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October 2016 - Hiring a Coach

Coaches can be enormously helpful if you know what you need from them. They offer knowledge, accountability, perspective, encouragement, and support in different doses. The trick is finding a good match with your needs and your budget.

Having used Chris Carmichael's book, The Time Crunched Cyclist, extensively in 2015 and 2016 and been quite happy with the results I decided to work with a coach from Carmichael Training Systems. It might seem odd to pay for a coach when I was happy with the book and am quite knowledgeable about training, but the difference was the starting point.

After surgery, I had been completely off the bike for three months and had a lot of physical therapy to go and felt like I was starting from zero. It wasn't just re-activating existing fitness, it felt like I was rethinking my cycling identity - completely beginning again as a 47-year old woman who wants to race CX at the highest age-group level. At the time, looking at my dismal power numbers in my basement, it seemed a rather audacious ambition and I wanted someone to go through this with me - someone who wanted to hear about the details of how my legs felt after the last workout. I also knew a few things about myself.

I'm obsessive. If self-coached, it would be difficult to think about anything else. I would constantly doubt I'd constructed the plan correctly, I would worry I wasn't working hard enough and probably over do it, I would fuss and fester and sink enormous amounts of time. A coach solves that. I tell 'em what I want to do and how much time I will hold sacred for it, and they tell me what to do when.

I went with Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) because I appreciated the research behind the workouts in Charmichaels book. I felt the science was sound and knew CTS coaches would be thoroughly grounded in it and be able to help me make the most of my limited time.  CTS also had an affordable plan level, at least for someone who is highly self-motivated, so Josh Whitmore and I started working together.  So far it's been working. He's responsive when I have questions, usually answering the same day if not the same hour, posts my workouts well in advance and within the bounds of my schedule and even offers weekly phone check-ins.  CTS also coaches people in motorsports, so he knew what I needed for strength work to resume my moto activities. That was a bonus.

8/29/17 edit: For more about the coach athlete relationship, see this article on CTS.



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