Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thoughts on Coaches and Training Groups

Hi again. See, I really am back (and blogging)!

I'm really hesitant to write what's on my mind because I don't want to offend anyone and I'm sure that no amount of caveats or clarification will keep someone from being upset, but ya know what, this is my blog and it's something I'm conflicted over so there.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I'm in the process of looking for a triathlon coach. I've gotten a few leads here and there, but more than anything, I've seen a slew of tri discussion board comments that have relay big problems with tri coaches - not emailing, not helping, bad workouts, etc. I've seen prices ranging from the couple hundred to the thousands for a few months of training. 

Don't get me wrong, in my spare time, I'm a trainer myself, so I know that a lot of it is dependent upon who you want to train and if it's your full time job or not. I use my training money to purchase impractical shoes, so there's that.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. I know I can't train without a plan, or even a plan that I found online. I need someone to help me with swim form and frankly, help me train beyond where I think I can go. I think that Victoria said it very appropriately in her last blog post about Coaching and Goal setting, "The athletes can't really do this [goal setting] alone, since they lack outside perspective and ability to assess objectively." Amen. I could not agree more.

I contacted a tri coach and basically threw it all out there - I'm a marathoner, but not the kid of person you see and go "oh she must be a runner." I can teach a great spin class, but I have yet to try and take my new bike out on the road and I can't even talk about swimming.

I decided that while I was waiting for her response, I'd flip through a other coaches' websites in the area. Holy smokes, so many coaches, so many endorsements, but I've also been in advertising. Who really IS good? Who will fit my personality? I don't have months to figure out that I don't like someone...or even really weeks.

I read an opinion on one tri forum that kinda talked smack about coaches and how most people benefit from doing programs (i.e. TNT) instead. Interesting perspective and since I have so many friends who have taken up the noble cause of raising money for a cure for breast cancer/lung cancer/diabetes/blood cancer/leukemia, etc., I can say that almost all of them have had an excellent experience through this approach. The fundraising feels good, the coaches are usually wonderful, and the camaraderie through the networking is top notch.

But it's not my thing. I want it to be! I am so blessed to not have been close to anyone who has been seriously affected by these horrible things and so, while I know the x thousands of dollars I would raise would be helpful, I don't think I'll join a fundraising team because: 

- I feel, personally, disingenuous asking for someone to pay for my training, essentially. I know the money goes to the research and cure and treatment of said ailment, but since the real point for me would be to take the training, I feel like I'm just asking someone to cover a fun activity for me. I feel the same way about doing a charity slot for a sold out race. If the non profit for which I am fundraising is not near to my heart, I feel that I am essentially asking someone to pay for my extracurriculars. 

Does this make any sense? No. I volunteer regularly with Miriam's Kitchen and I don't know anyone who is homeless and I have no problem telling someone they should buy a ticket for our gala. Maybe it's because the person who donates gets pretty awesome food out of it. (btw, the gala is coming up and you should totally buy a ticket!)

Also, before I get a firestorm of comments about this (I'd be so flattered! It would mean y'all read my blog!) I am 100% behind donating to my friends' causes (if you've sent me an email lately, I AM donating, I just need another paycheck first!) and think it's a great system by which non profits can raise money and provide a service to people and empower them. Good on y'all! It's just not for me.

- I'm selfish. As in, I want the focus on me selfish. The life of a runner is pretty solitary. I'm alone for most of my training and if I'm going to pay for a race entry and a trainer, I want that focus and attention on me. I'm glad I don't have a twin, because this may cause some conflict. When I finish a race, I don't want to see other people other than my family/support crew and whoever did the race with me (usually 1-2 people, tops). Ragnar doesn't count. That's a party on wheels/feet.

- I'm surprisingly shy. I became a runner because when Chadd left me, I needed to be alone to deal with well...everything! And may I just say, blood, sweat and a lot of tears later, I could come home from a long run and face the world. I just don't know if I could face a group workout where I flail in the water or fall over in my clips on a bike. If a coach is there with me, and it's just us while I puke on a track, I can come home and look myself in the mirror. One group workout with an epic fail and I'll be terrified to go back to workouts. 

The good news is that while I was panicking and writing this blog post, a trainer emailed me, let's just hope I don't need to grab a third job to pay for her...

And PS: I know precisely 0 about triathlons. What I said above may be bunk. Feel fee to disagree.

1 comment:

  1. While I am one of those runners who got into running longer distances due to programs such as Team in Training, I can completely understand why that program can't and won't work for everyone. Truth of the matter is you gotta do what is best for YOU. TNT was good for me and a private coach will be good for you. With that said, after this TNT event that I am currently fundraising for, I am taking a break from it. I will continue to run, I will probably do some other sort of coaching to get better, or just run on my own.

    So I guess the point is that different things work for different people and you shouldn't have to explain your reasoning. If someone gives you crap for it, than that is their problem.

    Either way, you are going to ROCK the Half Ironman and I will definitely be there to watch you cross the finish line :-)