PART 2 : “ Coach Knows “
Coaching, it seems that we are now smack bang in the middle of a fitness phenomenon with gyms and online training / coaching platforms popping up on our news feeds daily. More than ever, we have the world at our fingertips which has lead me to the topic of online coaching v face to face coaching. Something that I have delved into and felt the benefit of since commencing my Triathlon training back in February.
As I mentioned in my previous piece, I scoured online forums and downloaded a handful of 12 week “guaranteed to make Trevor Hendy” programs. Still, I had that nagging voice telling me it just wasn’t right, I needed more. So I explored and was lucky enough to latch onto a very good and credible online coach to program my future training and work toward my end goal strategically.
This was all well and good and I continue to use this as my programing template today, however much like my initial bike ride experience, I was met with a mountain of a challenge, both physically and mentally, when it came to swimming. The swimming pool as I found out shows no mercy to a 95kg Crossfitter blessed with tree trunks for legs.
In a race that was to commence with a 1900m Ocean swim – I knew I was in strife when 50m had me gasping for air in a local lap pool.
I had a great program laid out to perfection, still, I was unable to execute in my desire to get better doing what I was doing.
I had 2 options in front of me:
1: Continue to persist with my 2 x swim sessions per week, following my program to a T and pray to the high heavens that it would click on race day. Or.
2: Seek out a qualified coach and sort my s*&t out!
I decided that if this Ironman is to be done, it needs to be done properly, so I chose option #2.
I contacted a local Tri coach who ran a swim squad every Saturday morning. He proceeded to ask me to come down for a free intro session, have a play around, then decide if I thought they were the right fit and worth my time and investment.
Little did I know, the Saturday swim squad was dominated by juniors half my size and more then half my age but man they made swimming look easy. My ego was all of a sudden very bruised and the nerves set it. Things were about to get very uncomfortable.
In my 1 hour squad session, I was given 4 very simple and very usable swim stroke technique changes to focus on. Instantly, I had a better gauge on what my body was doing in the water and I was able to move more efficiently then when I walked in. In 1 hour, I improved more than I did in 4 weeks all because I was under the watchful eye of a quality, qualified coach who could give me instant feedback.
I walked in that day feeling like Eddy the Eel and walked out feeling like Kieren Perkins after the 1996 Olympic Games 1500m gold medal race… success!
In the recent past, I have had many a moment pondering as to what the future of fitness / coaching looks like Mainly due to the fact I am 10 years deep into owning my own gym, The Crossfit Chamber.
This particular experience with online programs and direct coaching gave me some great insight and perspective into what’s available in the industry and perhaps a sign of things to come.
Which is most effective? Well, they both are. At the end of the day it truly does fall down to the values of the individual consuming the coaching style, what works for them , and of course, what makes them happy.
I can only speak from my point of view, my experience and what I feel works the best… for me!
The online coach I stumbled across has been a catalyst in my growth as a makeshift ironman and to be honest, i’d have buckley’s chance without him. I am so grateful for what he has provided.
Following this program, however, has legitimately taken every last ounce of self discipline and willingness I have in my mind and in my body and its been very lonely at times. If I wasn’t this driven and motivated toward this particular goal I very well may have conceded to the snooze button on the alarm many a time due to lack of accountability. Over the years, being so deeply involved within the fitness environment, I have found that physically attending a coached session / class automatically provides me with that necessary accountability, and I love being coached. The instant and onsite feedback just works for me.
6 weeks in I’ll continue with my online program as its necessary. I will also continue to get my but kicked at the local pool and sharpen my technical sword once a week with my coach as I know this is what’s going to make me better.
Yet another unexpected but valuable experience I have encountered on this journey so far.
Next up, ill breakdown my experience as I popped my Triathlon cherry at the Shoalwater classic Olympic Distance Triathlon…. She was a juicy grind that’s for sure, hence why I was so glad I had a swim coach!
6 weeks down… 6 weeks till race day… getting close now!