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Ironman University: It Gets Worse…

They just can’t help themselves.

In their desperation to rescue a failed concept, Ironman University this morning sent out an email to all registered pro athletes outlining nearly everything that is wrong about professional coaching within our sport.

The WTC are now offering struggling pro athletes the opportunity to pay a discounted $349 so they too can take part in a 14 hour online course and call themselves ‘Ironman Certified Coaches’.

It’s pathetic on so many levels.

Firstly, this is Ironman making an admission – we know we don’t pay you enough to make a living as a pro athlete, so instead of addressing that we’ll offer you a $349 course so you can make us even more money by coaching our growing list of naïve age-groupers.

As a kicker we’ll reserve the right to use your name and image as a further endorsement of our hideously insufficient coaching product.

But exploiting money-starved pros is nothing new.

The bigger issue I’d like to address is that there’s no respect for the coaching process nor any basic understanding of what makes successful coaches in the first place.

Using the weight of the Ironman brand to endorse ‘coaches’ who have spent 0 hours poolside, roadside or trackside actually working with athletes is irresponsible at best and dangerous at worst.

The idea that one can be equipped to train people for the biggest endurance test of their lives after a computer module that takes less time to complete than the race itself is obscene. These people have not served their apprenticeship and have no business calling themselves qualified coaches.

At we’re often asked about how we consistently produce the results we do. Being honest it’s hard not to give an arrogant answer. The truth is a lot of our coaching success is based on the fact that the majority of our coaching competition is just so terribly, terribly bad. Too many coaches taking too many silly courses like this.

As anyone who has ever searched for an online triathlon coach or training plan will testify – the triathlon coaching market is already beyond saturation point with struggling pro or ex-athletes ‘taking on’ a few age groupers as an easy way to make some cash to support themselves while they race all around the world.

They are not coaches, nor do they possess any long term plans to develop into professional coaches. Instead, they put their athletes on the same programs they use (Hey! It works for me so should be fine for you too!). Problem is it DOESN’T work for them. That’s why they are taking on athletes in the first place because they can’t cut it as a full-time pro. No experience of the subtleties involved in coaching individuals with different physiques, mentalities and talent levels.

Ironman University’s latest initiative is going to make a bad triathlon coaching landscape even worse. 14 hours and $700 is contemptible and totally unfair to the age group athletes who will be tricked into thinking they are getting a qualified coach.

They should do the right thing and shut it down before someone gets hurt.

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