Stopping using a coach

I have been using a coach for about 18 months now and it has worked out well. Hit some goals, raised my FTP, been more disciplined in my training and felt answerable to someone.

All the reasons people chose to use a coach. However I am now thinking about stopping as I think I have learnt most of the big takeaways and it seems quite repeatable now.

I have been a TR user for close to 5 years now and I did follow plans but invariably misssed sessions or did my own thing. Therefore the coach proved useful for keeping me on track.

Have any other users been in the same situation and have binned their coach, followed a plan and have learnt from their coached experience?

~5-6 years with the same coach and I’m ~6 weeks into the non coaching life.

The biggest change I’ve seen other than the overall approach i’ve laid out (which is of my choosing) is the lack of accountability you mention. I just had 2 weeks and am in the 3rd of making changes straight to the plan which gets me nervous. I am relying on some old lessons and ‘what would my coach say’ as I make those changes. I’m sure I will screw it up somewhere down the line…

So far I haven’t completely blown anything off that I wouldn’t have with the coaches advice.

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And that’s the beauty of this forum.

When in doubt, share your planned changes here and some clever people can help you see if it’s a good or bad direction.

It’s not one-on-one or guaranteed, but the feedback here is nothing short of impressive most days.

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True true…

If i think back to most plan changes I ever made with my coach it was a text that went like

“Yo…X happened, I’m thinking I’ll do this ride or that ride.”

Coach: “Bummer about X - do this ride”

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If your relationship with a coach mostly amounts to scheduling or rescheduling workouts, I’d suggest evaluating your options.

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If you need someone to yell at you to keep getting on the bike then just going with TR and no coach may be hard. The #1 way to get faster on the bike is to get on the bike consistently. If paying someone to help make that happen for you is the only way… then maybe that’s what you need. But if your coach is only doing that and shuffling workouts then demanding $200/month, I would dump them and find someone else.

Only when I feel I have maxed out my potential with TrainerRoad would I consider a coach.

Right now I don’t even think that will be needed.

TrainerRoad offers everything I need. If I only got on a bike if it was to please a coach or not to feel guilty because I was paying $$$ then I would have to slap myself across the face and kick myself in the ass.

That shouldn’t be the reason to have a coach.

I would say in 80% to 90% of cases just doing what TrainerRoad suggests will remove any need for a coach.

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This is veering off topic.

Please refocus on what the OP is asking, for those who HAVE used coaches and then STOPPED using one.

The other speculation and discussion on motivation and such is interesting, but better in a separate discussion.

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I have a very good relationship with my coach. He offers good advice and his qualities are not in doubt in my mind. He sets my schedule , I do have input into it but he is much more focusssed on the bigger picture.

On many forums there is a tone of negativity about using a coach but it has been very helpful to me. I made big improvements in my 25MTT time based on his work. Bearing in mind I am 61 that is not a bad thing.

I was really asking whether those who had gone back to TR plans had managed to retain the discipline that tends to go with using a coach. Not $200 a month but £109 which is about $125 dollars- not quite sure what the current exchange rate is.

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I’ve worked with two different coaches in roughly the last ten years and am personal friends with 3-4 guys who have good coaching businesses running.

First coach I worked with was highly regarded, I liked him personally and he focused on time trials which I wanted to improve. Spent six months with him and it just didn’t work. First, he was giving me his workouts not the workouts I needed. Second, while we had good entering dialog and I’d known him for over a year before employing him, I wasn’t getting the pre-week and post-week feedback I wanted or felt I needed. Third, he got pinched for doping. That doesn’t particularly relate to coaching competence but it did explain some behaviors. In any case, felt no remorse at leaving him and chalked up the dollars spent to gaining experience.

Second coach was much less well regarded and less known. He raced the same series and events I did so there was a high frequency of face to face interaction. He was looking to build his portfolio and offered me a great monthly rate for “high touch” plan. I eventually brought him to our race team as a sponsor and he ended up coaching 4 or 5 of our TT focused riders. All to good results at a very good value. He and I worked extremely well together for about four years and I’m grateful for what he taught me about training and racing as well as our friendship. I eventually left this coach as he stopped racing, his business grew too large, the personal interactions went to very low level and it was clear he was over-extended and relying on cookie cutter plans. That isn’t all as negative as it sounds and I was happy his business was thriving. But it was no longer helping me achieve results and we’d probably outgrown each other in the athlete - coach manner that happens. In fairness, I also wanted to coach myself and see if I could do it well.

Am currently self coached for the past three seasons and very happy about it. Nobody but myself to blame or congratulate for results or lack thereof. Utilize TR mostly for the interface, calendar and workout database. It’s fun and I enjoy completing the TR workouts. Have used Chad’s very solid plans as a rough guide but with high modification.

Should note that my version of self-coached is not 100% me. Have a good friend and top level USAC coach whom I consult 2-3 times per season to go over what I’ve planned and how it is going. We’ll talk once before Build to go over current fitness, goal races and plan. Then again toward start of season and again mid-season. Along with general e-mail bantering through the year and I see him at a few races. I do compensate him for professional time spent with me by insisting he sends me a bill.

Take homes:

  • No question that formal coaching can be hit or miss and value for cost is in the eye of the individual paying the bill. It will change over time for a variety of reasons and evaluating every season is more than fair.

