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  1. #1
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    Endurance Racing to next level. Did you hire coach or was it trial and error?

    Right now my plans are to take endurance riding and racing more seriously (while having tons of fun still) in 2013, and I was wondering what you did when making the decision to focus on long races.

    Did you hire a local experienced coach with proven results?

    Read a book?

    Online coaching?

    Or just go it alone with trial and error based on forums like this?

    A local racer and coach has been one of the world's best adventure racers, marathoners, endurance racers, etc for the past 20 years or so in whatever discipline he chooses. The past 5 years has seen him or his team on the podium at many national and global events. I know him through acquaintances and we have similar personalities that mesh: he's modest and soft spoken and doesn't brag via Strava nor does he gloat in interviews. Rumor has it he turns down interviews so that a new teammate gets the press. It would be a pay-for-services type of coaching which I have no problem with, but at this moment do not know the fee rates.

    What are your thoughts on this option? Too much structure for the fun world of endurance racing? He has a handful of coaching spots open per calendar year, and I don't want to waste my time nor his by taking a spot from someone.

  2. #2
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    To me this is a personal decision and you need to find what works for you. I myself use a coach and have had great success. I choose to use a coach because:

    #1 - I decided to take up endurance racing, 100 milers and had no idea how to train for them.
    #2 - I own 2 business, married with 3 kids and I had to be very focused with my training and time and a coach can do this for you.
    #3 - I wanted to be held accountable for my training
    #4 - I wanted a more personalized training program, not a cookie cutter program off from a website.
    #5 - I wanted someone with real world experience and the in-depth knowledge of what the body has to go trough to make advancements and be able to apply it to me personally.
    #6 - A coach can work with you to get to your goals quicker, but can also detect fatigue and tell you when it's time to slow down.

    These are just a few of the biggest reasons I use a coach and I have been working with him now for almost 2 years. Don't get me wrong, I have had sone failures too, but this is not due to my coach but my own physical make up (a gluten intolerance that I had no idea of). I mention this because working with a coach is not a guarantee for success, you still have to do the work and there are things beyond his control that you may need to deal with. The good thing is that if your coach is knowledgeable you can both work through it and find a solution.

    I measure my success by personal achievements, like what were my laps times at this race last year compared to this year. Or, beating my fastest training ride on my favorite route. With his help and advise I continue to see improvement all the time and am anxious to see what happens at the next race / event that I sign-up for.

    Hope this helps!

    In case you wanted to know my coach is Mike Schultz of Highland Training... Highland Training

  3. #3
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    TheOvus has said it very well. I signed up for a coach almost a year ago and I can say that I have become a better rider as a result. Last year I started cyclocross racing, i was last in every race. This year, mid pack in most races. I plan to do some 100 mile MTB races and having a coach has been a great asset in being able to have someone to be accountable to and get input from about how hard to train or when to recover. For me, it is working, and I am 59 years old. Your mileage may vary.

  4. #4
    Dirty South Underdog
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    A couple of years ago, I met Andy Clark by chance when I was on a road trip that included a stop at Winter Park for a super D race, and I've had him as a coach ever since.

    I needed a coach for some of the same reasons stated above (exception being #2). Even with a master's degree in Exercise Physiology, I sucked at getting my sh*t together to train right. I've since been building slowly to meet some very large goals, and I've found that having a coach has kept me on track and also kept me from getting burned out or overtrained.
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  5. #5
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    What's your limiters? If your limiter is fitting in quality rides 5 days a week, coach ain't gonna help you much - hiring a personal assistant would probably be more fruitful. If you can find the time to ride and rest properly, but feel that your alchemy of workouts isn't optimal, then a coach can be helpful.

  6. #6
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    I have all the time to ride, it's the quality of input and rest and planning I am lacking.

    Quote Originally Posted by jared_j View Post
    What's your limiters? If your limiter is fitting in quality rides 5 days a week, coach ain't gonna help you much - hiring a personal assistant would probably be more fruitful. If you can find the time to ride and rest properly, but feel that your alchemy of workouts isn't optimal, then a coach can be helpful.

  7. #7
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    I hired a coach a about 9 months ago and the change has been dramatic. I had been languishing in mid pack for years. Each year, I would promise myself I'd train more. Even when I would train more, my results never budged. The coach has added accountability, experience and structure. I do train more than I did before, but even so, it's only about 10 hours a week. Each workout has a purpose and I look at it as a chance to improve, so I don't want to waste it.

    For me, I've improved more than I thought I would. I used to look at the guys on the podium as freaks, now I have an idea of how they got there. They're no longer super human, but hard workers who can be beat. If you believe you can commit the time, then a coach is for you.

  8. #8
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    No coach for me. I don't have the extra money to hire one and I like riding and competing for the fun of it. I don't want my rides and races to feel like a second job. I perform well enough training and riding on my own right now.

    Coaching in my area runs from $150-500 a month That's a lot of race entry fees right there.

