The Coached Athlete

by Arlyn on April 8, 2009

I have been working with Coach Colin from CTS for a month now and I’m starting to understand why this was such a great idea.

How it works
Working with Coach Colin is super easy. He publishes my workout schedule for the next 2-3 weeks online. My job is to perform each workout to spec and email him my data file so he can see my power, heart-rate, cadence, etc. He emails me feedback after every workout and we chat via phone 1-2 times per week.

Here are the three big reasons why this coaching program will have a major impact on my fitness for the Leadville 100.

1. Coach Colin is Big Brother

Big Brother is Watching You!The number one benefit of working with a coach is accountability. I know that Coach Colin is patiently waiting for my data file after each and every ride. He goes through my data with a fine toothed comb and gives feedback on how I did – every single time.

When I was self-trained, it was too easy to skip a day because I was tired or busy or whatever. Since working with Coach Colin, I have not missed a single workout. Also, when I was only accountable to myself, it was too easy to do the fun workout instead of the best workout for my fitness. I can always find a reason to turn a workout into “hill day” – yeah, I like hills that much.

2. Coach Colin is Cruel

It’s really easy for Coach Colin. With just a few clicks of his mouse, I’m off grunting out big chain ring intervals or ripping my guts out trying to generate 320 watts for 15 minutes – three times in a row. I would never in a million years have tried that while self-training. The first couple of minutes are ok, then it gets harder and harder until time slows down to where seconds become minutes and then I’m just wishing I could sell my damn bike and quit!

Big Chain RingBut then I remember that Coach Colin is patiently waiting for my data file and it better be perfect so I get mad and keep pedaling – and get stronger for it.

3. Coach Colin is Really Smart

Try asking Coach Colin something like, “Hey, how does that power meter thingy help with my training?” He loves this stuff and gets all excited explaining it to you. The first few minutes are interesting and then it just starts to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher – “wah wah wah-wah wah…” I’m glad all I have to do it pedal, because what he does sounds really hard.

Workout data

Coach Colin lives for graphs like this.

The Verdict (so far…)

Overall, I’m riding fewer hours and fewer miles but get way more fatigued. I train five days a week, but since the rides are shorter it fits better into my family and work time. I feel like my fitness is higher than ever, but we’ll wait for Coach Colin to prove it with data.

I thought about coaching for a long time before I pulled the trigger, now I wish I hadn’t waited. This is way worth it.

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