Updated: May 21
As we move into a new season, one of our private age group athletes asked if it was possible to write a blog to help him, and maybe others, how to get the best out of their coaching when training as most do, at home, and not in training camp with the team. I'm happy to explain what I tell our athletes: 1. Communication This is so important. Not only for coaches to make themselves understood, but for the athlete to pass back clear objective analysis of their training. This does enhance the success of the program. To me it comes under the heading of 'Invisible Training'. Most athletes including the pros let things slide. When a niggle springs up, and yes it may be nothing, but your coach should be made aware of it instantly. An adjustment in the training, or a change of workout can mean it is nothing after 48 hours. However with the zealousness of most athletes to complete the training they like, it tends to 'slip the mind' - then surfaces 5 to 7 days later, and after continued training is a real problem that will impede training. Good communication between athlete and coach minimises this possible scenario. 2. Technique While one is training out of the watchful eye of your coach, it is easy to slip into bad habits. One of the criticisms of our specific programs, is that we use a lot of tools. The main reason is to combat this problem. As we have readers not within our system, I'll say no more on that but point out what we advise to Trisutto trained athletes who are not in my personal squad: We encourage our coaches to hold a camp in a warmer weather location during the winter. Athletes can enjoy a winter sunny camp, escape cabin fever, and connect with their coach face to face, so the coach can impart what they want for the season in terms of technique. The coach can see his or her athlete, it's low key, nobody is going crazy with training but it's such a huge help to the athlete-coach relationship. Having just returned from Gran Canaria, it brought home to me the advantage this holds, either in making adjustments or giving confirmation the athletes are heading in the right direction. Either way it's a big positive.
3. Video With the advent of smart phones, the ability to make a short video and send on to the coach is a huge plus, where either is having doubts about a certain technique. However - unlike some groups, we are not slaves to the Go Pro or any other camera. One won't see me running up and down with one recording everything. While most think this is a new innovation, used with the wrong athletes it can be very destructive. However, if an athlete has reservations they are not meeting the technical requirements they have discussed with their coach, then we encourage them to send a short video. This method also is valuable if a new student can't get to the coach or a camp, as short video's can help enormously at the start of a program. Online Training Plans and Group Training
For athletes working with one of our training plans, the most common 'frequently asked question' is there is no rest day written into the program. I would point out publicly here, that we encourage all of our athletes to take a rest day when they feel that it is needed - or when life just gets in the way e.g. a hectic / stressful day with family, work, other commitments. That can be any day of the week. Not a handcuffed specific day. Some athletes like a specific day to look forward to, and that is fine, but it is not as successful as taking the day when it is needed.
A lot of athletes feel, because they don't have a group to train with, that they are at a disadvantage. It is my opinion that if you are racing non drafting half to full Ironman that this is not the case at all. Yes our ITU pros train more together, but even in camp our Ironman group will swim in the same pool, not necessarily the same workout or lane, and on the bike or run it is much more individual than many think. Ironman is about individuality. We should strive to continue that mantra, and as such we train that way for Ironman all year round. I thank our athlete JP publicly for his observation, and hope he and I have eased some of your fears about how best to get the most out of your online coaching and training plans.