  9. #9
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    how are you guys finding time to train 5+ days per week when in the fall and winter it gets dark before you get off work? or are you training in a gym?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachua View Post
    how are you guys finding time to train 5+ days per week when in the fall and winter it gets dark before you get off work? or are you training in a gym?
    Most folks who keep up the training all year use a combo of night riding and/or time on trainer/rollers. I used to night ride quite a bit a few years back and it is really nice being out in the woods in the peace at night.I always went solo. I am not a fan of the trainer, but like other modern conveniences it is a necessary evil so I will put in an hour at a time on it just to get time in on the bike.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lamb View Post
    Most folks who keep up the training all year use a combo of night riding and/or time on trainer/rollers. I used to night ride quite a bit a few years back and it is really nice being out in the woods in the peace at night.I always went solo. I am not a fan of the trainer, but like other modern conveniences it is a necessary evil so I will put in an hour at a time on it just to get time in on the bike.
    man, I'd love to night ride but unfortunately te trails here close after dark. there are trainers here at the gym I could use. I'm starting to regret putting my road bike up for sale.

    do any of you guys use a trainer with your mtb?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachua View Post
    man, I'd love to night ride but unfortunately te trails here close after dark. there are trainers here at the gym I could use. I'm starting to regret putting my road bike up for sale.

    do any of you guys use a trainer with your mtb?
    I use a spare rear wheel with a trainer slick on it. I don't even own a road bike. The trainer sucks, but if you have a purpose and proper motivation, you can do it.

  13. #13
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    I coached myself for many many years. When I stalled out with speed and couldn't seem to make any gains, I hired Lynda from LW Coaching. It was one of best decisions I have made with my cycling. She taught me how to train and to listen to my body. Prior to her I had no idea I was in a state of fatigue all the time.....my body had grown used to it. I used LW Coaching for 3 years. I now self-coach myself using what I learned from her. From time to time I will use one of her pre-built plans or pick her brain for advice. Personally, coaching and bike fits are 2 things that can make huge gains in performance, comfort, and elevating the fun-factor.

  14. #14
    Daniel the Dog
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    I have heard that smoking crack doesn't help.

  15. #15
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    Self-coached, and reasonably successful in the 45+ group.

    I don't like structure, but love to ride hard, so the coach-less approach has been fine for me.

    That said, the person you've described sounds like a very good resource. If he lived in my little town, I would be tempted to give it a shot -- although if he doesn't brag on strava, his abilities aren't actually real, are they?

    Probably the best thing I've figured out over the years on my own is to do more hard, long rides, but ride less overall each week, with more frequent rest days. This seems a bit like what Kerk discusses above.

    Finally, for many, having a structured program seems to add to the fun.
    The drive towards achievement and success is the motive power of civilization.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the input. Everyone was objective and honest without bashing the other option.

    The coach in question & I had a little meeting. Went over the needs & wants, expectations and realities of the coach/athlete relationship. We agreed to give it a go!

    I'm looking forward to seeing how much more fun and success (and learning experiences along with the new levels of pain) I will have with the structure and accountability. Riding and racing smarter, not just harder.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo View Post
    I have heard that smoking crack doesn't help.
    My training plan for 2013 just went out the window.
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  18. #18
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    no coach, the people I know with a coach you never see any more being they are riding by themselves doing specifics (intervals, etc).

    I'd rather have fun riding with friends and be a little slower race day then have such a structured training I'm miserable riding solo all the time.

  19. #19
    DLd
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    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post
    Thanks for all the input. Everyone was objective and honest without bashing the other option.

    The coach in question & I had a little meeting. Went over the needs & wants, expectations and realities of the coach/athlete relationship. We agreed to give it a go!

    I'm looking forward to seeing how much more fun and success (and learning experiences along with the new levels of pain) I will have with the structure and accountability. Riding and racing smarter, not just harder.
    I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results, or more like freaking astounded. I got so fit when I worked with a coach, I was truly surprised. I was like ah-ha! So that's how those guys do it. It's not just training 20 hours a week (I was averaging about 10), it's training smart like you said. In just six months I ended up fitter and faster than I was in my 20's when I raced and trained with my friends on a collegiate team for three years. The Paleo Diet for Athletes helped a ton too. I didn't have the solid nutritional plan back in college. Good luck!
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by douglas View Post
    no coach, the people I know with a coach you never see any more being they are riding by themselves doing specifics (intervals, etc).

    I'd rather have fun riding with friends and be a little slower race day then have such a structured training I'm miserable riding solo all the time.
    For some it is different, I always ride solo. I prefer it so I can set my own pace and enjoy the quite of the woods/road. When I see groups on the trail, they are usually standing around waiting for slower riders. But to each their own, that is what is nice about biking you can be social or solo either way is good.

  21. #21
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    Time is my limiting factor, so I hired a gardener.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by lamb View Post
    For some it is different, I always ride solo. I prefer it so I can set my own pace and enjoy the quite of the woods/road. When I see groups on the trail, they are usually standing around waiting for slower riders. But to each their own, that is what is nice about biking you can be social or solo either way is good.
    I find it best to mix it up. I have a hard time with recovery rides, so I make these into group rides with friends. Or I will do a morning of intervals then an afternoon group ride. That way I don't get burned out riding solo all the time and I'm still able to get my workouts in.

    Yes, get a coach. I found that I reached a plateau and a coach helped me break through that.
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  23. #23
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    Good luck with the new coach!

    I think it depends a lot on whether you are looking to go BOP-MOP, MOP-FOP, or FOP-winning. I had a coach for a very short time and have been around a fantastic coaching program for a while now. I would say that unless you just had money to burn or if are trying to go FOP-winning that coaching is probably not what you need. Trainerroad is the best training tool money can buy. An entire year subscription is less than a month of coaching. The vast majority of BOP's and MOP's just need to ride more....plain and simple. Ride, recover, rinse, repeat.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamdicky View Post
    My training plan for 2013 just went out the window.
    Don't change now! It's always worked for you in the past! No secret there.

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