As endurance athletes, it’s easy to get caught up in what other people are doing that has worked for them. Many are also, unfortunately, familiar with the experience that what worked brilliantly for a friend has worked poorly for you. We’re also familiar with the idea of one-time-purchase training programs, which outline workouts for a given period and then end after a target event or goal. Online programs are a wonderful way to start a structured, consistent, and progressive training plan (and Source Endurance Coaches have several on offer!), but once you’ve taken that program to completion, it’s often easy to plateau or fall off the wagon on training. Coaches are available for far more than simply writing workouts. Writing workouts is not coaching. That’s programming. While many coaches and programs have great workouts, they fail to adapt or progress their athletes with unique individual needs, and feedback is not even possible with a program. Here are 10 ways that Source Endurance coaching goes beyond simple programming and beyond following the local elites’ training plans:
1. Coaching is Professional
At Source Endurance, coaches are dedicated to their athletes. Coaches at Source Endurance are educated, both through college and continued professional coaching education through USAC, TrainingPeaks, and more. Your coach will be available (within reason, of course) for you to access when something goes wrong. With programming or the unresponsive coach, you can miss valuable information that can affect your training significantly. Should you do the workout when you’re sick? Can you rearrange the days in a program? Are you consistently unable to complete a workout, and should you alter it if that’s the case? These questions can be answered, but only if you have someone to ask.
2. Coaching is Individual
You are a unique athlete from your age, height, and weight all the way to more complicated physical attributes such as muscle fiber composition and VO2max. Your schedule and daily stresses are unique as well. These attributes mean that the program not the same program for anyone else.
3. Coaching is Adaptable
Have you ever had a disturbance in training that threw off an entire week of a 6-week program? This is another way that even the best programs can fall short. A coach can make the most of what you have when you actually have it. Source Endurance coaches are knowledgeable about how to adapt your training to your life, not trying to adapt your life to training, as programs can tend to encourage.
4. Coaching is Progressive
Coaches at Source Endurance use WKO4, an advanced analytical toolkit that allows them to follow your progress in complex and deep ways. Simply upload your data and your coach can see where you’ve been strong, where you’ve been weak, and what things have helped to change those things for the better. Progression in workouts is often seen in programming, too, but WKO4 allows us to take that several steps further by including your entire performance history and progressing you from where you are in the areas that will help you improve your performance outcomes.
5. Coaching is Specific
Whether you’re aiming for a state or national championship jersey or simply trying to lose weight and become fitter, Source Endurance coaches assist you in preparing for YOUR specific goals. The demands of time trialing differ from crit racing, which differs from cyclocross and so on. If you want to do more than one, good luck with programs. Your body’s energy systems and metabolism require specific preparation for specific events, and the workouts that target these systems aren’t often intuitive. Coaches can both plan and explain the reasoning behind different workouts that maximize your potential across disciplines.
6. Coaching is Cost-Effective
A new bike can help your racing, somewhat. Without doing anything, new wheels can shave a few seconds off your local 40k TT. Coaches can help you shave minutes off your time and identify areas of improvement that can make you leaps and bounds better. Perhaps you have a poor aerodynamic position and can’t seem to go faster even when you’re riding at higher power outputs, or have the best w/kg of your friends but can’t seem to win the town sign sprint. This is where some of the greatest gains are made, but it’s not something you can buy outside of an experienced and professional coach. You can view SE’s price points and services here.
7. Coaching Holds You Accountable
Miss a day on a program and you’re not too bothered. No one even knows. Often, accountability is what holds people back from making changes in training or improvements in performance. Accountability is a major driver in motivation and can really make a big difference in progress. People tend to have a higher desire to follow through when they’re accountable, and a coach is the perfect person to be accountable to.
8. Coaching is Customizable
Your coach’s job is to meet you where you are and make you a better athlete. This is different from programming because it can focus the conversations and the information that you get on the things that you need to improve. You can discuss with your coach how the training and racing plans work for you, specifically. This can mean moving workouts to the time and day that you can complete them, or changing the workouts to fit your schedule. It can also mean dedicating time to teaching you the strategic and tactical nuance that programs can’t offer.
9. Coaching is Collaborative
Choosing a company like Source Endurance for coaching has benefits that may not be immediately apparent. For example, Source Endurance has a nutritionist, a cyclocross and mountain bike coach, experience in winter riding and indoor training, bike fitters, and further connections with numerous other experts all around the cycling industry. With these resources, SE coaches are able to collaborate, discuss, and discover the answers to questions they don’t know, rather than simply settling for their own knowledge and experience or taking shots in the dark with Google.
10. Coaching includes Tactics
Source Coaches are not simply athletes who have decided to coach, they’re coaches with experience and expertise in teaching others how to train and how to race. Source Endurance clients have numerous national championships, and Source Endurance coaches can analyze both your data and individual feedback and come up with tactical and mental improvements to push your racing beyond simple FTP and 5s power. These are the skills and techniques that use what YOU have to help you achieve the best results possible. From pacing to in-race tactics, coaches do what programming can’t in terms of consistently and progressively improving your ability to race, eat, and train smarter on your way to being your best.
11. Coaching is Science-Based
Scientific research is published regularly, but it’s often overlooked, misinterpreted, or flat out inapplicable to you as an athlete. We stay on top of the literature and take an in-depth look at the articles to determine what the valuable information is and how it can (or can’t!) apply to the individuals that we coach.
12. Coaching Relieves Stress
The goal of training is to improve, but there are so many ways to do that. There are hundreds and even thousands of great workouts, but placing them in the wrong time or place leads to ineffective training. Programming can miss the mark with workouts, but the planning and scheduling of workouts can be a huge source of stress that’s made entirely unnecessary with a coach.
13. Coaching is FUN
Having a coach should be FUN! It’s a unique relationship where your goals and those of your coach are the same: help you to reach your peak. This doesn’t mean aggressively responding to workouts that you “failed”, it means that we help focus your goals and your training towards the things that you need to improve. Often, you will be pushed, hard. Other times, you’ll be guided to relax and let the recovery process adapt you into a better athlete. When you make poor tactical or training choices, we’ll point it out, help you realize it, and move towards improving and learning from those mistakes. In many ways, coaches act as mentors, and I’m a firm believer that this relationship is a fun one.
These are just some of the ways that a Source Endurance coach can be a game changer for your training and results. Don’t settle for a local speedy friend’s “coaching” program. Commit to a professional and knowledgeable coach to give you more than a program. Programs are great when used appropriately, but coaches can put you on the fast track to maximizing your time and efficiency in getting faster, fitter, and better at racing and riding your bike. For those who have coaches, feel free to comment with additional ways your coach has helped you improve and how you’ve taken advantage of hiring a coach!