Choosing a triathlon coach is a big decision. You want to make sure you’re working with someone who is going to help you achieve your goals, and who can be there for you through the ups and downs of training.
A good triathlon coach will be able to provide you with a training plan that fits your goals and abilities, as well as help you overcome any mental barriers to success. There are lots of different approaches to triathlon coaching, and you need to find one that suits your personality and goals – whether you’re an enthusiastic amateur seeking to step it up or a seasoned professional!
Why You Can Benefit From a Triathlon Coach
If you’re running your first triathlon, you could feel like you’re gearing up to participate in the Olympics. To be fair, you might as well be! There are few athletic events as daring and gruelling as a triathlon. It’s no small feat, so hiring a coach who knows how to help people prepare safely is a great investment.
This sentiment doubles for beginners — especially those coming from non-athletic backgrounds.
If you’re more experienced, a coach can still be beneficial. They can help you improve your performance, increase endurance, and build greater muscle strength through targeted regimes.
What to Look for in a Triathlon Coach or Training Buddy
Here are some questions to ask before you hire a coach or training buddy for a triathlon:
What’s their background?
Do they have triathlon coaching certification? Athletes can complete triathlon coaching courses through Triathlon Australia to become accredited coaches. Some coaches may be former competitive athletes, while others may still be competing themselves.
They also may tend to focus on one activity than another, or a particular skill, like endurance.
Ask them about their experiences, and their views on training. Make sure your philosophies line up before you work together. Depending on your goals, you might want to work with someone who has gone on to compete in events like the Ironman Series.
What types of training do they offer?
Some triathlon coaches specialise in a single sport; others are all-in-one experts. Their own background will influence what they do, and how they do it. Make a list of your own goals before hiring a coach/training buddy.
For example, if you want to swim faster, but someone tends to focus more on strength training, you probably aren’t the best match.
You’ll want to find a coach who focuses on the same disciplines as you, and can help you reach your goals in the most streamlined manner.
Do you like their personality?
Credentials aside, how do you like their company? Truth be told, you won’t enjoy training much from a pro if you can’t stand the way they coach. It’s important to respect your coach, but you should also genuinely like being around them.
Make sure you share some personal information about yourself when you meet. Get to know them a little too, and trust your gut. You should feel like this is a person you’d love talking to outside the context of coaching.
When you feel like you can open up to a coach or training buddy, it makes your experience a lot easier. You’ll find it much more beneficial in the long run when you’re comfortable sharing setbacks, uncertainties, and even anxieties.
The Difference Between an Amateur Coach vs Professional
Like triathletes, there are different levels of triathlon coaches. Some are geared toward beginners who just want to make it through their event and say, “I did a triathlon!”
Other coaches are there to help pro athletes reach their greatest potential. They’ve been there themselves, and now they want to pass the torch onto the next generation of champions.
The focus, experience, and purpose of a coach should match your own goals. If you’re just doing a triathlon for personal development, you really don’t need to spend time training like a professional. And vice-versa, a hardcore athlete will need a coach that can keep up with them and their needs.
Where to Find Triathlete Coaches/Training Buddies
Below are a few spots you can try to locate a good coach or training buddy for a triathlon:
- Join a local tri club
- Sign up for a triathlon training camp
- Look for triathlon online coaching
- Search online for credentialed coaches in your area
- Check with your event organisation team
Social media can also be a great spot to connect with potential buddies or trainers. Facebook groups are especially useful for getting to know other participants, and getting access to a network of other athletes.
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