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  1. #1
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    Personal coach or semi-customized 12 week plans?

    Talk to me about coaching for a bit. I have some questions/reservations about continuing with my coach that I used last year and was thinking about going "coachless" this next year. Not sure what to do.

    I'm working with a local guy, who is strong as hell, smart, but works a lot on FEEL. There is no evaluation of power data/hr data or anything like that. While training is based on HR Zones, it's "try to really stay in zone X", with no evaluation of the training other than "how did it feel". There is a LOT of "how did it feel" (which is great), but not "well based on your data, it couldn't have felt X,Y,Z". I'm a computer guy, a nerd, and a data nerd. I want charts, graphs, numbers. The more the better. "That line is my xyz and therefore I didn't feel as good even though I though I did"

    Not trying to knock it at all, and in fact, it was working great when I didn't care about the data as much, which was last year. It wasn't that expensive and also got me a lot of information such as race strategy, nutrition, bottle usage, etc etc. I felt it was money very well spent.

    So far this offseason, I've really bought into the CrossFit methodology and really like that to improve my cross training and work on strength. I've used it to fix my patella tracking issue and as such, I really am liking it. I plan on absolutely continuing this throughout my racing year, but will reduce it to 2 or 3 times a week, and go 80% on the efforts instead of 100% and also maybe switch to the "CrossFit Endurance" methodology for some of the workouts. Basically instead of other strength workouts, I shall be doing CrossFit.

    Having said that, CrossFit is going to cost $100 a month. I don't want to do another $X a month on top of that with a coach.

    So I was thinking about going with the 12 week internet plans. I talked to Lynda from LW Coaching and she set me up with a stacked plan setup. 12 week base plan followed by a 12 week 100 mile finisher plan and then a 12 week 100 mile PR plan. This works me into 2 peaks for 2 (A) races, along with including 2 more 100 mile (B) races into my training, along with local 6 hour races instead of the longer training rides. I already bought one of the 100 mile plans a while back, so total out of pocket for this is only $200 for the whole year.

    Also, I do have power on my road bike but not on the mountain bike. So this season I do want to dabble with power in the sense that I will have power numbers for all my road biking, which will include long distance tempo rides, FTP numbers, hill repeats, etc, but I will not be spending the $2500 on a MTB power sensor, so I don't yet want to incorporate a full "power training" coach. I think I might be ready for that for 2014 if everything goes well this year.

    Cliff Notes: So after this diarrhea of the mouth, my question is, do you guys think for a guy of my skill level (low) there is a benefit to a "real" coach, vs taking a generic training plan which has been customized to fit into my schedule?

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    All good thoughts and questions.

    First of all, if you haven't done so already, maybe you can approach your current coach and ask him/her to spend more time on the areas that you want to get feedback on. Maybe they can provide the daily data that you want?

    LW Coaching has an excellent reputation so I don't think you can go wrong with that direction if you are focused on a fixed plan solution.

    Pretty much all of my athletes are trg via wattage with a strong focus on daily data analysis/program adjustment. The athletes who love data (charts/graphs/numbers/comparatives, etc) really enjoy wattage based trg and like to review each sessions output. The athletes who aren't into reviewing their trg sessions immediately after completing them still appreciate the resulting benefits of wattage trg. Whether an athlete is into data or is indifferent about data, it's my job to analyze that data on a daily basis and give them feedback. I charge the same amount per month whether an athlete is on wattage trg, or they are on HR trg. Personally I prefer to coach wattage based athletes.

    Having wattage on your road bike will work nicely for mtb racing, when the weather turns ugly you can mount the road bike on a trainer or rollers, and of course in better weather it lets you put in excellent road wattage sessions.

    Getting a coach, or not, is a choice often decided by budget, seasonal goals and ability to train within a framework of intelligent weekly sessions. For me, a good coaching/athlete fit would be someone with races already circled on the calendar and who is excited to push themselves to see what they are capable of. Whether that person only has 8hrs a week to train or 16hrs a week to train is not as important as their focus on being the best they can be when they toe the line. That's not to say an un-coached athlete can't have excellent results, because they can.

    I'm not sure if this post helps you in anyway, just figured I would shoot out a quick response from a coaches perspective. Take your time to make the right decision for you; look around, ask around, eventually something will pop up that makes sense. Good luck.

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