Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Self Coaching

This is something I have been questioning since I started my journey to do a half ironman and a full ironman.

I looked into coaches back in January, but decided that for this first go around I would try it on my own for various reasons. I am a motivated person and knew that doing a program on my own would not be an issue, but I wasn't sure if the training I would be doing was right for me? My main goal for both of these distances  was just to cross the finish line with a smile on my face and injury free. But, would I be over training, would I not be training enough, speed work, heart rate training, etc, etc, etc.

I looked at several different training plans online and found this 20 week half ironman training program that I liked. It was a time based training program as many of them were that I found. I wasn't really a fan of the time based plans as I didn't know if I would be getting in the mileage that I needed to.

I pretty much followed this training plan to the tee with a couple little blips here and there due to life getting in the way. And once I started, the whole time based thing didn't bother me. I'm about a right in the middle of the pack athlete and figured most of these generic plans were made for average speed people.

I never used a heart rate monitor throughout my half training due to the fact it bothers me when I wear it. Zone 2 what? Yes, I have no idea what any of my zones are and have basically made up paces in my head as to what my zones are. #goodidea.

After I decided to race Kinetic instead of Mooseman, my 20 week timeline was thrown off a bit. I had started the program with the target date of June 3rd. This meant I cheated the training plan by three weeks and made some minor adjustments to make sure I tapered in the week leading up to my new 70.3. This made me worried, but I knew I would still be able to finish my first 70.3 despite those 3 weeks I missed.

As you guys know, I'm pretty excited about how Kinetic went and I'm not sure if I would have changed much on race day. With that said, I would totally recommend this training plan to someone looking to do their first 70.3. Of course, I'm no expert and you would have to look it over and make sure training without a coach is for you. And if this training plan is for you. My goal was just to finish, so picking a plan with more speed work, etc might be better for others.

And now that I am done with my 70.3 I will switch my focus to Louisville, which is my big goal for the year. Like my half I will be self coaching myself to the full ironman. I will be using a 24 week training program from this book and pick up the training from week #10.

At times I still question myself if self coaching is the smart thing to do. I can only hope that the new training program I am transferring over to works just as well for me. I guess for me to key to this whole thing is to listen to my body and understand that's it ok to modify a workout sometimes or to take a rest day as long as I get in my key workouts. I think I will always wonder if I had a coach though if I could have finished faster or stronger. I guess that is a question I will never know...

Having a coach/self coaching - what do you do?

Happy Tues All :)


  1. I self-coach all the way...look out Louisville!

  2. I self coach too!! Good job! I took a time based training plan for the IM but I did make it my own and I added distances to the long run and bikes because I have this fear that I am so much slower than everyone that time alone isn't enough I figure most ppl can get further than me in the same amount of time...

  3. I self coach as well and my training is a mix of distance and time. My swimming and running is based on distance and pacing. My bike is more based on time. We all have our own ways of training.

  4. I self coach I guess. I use plans from BT.com, but I have seriously looked at getting a coach, just have to convince the wife!

  5. Self coach 100%. I like to say I am uncoachable. I will not to listen to a coach period. Too stubborn I guess. And there is too much that I just want to do on my own without it being on someone else's plan. I have been able to do so many new fun bike rides this season because I make my own schedule.

    PS: I use the Matt Fitzgerald Triathlon Training Plan book. It rocks.

  6. Thank you for writing this, I have been worried that my husband and I would need a coach to train for a full Ironman but now I think I will do what you did.

    I would change the time-based training program to distance-based though (based on the times it recommends). I'm saving both of these resources for next year and the year after! Thanks again!

  7. Hey Sarah... Just found your blog and love it. I've self coached and have been for 6 years. I tried a coach at the beginning of the year, thinking that she could do amazing things for my IM this November and she probably could have... but it wasn't for me. I liked the freedom that I give myself. I know what needs to get done and I know how to push myself. That was enough for me to go back to being self coached.

    Our plan is all time based and I find that it works best for me. I have some equations (in terms of converting the runs to miles and bikes to miles), but for the most part, I train solely on time and it works great.

  8. I'm glad the training plan worked so well for the 70.3! Just from these comments it sounds like a lot of people self coach to a successful Ironman too, so I'm sure you'll do the same. And if you end up thinking a coach would help you improve, you can always try that next time (because I'm guessing this won't be the only one...).

  9. It totally sounds like self-coaching works well for you, you had a rockstar first 70.3!! I joined a tri club and loosely followed their training plan when I started training for Ironman, but I altered it alot based on what I want to do. After a few years I decided I wanted to work with an individual coach and she has really helped me with the mental side of things. I am sure you are going to do really well at Ironman, sticking to a training plan is the most important thing (because you can have a great coach but if you don't follow the training plan, what good is any of it?), and you've been doing great so far!