When I ran a marathon several years ago, my training plan was just to go for countless long runs. Now that I’m older and wiser, I’m going to be more sophisticated in training for Tremblant and that means getting a good coach.
The first question any potential coach has asked is: what is my goal for the race? This is a helpful first sign, since their approach to my training really should be based on my goal. Plus, it has been a good motivator for me to actually share my goal out loud, which helps me think it through.
My goal is to simply finish, while enjoying the race. I’m not aiming for any podium. Although I know it will be tough — the challenge is part of the point, after all — I want to avoid crawling across the finish line, bruised and battered after a long grind. My broader purpose is to use the event as a good excuse to keep active and try out new things. I hope that I’ll be doing events like this for the next decade or so. If the training burns me out or causes injuries, in the pursuit of some unattainable ranking at the event, we’ve missed this purpose.
I’ve also been thinking through what I’m looking for in a coach. There are lots of potentially valid approaches to coaching. I need to find one that aligns with my needs and expectations. In general, there are three things, in order, that I’m looking for.
- Knowledge: There’s so much to learn! As I said at the beginning, there’s the training plan that mixes all three sports in the right amounts without causing injury. There’s also sorting out nutrition for the race to keep energy optimized. And gear (so much gear!) from bikes to wetsuits and apps to goggles. Without good advice, I could waste a lot of money on shiny, unnecessary gadgets. A seasoned coach can help with all of this.
- Community: I’m generally autonomous and would naturally orient towards doing much of my training solo. Despite this, I joined a running group about a month ago and have really enjoyed the camaraderie and support. So, I’ll be looking to a coach to help get me connected with the local community, especially for the cycling. Long-distance rides will be much better with other people.
- Accountability: I think I’m pretty goal oriented and persistent (some would say stubborn). I don’t yet know if this will persist over 6 months with significantly more training. Having a coach track my progress, adjusting where necessary, will help keep me honest and on target.
Hopefully, not too much to ask for!