Cycling is becoming popular, one if not the fasted growing sports the UK has seen in recent years. People are started riding a bike to lose weight, as a hobby or more frequently now for competition. Sports cars toys for middle aged men and women… not any longer the MAMIL’s or MAWIL’s have made a real positive impact on the progression of cycling over the past few years.
Cycling is steeped in old traditions mixed with new technology and you can find yourself lost with power meters and expensive heart rate monitors before you know it. This is all fine as long as you are able to make sense of the data which is not easy! It’s not all about the data you need to listen to advice talk tactics and prepare properly for big important events.
Reasons to have a cycling coach:
When talking to my clients it is clear that they feel a level of accountability by engaging a coach. They feel that they have to get the sessions done and done well as a watch full (and caring) eye is looking over them. If you are finding it hard to keep to a plan, then having a coach could be the way forward for you.
I can only speak for myself here but I believe coaching should be very personal as everyone has a different set of requirements. A coach will offer something on top of the ACL, CTL and TSB numbers Training Peaks pulls out of a power meter. Although we need a plan and structure in most people lives this can change frequently so I offer on-demand coaching which is continually adjusted as results improve and gains are made.
I feel that it is important to understand why you are doing specific sessions. With testing, we can highlight what needs to be improved. I have found that when someone understands the benefits and how specific training sessions will help them, a higher number of sessions are completed to the required standard.
Training can be stressful and it is important that an athlete is reassured and motivated during the difficult times. When things aren’t going right it’s important the coach is on hand to identify and explain the issues. This is especially important when in the final block of a training phase as fatigue may be high and motivation low.
More often than not your coach has been there and done it so they will have a wealth of experience in relevant areas. You can learn a lot from their stories and take valuable lessons which you can apply to your own experiences to aid progress.
Again, this is just from my own experience and is one of the main reasons why I love coaching. You will work harder for someone you like and enjoy improving with. I meet up with my athletes because I want to, and genuinely excited to see how they are improving. Conversations over coffee, Skype, or on the phone are more than likely where most of the fine tuning comes from.
At any level, this is really important and can even come into play for a sportive. Knowing the demands of the event or where to position yourself coming into a climb is important. Fitness is one thing but when competing, more often than not, everyone is fit. It’s the person who has a well-executed game plan who will come out on top.
This is how you can improve and make changes to either race tactics or training. We can identify what worked previously and what needs to be changed to get the best results. When you are chasing speed in a TT, for example, a quick analysis of a power file could improve a rider by over 30secs – just with the proper pacing strategy over 10miles.
It’s important to choose a coach who gives you the most amount of time and experience for your money. Someone who is proactive in their approach and genuinely wants you to become the best you can be. If you find one and work hard you’re well on the way to achieving your cycling goals – whatever they may be! Ride Safe!