Experiences of using a cycling coach?

GravityFighter

Senior Member
Location
Leeds
Per the title really. I've plateaued somewhat this year due to Covid / other life events, put a touch of weight on and am no longer in the 'honeymoon' period of cycling where you just get stronger.

A reputable coach has offered me a good package for initial fitness testing, then a 3 month programme and weekly consultation etc.

Appreciate anything like this is only as good as your commitment to the plan, but just wondered if anyone else had taken the plunge and had any views or experiences of working with a coach?
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
No, other than advice from club mates. What are your goals - if racing then yes it would be a benefit, but just general cycling, joining a club is pretty effective, as is getting out on your bike more.
 

lane

Veteran
Realistically there is a lot of information available on the web for free and lots of books for not too much cost. There are probably lots of people on here would give you advice for free. Coaches seem very expensive for not too much input, might not be a bad job to have!

What are you goals and what cycling / training are you doing currently?
 
My daughter had a pro coach for 3 years , she raced at national and international level and was a national champ ( junior) . I did not have a clue what she should be doing so it was far easier to use someone elses brain to tell her what to do. In her case the fees were significantly reduced as she won stuff and therefore gave him a good name. ( same coach as Helen Wyman and 20 other national champs) . Given that she won a lot of races ( regional) I would say they worked for her.
I went on to race myself and hired a coach ( full price) he was a honest chap and yes I improved places and my FTP etc got better but after a year it was apparent I was a sprinter and unless the race was 30 seconds I was sunk. So he re-affirmed what I already knew in that I was not genetically gifted and would only ever be a mediocre racer unless I took to the track. I now just commute to work and race occasionally ( CX) and more recently in lockdown have embarked on a Sufferfest programme, as I have all the gear I can see my FTP has dropped 30 watts from when I last had a coach but I am now 4 yrs older and at 58 its only going to get less. However the programme has already got me 8 watts back so far in 8 weeks.
The experience of having a coach and my daughters experience, is a coach taught me the importance of rest days, tapering for big events and training harder on training days. It also showed me my commutes were not really much of a good training tool,apart from my sprints!
If you are going to race then there can be a difference between a fitness coach and a race coach. The fitness coach is not going to watch you and tell you where you are going wrong in a race , ie being pushed out into the wind, staying too far back, doing too much work etc.
My daughter suffered at national level by not really having a race coach, loitering too near the back and ending up in every crash going, she would not listen to me as I apparently knew sod all.
 
OP
GravityFighter

GravityFighter

Senior Member
Location
Leeds
Interesting mix of feedback, cheers.

I have no intention of racing. I've ridden for 4 years, usually circa 4,000 miles a year which is a mix of commuting and shorter rides in the week, a long ride at weekends and a few sportives. I'm a masochist and enjoy the challenge of climbing. Up until last year I was in great shape, losing weight / gaining strength and constantly improving. Regularly use Sufferfest with my Wattbike Atom.

A combination of personal circumstances and Covid mean I haven't gotten out as much as I'd like this year and I've let myself go a tad - gone from 72kg to 76kg and lost some of my climbing ability. I pretty much know the graft I'd have to do to get it back (ride more, climb more, rest and eat properly), but I'm toying with the idea that a coach would a. make me properly accountable and b. have the key knowledge of structuring a plan that fits around my lifestyle and goals to get me into potentially even better shape than I was last year.

ETA I'm already a club member - moved house recently and joined a much more active club, but as of right now events are curtailed. Looking forward to a good long group ride again soon!
 
You sound a bit like what I was doing prior to a coach , he insisted if I was serious about getting quicker and stronger I should bin the commutes or use them as a semi rest day, ie slow cycle also i had to ditch at least 2 commutes a week . The real work came in on the turbo ( evenings) or weekend solo road work. If I was to cycle with others they had to be die hard go like a bat out of hell on tempo type chaps. I was in a race orientated club but weekend rides were not full on so out on my todd was order of the day.
Also you coach may ask what is your top goal for the year so he can structure you to peak at that time ie can see from my old stats I peaked in mid summer for some regional championships) .
Depends on how serious you want to be and what you coach's ethos is he might want you to seriously change the "comfortable" programme you have at the moment. I went full on to see how much I could improve, which proved to be quite a bit but I was not prepared to carry it on beyond a year, ie the work I had to put in effected my personal life too much.
 
OP
GravityFighter

GravityFighter

Senior Member
Location
Leeds
Interesting stuff
Really useful, cheers. Yes, I expect I do need a shake up from my current 'comfortable' pattern of riding - but I want it to be effective. I don't mind a bit of interruption to my personal life for 3 to 6 months, but I'm looking at it as more of a kick start to whip me back into shape which I can maintain, as opposed to an ongoing, long term thing.
 
Th
Really useful, cheers. Yes, I expect I do need a shake up from my current 'comfortable' pattern of riding - but I want it to be effective. I don't mind a bit of interruption to my personal life for 3 to 6 months, but I'm looking at it as more of a kick start to whip me back into shape which I can maintain, as opposed to an ongoing, long term thing.
Thinking out loud here, but it seems you don't need much from coach in terms of the actual cycling side of things, it's more structure, diet and for someone to hold you accountable when it comes to commitment. With that in mind would a Personal Trainer not be just as/ more suitable?
 
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