you develop proper technique and form, which can help you avoid injury and improve your performance.

If you have a busy schedule and limited time to train, a coach can help you maximize your training time and get the most out of your workouts. A coach can help you develop a training plan that’s tailored to your schedule, so you can train effectively without sacrificing other important aspects of your life.

Hiring a coach can be expensive, so it’s important to consider your budget and whether or not you can afford to work with one. If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to consider other options, such as group training programs.

Ultimately, the decision to hire a triathlon coach is a personal one that depends on your individual needs, goals, and budget. Consider the benefits and drawbacks carefully and weigh them against your own situation before making a decision.