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Saturday, December 15, 2012

When you can't afford a coach

Judy Coates  Chicago Team CMT member

Maybe hiring a coach isn't in your budget. Maybe you just like doing things yourself. In Either case there are alternatives to improving your performance.  Here are few ideas.
Triathlon Club
Tri Wisconsin here in Milwaukee sponsors a beginner triathlon class. The class includes a training plan, nutrition ideas and seminars on bike repair, transitions and wet suits.  A local vendor came the night we talked about wet suits so we could try them out in the pool. 
This group also publishes a weekly newsletter listing local group classes offered by member coaches.   I found my Compu-trainer class through their newsletter.  Last April they offered a swim clinic with video swim stroke analysis. They have a Wednesday night running group.  They have a Facebook site where members can communicate. If you have a training question or want to know about a race someone will probably know the answer.
The club brings in speakers. Last Saturday I attended a seminar on sports nutrition by registered dietician Monique Ryan.  It was free for members.  Monique does one on one nutrition consulting, but we got lots of good advice for free and a chance to buy her book if we wanted to learn more.
Membership in Tri Wisconsin also gets members discounts in some local races, discounts at local running stores and discounts with some national level vendors. My membership more than pays for itself in discounts.   Check in your area for a club you can join, some activities may be open to non members.  Finding a local triathlon club in your area to approve your triathlon skills.

Running Club

Check your local running club for training opportunities. The local Milwaukee running club, Badgerland Striders offers beginner and intermediate racing classes. I took the beginner class and we did track workouts where we learned about speed training, did tempo runs,  and learned about weightlifting and helpful stretches.  The last event in the class was a 5 K race. Doing track workouts is a lot more fun when you have company.  The Striders also sponsor weekly fun runs. They have a message board on their web site and a Facebook page. If you have a training question or need information about a race you can usually get a quick answer.

Running/Biking/Triathlon Stores
Most of these shops sponsor rides/runs.   Check with your local area to see what group activities are going on.  Most athletes are happy to help if you have an equipment or training question.  Working out with a group can be a great way to find experienced athletes to ask for advice.   Sometimes these training groups are pretty intense so check the pace they will be running or riding.  If you are really good you might be asked to join their sponsored team.

Group Training

Many coaches will offer group training. This can be a way to get the coaching you need, while splitting the cost with a group.  Joy Von Werder does this with her Train to Tri groups in Florida and Playtri in Dallas where Morgan Johnson coaches offers group session.    There are two local groups in Milwaukee offering group session, P3 and Tri Faster.  P3 has an Iron Man training group, offers classes and one on one training.

Taking a class can be a great way to improve running, biking or swimming. You get a group rate and some feedback on the specific sport. 
My bike leg is the weakest part of my triathlon. So I decided to take an indoor class this winter.  It will keep me fit through the winter and I am getting correction on my pedaling technique. I also got a VO2 analysis as part of the class to help plan my workouts.   Check your local YMCA, Health Club, Park and Rec department or local community college. 
The Milwaukee Public School system has a continuing education department. Two years ago I took a triathlon class with them.  The coach was a swim coach at the local high school and the class included feedback on your swim stroke.  It was fun to train with others and I worked harder when with the group than I did on my own.  They are offering a class again starting in January.
The same group also offers a Master’s swim program for triathletes.  The class includes coaching and workouts to improve performance.  They have a less intense class for beginners.
Check with your gym, YMCA, community center or school system for classes.


Books or videos can be a great alternative for the time crunched athlete. You can get your information on your schedule anywhere.   Do a search on Amazon for ideas. One of the great things about Amazon is they make recommendations for other items based on your current and past searches. You can pick up used books for a fraction of the price of new. If you are a Kindle user, most books  have a Kindle version. Here are just a few ideas from books I have used or are on my Amazon wish list.

Complete Triathlon Guide published by USA Triathlon
Hansen Marathon Method- Luke Humphrey
Chi Marathon- Danny Dreyer and Katherine Dreyer
Chi Running- Danny Dreyer and Katherine Dreyer
Cutting Edge Cycling- Hunter Allen
Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes- Monique Ryan
Triathletes Training Bible- Joel Friel
The Athletes Guide to Recovery- Sage Roundtree
Swim Secrets for Swimmers & Triathletes- Shelia Torimira
USA Triathalon Training Series-DVD

I have subscriptions to Runners World, Biking, Women’s Running and Triathlete Magazine. All of these magazines have articles on training plans, nutrition, workouts and other advice. I am still using a marathon training plan I got from Runner’s World many years ago. These publications can be a low cost source of training information.  Try out there plans and adapt so it works for you. I get a weekly email newsletter from Runners World full of training tips.

USAT Membership

I have a United States Triathlon (USAT) membership.  The USAT publishes an internet news letter with tips on workout plans, nutrition, training tips and just about anything you would want to know about participating in triathlons. They also post their vendor deals in this newsletter. You get the newsletter free as a USAT member. They also sponsor webinars on training topics and host a blog with contributions from USAT coaches.  Team CMT member Morgan Johnson is one of the contributors.

You can do a search on training plans and get what you are looking for from a variety of sources. Some are free, others are offered by coaches for a fee.

DC Rainmaker
This blog has extensive product reviews. Almost too extensive they get so detailed.  This triathlete also does race reviews, publishes how to guides and trip reports.  If there is a product on the market he has reviewed it. He also makes recommendation on products to buy.

Team MPI
Has an online site with coaching tips; you cans sign up for on line coaching and get their free email newsletter.  I subscribe to this site, there are lots of others out there.

I belong to a number of groups on the site for runners and triathletes. In addition to lots of people selling products and services, you will find members posting training tips or posting questions.  The members are great about offering advice on all aspects of training

Team CMT
If you are looking for advice, post a question on the Team CMT facebook site. We have lots of experienced athletes and coaches. One of us can probably help.

They have a facebook page and offer webinars, live chats and articles on triathlon training.

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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