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Monday, December 3, 2012

Should you hire a coach?

PC Division National Championship Medal- 2012
Capitol of Texas Triathlon

"Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things." Peter Drucker

Have you been trying to figure out a workout plan you should use for a running event or triathlon? Trying to get into better shape or get faster. All of these can be reasons to hire a coach. Based on my experience here are some ways you can benefit from hiring a coach or trainer;

Injury Prevention
One of the biggest benefits of hiring a coach is they can prevent the over-training that can lead to injury. Especially when starting a training program, you feel fresh, you are excited and you want to work hard. It is very easy to do too much and get hurt.  A serious injury can ruin all your efforts and cause you to miss an event you trained weeks and months to do. They do this by helping you to develop a training plan and sticking with it. They will find out how the training program is going and make adjustments if you are getting sore or tired..
Proper Technique
I am a self-taught swimmer. How do I know I have the proper stroke unless I get someone to look at it?   A coach can watch you run or swim and provide feedback.  A coach can watch you as you lift weights and provide correction on your form. Not only will you be a more efficient athlete, but one less likely to get injured.


A good coach is also an athlete or at least a former one. They’ve raced and can share their advice on transitions, race day prep, race strategy, nutrition and a host of issues. If they don’t know themselves more than likely they know someone that can help you.  I know my coach has helped me to be better at race transitions during the triathlon.   She has given me a race day triathlon list so I don’t forget anything important on race day. ( If I don’t forget the list)  The advice needed will be different for each athlete. A good coach will find the areas you need help and adjust them. Much better than trying to figure out everything on your own.

If you know you will be reporting to someone you are more likely to complete workouts.  That can be good motivation for getting through a training plan.  I know if I am paying someone to put a plan together I am more likely to follow through.

Reaching Goals
Whether you want to finish a marathon, qualify for Boston, finish an Iron man event or get faster a coach can help. They can give you specific drills to get faster and be more comfortable over whatever distance you plan to cover.  A good coach will find out your goals and devise not only a workout plan but specific workouts to reach your goals. 

One of the things I am working on is my swim stroke. My coach has suggested equipment to use to get better and she suggests workouts to do in the pool. I never would have figured this out on my own since I have very little swim training.

 I had my best season as a runner when coached by Milwaukee running coach John Herod. He taught me about speed work and tempo runs. I consistently placed in my age group in local races because of the things he taught me. Things I still use as a runner today.

A coach can save you time. Sure you can put together a training program, having a coach do it may save you valuable time.  I write up a plan and have my coach review it.   I like the planning part and have a good idea of what works for me.  I use my coach for cycling and swim work outs and to review what I have put together. A coach will help you do things right and make sure you are doing the right things to meet your goals.  My coach Joy Von Werder, helped me place 1st in the PC division of the National Championship last year in Austin. I will be going back this May and hope to place first in the T3 division this time, which would mean a spot on Team USA.

Technology is constantly changing and can be confusing.  A coach can help you sort through it all.  There are some good tools for runners and triathletes and a coach can help you pick the one that will benefit you the most.   One of the first things my coach suggested was a bike computer with a cadence meter.  It is an essential piece of training equipment for cyclist and I didn’t have one. Thinking about a GPS watch, heart monitor, and power meter? A coach can help you sort it all out.

One of the biggest challenges is managing your own fears and doubts. A good coach prepares you mentally as well as physically.  I talk with my coach quite often about how workouts are going and she is especially helpful when I get discouraged or frustrated with my CMT limitations.  She helps me with race selection and can tell when I need a break.   I get nervous right before a race and go over detail after detail. I ask lots of questions to get everything straight.  My coach walks me through it all so I can be calm by race day.

There are lots of options out there for coaching and in a future blog I’ll discuss how to find a coach and some options besides one on one coaching.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have almost 100 members in 17 states. If you wish to join us visit our web site.

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

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