Sonja's Outdoor World

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Coaching Dilemma (LONG)

For about a month now I have been struggling with this coaching dilemma. So, as you know I have been racing a lot, and up to this point, I pretty much go out and exercise willy nilly. I try to be smart about it, but my method is pretty much like throwing mud at a wall and seeing what sticks. I try not to kill myself day after day, I try to always have fun, and I try to let my body recover when it's feeling hailed. This (along with the weight loss) has allowed me to get into really good shape. BUT, somehow, in my heart I know I can be way better. I am such a natural competitor, and I feel like I am mentally stronger than I have been in my whole life. I mean, life is going great. There are occasional speed bumps but my "roll with it" attitude has never been better. In races, my mind isn't getting to me for the first time ever, I am able to stay positive even when I'm hurting and people are passing me. I honestly think all the HypnoBirthing training has laid the foundation for this.

So, back to my dilemma...I think I need a coach. At the very least, I need a plan, something to stick to, to keep motivated towards, and also for safety. The mud throwing philosophy tends to get you injured in the long run. But I have a dilemma. So I talked to the triathlon coach at my gym, and for $75 a month he will design me a schedule (and nothing more), for $125 a month he will give me a schedule, 1 training session a month, and some personal contact, for $199 a month I get the schedule, 2 training sessions and unlimited contact. So, I started thinking about this and I thought WOWAH. Maybe I should pick up some books and read all there is out there, maybe I can do this schedule thing myself. So...I bought books. AND, I read the books. So there are two types of books. Ones that train you for one race (like the Triathloning for Ordinary Mortals, and the Triathlons for Women), and ones (I could only find ONE, and sort-of another) that help you put together a schedule for your whole season. I don't want to train for just one dinky race, I want to do tons. So I read from cover to cover, all 299 pages of Joe Friel's "The Triathlete's Training Bible". I was doing so good...he was guiding me through preparing an "Annual Training Schedule". All the way until page 100. Then he went psycho. I was following along perfectly, I had analyzed my goals, written objectives, determined annual training hours, broken those hours into weekly hours using periodization, determined my race schedule, determined my weight training schedule, determined my weak areas, and put together a one-line per week schedule. Then came time to break the one-line weekly overview into specific day by day workouts and he completely lost me. Mostly b/c he didn't tell us how to do it. The leap that he made was so huge, after trying to figure it out for two hours last night, I went to bed really bummed out.

So today I revisited...still lost. I don't know what to do. The leap he makes is so huge for me, that even if I ever do put something together, I'm not going to trust that I did it right. So I started looking online...I thought: maybe this "Joe Friel" dude would answer some of my questions...well, he's $1,500 per month to have him train I don't think he will be answering my lowly little email. I continued looking online, and there are several other options. Let me explain. There is this website called TrainingPeaks where you can buy predesigned schedules. So again (like the books), these are one-event things, or they are really impersonal (is that a word??). Then there is personal coaching. But it's pricey (like the greenwood village coach). The cheapest I can find is $150 per month (there are two different ladies here and here for this price and I REALLY like both of their websites...there are others but I was drawn toward the women), and that gives me a schedule and unlimited access to the coach (and some other bike fitting and nutritional support). There are also group programs like CWW or Team in Training. But I feel like these are also event, or 1-4 events oriented.

I am looking at 24 events on my calendar right now (these are from Feb 4 to Sept 17). Some of them are more important to me and a lot of them are just for fun, but I don't know where my passion lies right now. So what I really want to do this year is a "tour de athletica". I want to get in great shape and sample a bunch of events so that I know where the intersection of "Passion" and "Aptitude" lie for me. Is it adventure racing? Or XTERRA triathlons (offroad triathlons), or speed tri-s, or 1/2 marathons. Or is it just running? Or is my swim so bad that I should stick to duathlons? I want a sample. year I will focus on the sport that is appropriate. Also, this season, I can train with Annie in the bike Charriot, next summer things will be up for grabs a bit more. So I wanted to focus on Triathlons b/c I can train for that with my Annie-girl.

DILEMMA. Any suggestions? Help...feel free to comment!


  • Did you try Joe's ATP Wizard within This may save you a lot of time creating the Annual Training Plan (ATP) and weekly workouts. Although Joe still asks you to place the workouts into your Calendar, the fact that he will provide specific weekly workouts for you based on your goals, limiters and race dates may help alot.

    No software howver will ever replace a good experienced coach. I'd say the majority of coaches who provide lots of monthly feedback will ask for a minimum of $200/month.

    Good luck with your dilemma!
    Dirk Friel

    By Blogger Dirk, at 6:32 PM  

  • Dirk!! Thank you so much for this advice. I signed up for the TrainingPeaks software and it totally made the leap that I was missing. I am still looking into coaching, but your tip really completed the picture for me!

    By Blogger SonjaOutdoorMama, at 8:33 PM  

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