  • Programs like TR are a great value and following the plans can achieve solid results. At some point though having personalized attention could prove useful to make new gains. Also, TR is training not racing. Racing is not just about a power number. It’s OK to nail your training but need help in other areas such as nutrition or race craft.

  • If self-coached you definitely need the self-discipline to plan and execute the plan. The third party accountability a coach offers is definitely motivating for many people. How much you are willing to pay for that third-party accountability is again an individual item.

  • I think a coach that only offers power based training plans has limited value. I would look for someone who can do that and also offer good race advice and race evaluation to help develop your race craft.

  • If self-coached it may still be worth having a second set of eyes look at your plan and data. We all have blind spots.

To answer the key question posed by John - I complete my workouts and yearly plan without third party or coach-accountability. It’s a toss up to if I’m better or worse w/out a coach. But I do take pleasure in planning an executing my own training vs having the plan sent to me each week.

Good luck,

Mark

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Perhaps. But the other comments including mine, may help him come to a decision.

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After almost ten years self-coached, I worked with a coach for two seasons. He told me that he thought I knew more about what was “under the hood” than most athletes he worked with, I suppose based on the depth of questions I would ask him. I eventually figured a lot more out about myself and my capabilities by focusing not on plan development but simple execution and how I felt at different levels of stress. With that knowledge, I stopped using my coach and raced a PR on a 70.3, qualified for Boston, and have coached a runner and a triathlete to event PRs myself.

I considered my coach valuable because I learned a lot about myself having the objective set of eyes reviewing my training. Now, I think I’m better equipped to manage my own training and so I do it myself again. I’ve found I learn a lot by reading and I have a hunger for data that keeps me objective with respect to my training. I know that my limiter is my cycling right now, hence Coach Chad is helping me with that now, ha!

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@John_Hallas yes.

My coach was awesome. No complaints. I stopped because of the nature of my job/schedule. It just made it very difficult to be coached. Gone (out of the country) for 4 days this week followed by 7 day block of no work followed by 3 day gone followed by 2 off followed by 4 gone etc…never the same week to week month to month. On top of that I’m “on call” so I never really know when I’m going to be gone…my choice for personal reasons.

IMO TR designs their plans very close (same concepts) as what my coach was doing back in '08-09. Periodization and training the three systems is still the same. For me the advantage of TR is I can move workouts around to fit my schedule. Also, as far as accountability goes, everyone who wants to check out who you are and what you’re doing can. Their is no hiding and I like that.

The most difficult aspect of being self coached is giving yourself rest. My coach was really good about tracking my riding and holding me back. On my own I’ve failed that miserably and have paid for it.

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For clarity, each user can make their entire account and history Public or Private, as they desire.

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I worked with a coach for about 2 years, until this spring. It was a hugely positive experience but ultimately had run its course. We parted on great terms and I’d recommend him to anybody. The main things I’ve learned from the process:

  • It felt weird at first having nobody to be accountable to and nobody directing the training. However, keeping a good written diary has really helped.
  • There is far more adjustment in my planning than I thought. Previously I just rolled along with the plan not appreciating how much it needed to be tweaked week to week to take account of fatigue, etc.
  • It’s far, far easier to plan holistically around life when you’re managing your own training. Trying to explain the nuances of my routine and how it changes by email or phone was a nightmare!
  • The saving in money is nice!

I’d say that coaching is awesome, especially for those at the very top of the sport or newcomers, but as an average Joe with access to TR and an inquisitive mind, I’ve been able to successfully self coach. Good luck!

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Thank you for all those who have taken the time to pen often lengthy responses.

I have listened and the experiences do seem similar. If you pick up what you learned from the coaching experience and are sensible with your planning - either by using TR plans or being self-selective- benefits can be still made.

I have cancelled my coaching and I will post a separate post on how i am going to move forward.

Thanks once again to all who read and or responded.

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As a coach myself, one of my goals is to be fired eventually. I believe that I need to turn my athletes into coaches themselves. I do not mean in the multilevel marketing sense but in the sense that they know the whys and what’s and how’s of training and know their body so well that they can create their own program, modify it as needed, and be able to roll and respond to issues as they arise without difficulties.

I envolve my athletes in the coaching process as much as possible. There is no black box of coaching. I explain the purpose behind each workout, ask them to be engaged in the process and provide feedback themselves and even make suggestions based on what they have learned. Quite a few of my athletes have turned to me and said that they no longer need me and when they say that I am thrilled. I step back, monitor their progress and provide occasional feedback if they need it, but otherwise I sit back and am a proud coach.

For some, this does not work. They prefer me to do everything and don’t really care about the why. They have busy lives and hire me to do the work of creating a successful program so that they don’t have t worry about it. All good. I still envolve them in the process so that they know the ins and outs, but they prefer (or don’t trust themselves) not to create their own programs

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Please keep us posted on your progression. Their is a lot of knowledgeable people here so if questions arise I am sure you can reach out and get a bunch of answers. You don’t need a coach to get answers :slight_smile:

I would wish you good luck but with TrainerRoad you don’t need luck

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@Nate this is a statement that goes with the thread on reaching non-users!

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