If you are starting off the new year in 2020 with a resolution to get and stay fit, accomplish some bucket list rides or events, you may have been considering whether you need to hire a cycling coach. Like so many things in life, the short answer is, it depends.
Some of the Reasons for Having a Cycling Coach
- Improving performance on the bike
- Learning ways to stimulate a stale training regimen with variety and challenge
- Honing bike handling skills to increase confidence and safety
- Navigating all of the conflicting training plans in the popular press
- Building an efficient training plan that will help you juggle work and personal obligations
- Developing a training plan that is appropriate for your cycling goals and ambitions
- Having a plan that helps hold you accountable
- Learning the “right” way to train, recover and taper for an event or competition
Many riders read magazines and books and find plans to follow, but often they lose interest, or have questions about how to make a plan work for their individual, unique needs. We are all different. We have obligations on our time that limit how much time we can spend on the bike. We have physical differences that may need accommodations so that we can train effectively. A training plan that is effective for a 20-something athlete isn’t appropriate for a 5o year old. Or someone new to the sport. Training frequency and recovery time is vastly different for an older cyclist. And despite all the science dedicated to sports performance over the last few decades, due to differences in age, genes, personality, body type and gender, there is no one-size-fits-all training plan. You may find one in a magazine cycling journal, but there may be a better approach that fits your individual and unique needs.
If you have spent time in a weight training gym, you have probably heard all kinds of advice about how to do this exercise or that movement. The amount of mythology out there about resistance training (and bicycle training) is vast and confusing. Lift heavy. Lift slowly. Lift explosively. Do low weight with many sets and reps. Use machines. Use free weights. Do cardio before you lift. Lift first, then do cardio. Drink this. Eat that.
Next time you are in the gym, look around. You will see people flailing around doing all manner of things in a all manner of ways – and swearing by “Their Method.” What would you do if you needed to know what sports science and training expertise says about resistance training? The smart money is on hiring a personal trainer who is certified by a national organization like the National Strength and Conditioning Association, National Academy of Sports Medicine, or the American College of Sports Medicine.
The myths about cycle training are just as rampant and the articles you read and the advice you get from bike shop staffers, seasoned cyclists or riding group buddies may be full of wisdom, or full of unmitigated BS. Why waste your precious saddle time on a plan that doesn’t work? Why risk injury trying to follow a plan that isn’t suited to your individual capabilities, body type or goals. Why read and adopt a plan and wonder, “Am I doing this right?”
Why wonder. Get answers. Get a coach!
Find someone trained and certified by an organization like USA Cycling. USAC has a service to help you find a coach in your area, called Find A Coach.
Or, click this link and contact me. https://www.fullcyclecoaching.com/contact-james-hart/