Training for Triathlon | Is There a Need For Coaching?

Training for triathlon and it’s correlation to what I just sat up all night doing made me think this could be appropriate for a first blog post.     Though this ended up being fairly long…I’ll try and keep em a little shorter..or do a video.


1) am a hands on kinda guy. I want to know how things work and want to do most things on my own when it comes to figuring something out.   So yes, I am one of those ‘men’ who won’t ask for directions until I am completely late and/or lost. Or I try to fix it before I call the repairman.  Not because I don’t want to admit I don’t know where I am at, I just like to exhaust all options before I ‘give up’ I guess.  In the process..I learn my way around :)This is the process in training for triathlon sort of.  We read and ask questions, and slowly learn our way around.

2) think I  have some form of ADHD or whatever because once I start a particular action, I have to complete it in the manner I had envisioned. Now this doesn’t always apply to things I should be doing. I start on something that should be fairly simple ( like following a youtube video on putting a new header in the blog) and at the expense of stuff that really needs to get done, I’ll spend hours until I get it…and even then I’m not totally satisfied. I did this as well in training for triathlon and cycling. If I bonked, flatted, ran outta food, money, daylight.I finished what I set out to do.

The thing is, I like to go through the process because I look at it as learning I guess. Well, I did this all through my early days of training and racing. Even before I really started to race my bike, I rode a lot of what I (well…unofficially) called ‘destination rides’.  I would say, I’m going to ride to this town or that..and however long it took, it took. If I got caught in the rain, oh well. I’ve even patched a tire with the hot tar from the road ( and it held!)

I lived in Nebraska, and with the Missouri River basically limiting one of the directions I could ride, I either had to ride North through Omaha, or South and West out into the boonies.  At that time I didn’t follow any specifics in programming. I just rode. But later on when I started to use training methods, I found I had been innately applying them already.

The point being, a lot of what I learned before I started training for triathlon was trial and error and having an innate sense to do things that challenged myself beyond what most of friends I trained with ever did. Training for triathlon benefited from this and the ability to read people and tweek their ‘perceived’ exertion helped my coaching.

So is there a need for coaching? It depends, what do you want to achieve? What is your personal concept of where you can even go? Sometimes it takes an outside, experienced person who has done both severely overtrain and be back to square one, or made gains following a well planned program to make gains, to help show someone a path.  Training for triathlon and the coaching involved though, at some levels, has gone quite far.  I personally think some of the methodologies and training that is put out there simply confuses people even more and makes them believe they have to have a coach.

What I mean by this, and I am a coach, but sometimes the whole data thing is just too much. The reason I am not a recording data junkie? Too many other variables.  Maybe you even record all those variables. From sleep, what and when you ate, to when you poop …but you also need to consider relationship status, work hours, work stress, personal stress ( strains on the family) etc.  All of that is in a constant flux.  The key as an athlete, is to get a super keen awareness to all this and understand why maybe you couldn’t do your paced run..well, because you were still feeling the effects of that business meeting or fight with the spouse.

As a coach, even though I end up putting a ton of time and meticulous thought into their schedule..mostly so they don’t feel bored ( I think I follow much simpler workouts for myself..but then I think that’s because I make my own adjustments on the fly) The real progress comes from listening to how they felt from the workout. That is where the real tweaking comes in.

But as time goes on, I am hoping they are paying attention to everything they are learning. After all , the money being paid to be coached should be thought of as this, an education. Are you going to learn it all in 1 season? I didn’t. But an experienced coached can cut years off your learning curve.

Wanting a coach so you don’t have to spend the time or think about what you have to do next is many times the reason. However, still be sure you are paying attention to the what’s and why’s you are doing things so you can dial yourself in more.  Blindly just following what is set out for you doesnt allow for your best progression over time.

If the event is a ‘bucket list’ check off for you, and it really isnt something becoming part of your lifestyle, then by all means, don’t fret and just follow the plan.

So in training for triathlon, decide what you wish to achieve, but you might want to be assessed and see if an outside,experienced look might enlighten you to your true  potential. That you can go beyond your perception of what is attainable, beyond your current abilities ( without blowing smoke up  your …)

You can contact me on:

Skype  chris.aarhus





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