By CTS Coach Maddison Russell
When considering hiring a cycling coach, it’s extremely important to do your due diligence. Whether you are progressing from being a self-coached athlete or a static cycling training plan there are a lot of bases you need to cover. If you are handing over the keys to your training, you want to make sure that you can communicate well and trust your new coach to help you achieve your goals.
So where do you begin, what do you need to consider during your search, and how do you finally take the plunge into hiring a personal cycling coach? Below I dive into all the main aspects you need to consider before determining if hiring a cycling coach is right for you.
What Are The Benefits Of Having A Cycling Coach?
There are many benefits to having a cycling coach, the most obvious one being improved performance. Even just within the first few months of working with CTS Coaches, athletes have demonstrated 10-20% improvements in their functional threshold power (FTP).
Coaches help encourage this type of growth by getting athletes to adjust their training and focus on the right workouts. As an example, on your own, you may be inclined to ride too long or too hard on your recovery rides. A coach can give an objective perspective and keep those kinds of mistakes in check, leading to greater performance on key interval sets and bigger jumps in fitness.
Coaches take the guesswork out of what you need to do day to day. If you’re sick, you see a doctor. If your car breaks down, you take it to a shop. For athletes, a coach is that expert that can plug the holes in your training program and keep your performance on track.
Coaches are not just there for writing training plans though, they are typically experts in a lot of different areas within the cycling industry. Coaches have a wide network of resources that athletes can take advantage of. Coaches at CTS regularly work with athletes on things like bike fits, nutrition and hydration strategies, and physiological testing. All pieces to the puzzle that makes up a successful training program.
A coach is objective and can keep things in perspective. Many athletes struggle with an internal voice that can derail their workouts through negative feedback. Coaches aren’t just cheerleaders, they understand how to actually rewire an athlete’s approach so that they can push through mental barriers and reach new heights in training.
Not only that, but a coach can become a confidant and resource for athletes struggling with outside factors. An athlete and coach can develop a strong relationship over the course of working together and having open and honest dialogue about life’s challenges can be critical to seeing performance gains.
How Do I Decide If I Need A Coach?
When thinking about getting a coach, you need to have a holistic picture of your day-to-day performance and where you want to go. The more complicated your schedule is, the more a coach can help you maximize the quality of your workouts. If you are crunched for time, you can take the responsibility of structuring your own training and pass that to a coach who can look at your schedule and optimize your available training time.
If you are looking at peaking for specific events or targeting time or power goals, a coach can be extremely helpful in periodizing your training to avoid burnout and developing a proper taper leading into your goal event.
In addition, if you are coming off a year of plateaus and poor performances, it can be a good time to switch things up and see if coaching is right for you. As athletes, we have a tendency to overdo it. Many athletes who come to CTS who have struggled to improve their performance try to overcompensate by stacking on more training volume which leads to even worse results and frustration. A coach can analyze your past training and help you to understand how you need to balance your training to see the gains you want to make.
Remember though, just because you don’t have any specific events you are training for, doesn’t mean a coach can’t help you. Any athlete who is looking to better themselves, lose weight, feel better out on the road, or keep up with their friends on group rides can benefit from a cycling coach.
Don’t miss out on an opportunity to get better as a cyclist simply because you don’t see yourself as a “racer.”
How Much Do Cycling Coaches Cost?
There are a wide range of coaching pricing options within the industry and every coaching group and individual has a slightly different scale on which they operate. Generally speaking though, the more you are going to pay for coaching, the more feedback, and communication you will receive from that coach.
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Most coaching groups will offer a coaching package starting around $150-$250 dollars/month. There will oftentimes be higher levels of coaching packages that cost between $250-$400+ dollars per month. Those higher-end packages typically offer on-call coaching options with more experienced coaches, as well as, additional features such as more in-depth nutrition guidance.
Be careful spending much less than $150-$200 dollars/month on a coach. Just like with anything else, you get what you pay for, and sometimes lower price points can be a result of a coach having many more athletes. This can water down the coaching product and limit the time they can spend on you specifically.
For some people, this might be okay, but consider how much communication and feedback you want from a coach in addition to your budget to determine what coaching level is right for you. Keep in mind, the money you spend on coaching is an investment that will bring you closer to achieving your goals.
How Do I Find A Good Cycling Coach?
While the resources on the internet and social media make coaching more accessible than ever, it also presents a challenge for athletes trying to narrow down their swath of coaching options.
Start with the most basic approach, which is to search for coaches that most similarly match your background and have credentials to back up their coaching ability. Look for coaches who have extensive experience either competing or coaching athletes in your specific discipline or events first. These coaches will better be able to communicate with you in terms of the specific challenges you face during training.
Next, find coaches or coaching groups with a reputation for quality. Search for coaching reviews and first-hand experiences that other athletes have had. While a long list of certifications can be appealing on paper, you also want to make sure that athletes have had positive results working with that coach. Many athletes will fall into the trap of being attracted to a coach purely based on their impressive racing background. Don’t make this mistake. Not all great racers make great coaches. You want to make sure they’ve developed the skills to translate their racing ability into being a great coach.
One of the best ways to find a coach is word of mouth, so asking your riding partners, friends, or even the local bike shop mechanics who they trust with their coaching is an excellent way to get connected.
Don’t limit yourself to one single option right away. When athletes are interested in CTS, they have an opportunity to do free coaching consultations with multiple coaches within our group of 55+ professional coaches to see who might be the right fit for them.
Once you have your search down to a few options, reach out to see if those coaches would be willing to do a consultation with you. You want to get a feel for how the coach communicates and responds to the questions or hesitations you might have before jumping into things
There are a lot of great cycling coaches out there, and many can help you achieve the performance you’re aiming for. As detailed in this article though, coaches and athletes should have a relationship that goes beyond the power numbers and heart rate data. So, finding a coach who you trust and can grow that relationship with is extremely important.
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