Why choose coaching ?March 11th, 2021 by paulhart
Written by Nick Knight.
Why Choose Coaching ?
If its about the numbers then does an 83W FTP improvement in 18 months tick all the boxes you have as a recreational, or competitive cyclist. What about a reduction in weight of 4 KG meaning a 1.4 w/per KG improvement – surely this will make you faster and better at climbing the dreaded hills, right ?. Or is there more to it than just this ? – I think it is time to recognise that although the numbers are important there is a lot more to coaching than just what your training peaks / Zwift etc. account can tell you.
Consistent and structured tailored workouts
What are you training for, Crit racing, TT, Cyclocross or just to be a better Sunday rider ? All of these as you get more and more into your cycling discipline become about being better than you were the last time out. Whether it be getting the extra few seconds between you and the KOM that has always eluded you or smashing a PB on a TT that you particularly want to target. Consistency and structure to your training will get you there. As a single minded cyclist you feel you can do this, you know what is needed and smash out sessions on the road or turbo and feel you are really pushing yourself, but what about the days you get home tired and really can’t be bothered ? Do you just take a rest day and hit it harder tomorrow, or do you get on the bike and carry out the plan as you know your coach really can see through an excuse. What about a recovery week, is this lying on the couch watching Netflix or is it lower intensity sessions designed to keep the blood flowing while the muscles get stronger from weeks of hard work.
The mental side of the sport
Following a consistent and structured plan you will get stronger and fitter, but what about when it comes to putting yourself in that uncomfortable zone – you know the zone where things really start to hurt, and your head is saying that’s enough. What about the really uncomfortable zone where you really have only ever been in the last 30 seconds of a race sprint, but now you are planning to spend 5 x 5 minutes there. How do you cope with this? How do you get through it without throwing up, or worse still chucking the towel in? Progressive intervals and consistent tweaks to sessions with your coach mean that what once seemed impossible is now part of your warmup for an important race, and you have moved on. Strategies to cope with pain, race craft and power outputs or HR bands needed in certain areas of a race will be discussed and programmed in. Once you have successfully completed and achieved a goal, you set a new benchmark and most importantly of all build trust and confidence in yourself, you can do this, it will hurt but I will be OK. The human body is capable of so much, the power of the mind and ability to cope with pain or adversity is what sets you apart and will in turn make you a stronger and faster cyclist. Training this ability is a side of coaching that will not be represented by numbers, unless of course we are talking reduced race times and PB’s.
The team and camaraderie of like-minded individuals
We must all be nuts right? Wrong. We all have a common goal and that is to improve, however sometimes you will need to speak to others in the same process to validate what is happening and work through particularly hard blocks of training. Being in a coaching team is what helps this process work. We are all part time athletes, and have similar stresses of work, life in general and this killer session at the end of a long day. Group sessions on Zwift using discord help this as you can speak to others and more importantly hear them suffering as well, its not just you then !!, this session really does hurt !!. This really starts to come together when you start to see a number of you at a race. We don’t talk before the race, no way we are in the zone……. But after this is a great place to be, to share experiences, times achieved and where we think we finished individually and importantly did we win the team prize?
So, I ask again – why choose coaching ?