5 Reasons You Should Work With A Coach In The Off-Season
Updated: Sep 8, 2020
No matter what your personal goals and aspirations are, almost all endurance athletes can benefit from working with a coach--especially in the off-season. A coach will help you plan the right workouts, keep you motivated, prevent (or recover from) injuries, and much more.
Many athletes are under the impression that coaches are more helpful during the race or competition season. We hate to burst your bubble, but that’s simply not true! While there are many benefits to working with a coach year-round, the off-season is the best time to lay a strong fitness foundation, shore up weaknesses, troubleshoot specific issues, and other things.
In no particular order, here are five main reasons endurance athletes should work with a coach, particularly in the off-season.
1. An Endurance Coach Provides Accountability
Endurance athletes tend to be fairly disciplined by nature. Most have the motivation to get things done on their own. Discipline and self-motivation require willpower, which is a finite resource. Even the most committed athletes need some “external motivation” from time to time.
For many people, a coach offers that much-needed accountability. It’s easier to find the motivation to put on that base-layer and do that cold winter run in when you know your coach will ask you about it later in the week.
When you have a coach to encourage and hold you accountable, it’s easier to silence those negative voices in your head and put in the hard work that will help you accomplish your goals. It will be harder to fall back on those stand-by excuses, “Nobody will know if I skip this last interval,” or “How important is this strength session, really?!”
2. A Coach Will Help You Focus On The Right Weaknesses
You’ve probably heard the saying, “identify and lean into your strengths.” While this is very true in most areas of sports and life, it’s essential to shore up the weaknesses that might undermine your strengths and prevent you from getting the results you want.
A coach will help you accurately identify your strengths and weaknesses so you can put the right amount of effort into both. A coach can also help dissect your past performances to determine what needs to change to help you reach your goal in the most efficient way possible.
For example, if a cyclist is a powerful climber but loses a lot of time on the descents because they aren’t confident in their bike-handling skills, then it’s important to spend time and energy improving their descending and bike handling skills so they can really capitalize on their climbing skills.
A good coach can identify those areas that need improvement and create an effective plan of action.
3. An Endurance Coach Will Help You Consistently Move Toward Your Goal
A coach isn’t someone who just prescribes workouts (though that is part of it). A good coach understands how to keep you moving consistently toward your goal in a healthy, balanced way.
It’s easy for an endurance athlete to adopt a “beat yesterday” mentality and kill themselves in hard, all-out workouts OR to sprinkle a few too many easy days into their off-season and lose valuable fitness. A coach provides balance and helps you go “hard” when it’s time to bury yourself AND take appropriate rest days.
A coach can help prevent injury and ensure athletes aren’t over-training or under-training by building in the right workout intensities, strength exercises, foam rolling sessions, and other important components of a healthy, consistent training plan. It would be a shame to arrive at your first race of the season too fatigued or too under-prepared to perform at your best.
4. A Coach Creates An Effective Cross-Training And Recovery Plan
The off-season is the perfect time to add some cross-training and recovery into your training plan. It helps refresh your body and mind and is essential for injury prevention.
Many athletes take a very unstructured approach to their off-season. They swim, bike, or run whenever they feel like it and at the intensity that suits them that day. While this approach might be mentally refreshing (and there is a place for it), it’s not the best way to get faster or set yourself up for success in the coming race season.
A good coach will create the right amount of structure and balance for your off-season training plan. They can help you incorporate helpful cross-training activities that keep your body and mind healthy. And, let’s be honest, they can help you enjoy the right number of guilt-free days off with your family and friends!
Everything can be healthy and good in the right context! A good coach will work with you to ensure that you find the right balance of focused training, cross-training, recovery, and time off so you make gains and stay motivated while preventing injury or burnout.
5. An Endurance Coach Will Help You Learn Faster And Make Fewer Mistakes
A good endurance coach has a wealth of experience and knowledge about your sport--everything from racing strategy and nutrition to strength training and injury prevention. While many athletes choose to learn through “trial and error”, having an experienced coach can eliminate many of those costly “trials” and “errors.”
The off-season is the perfect time to try new things and troubleshoot some of those challenges. An excellent coach will guide you through that process and share their knowledge and expertise.
For example, if you’ve been plagued by nutrition issues or late-race “bonking”, a good coach will assess your previous nutrition plans, identify the potential trouble spots, and create a plan to test some new strategies or products for the upcoming race season. This is a far more efficient and effective approach that won’t leave you blindly testing every strategy and product you can think of.
Who Should Consider Hiring A Coach?
Every athlete has unique needs, challenges, goals, and strengths. That means everyone will experience slightly different benefits from hiring a coach, but we believe it’s a valuable investment for nearly every endurance athlete.
If you’re at the beginning of your athletic journey, then hiring a coach will help you start well and set healthy patterns in your training, nutrition, and conditioning life. If you’re a seasoned athlete with ambitious goals, then an experienced coach will help you move toward those goals in the most effective and efficient way possible (while keeping you healthy and injury-free).
Many athletes want to get the most out of limited training time. A coach will help you train efficiently and even save you some time! It’s far easier to receive a personalized weekly training schedule in your app or inbox than to create your own training schedule. You won’t need to spend your valuable training time deciphering and adjusting canned workout plans.
Some athletes simply get tired of training the same way year-after-year. Hiring a coach can spice up your training and help restore your enjoyment of your sport.
There are so many real benefits to hiring a qualified, certified professional coach, especially in the offseason. At Team MPI, we believe coaches should empower and help every athlete to become stronger and smarter so they can reach their goals and enjoy a full, healthy, active life. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re aiming to qualify for the world championships, we can help you!
Contact Team MPI today to learn more about our coaching philosophy and package options.
Gregg Edelstein is a certified USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, an IRONMAN University Certified Coach and a USA Cycling Level 3 Coach based in the greater Boston area. Gregg offers his athletes insight on the principles of exercise, nutrition, sports psychology, and injury prevention, working to make them well-rounded and engaged athletes that share his passion for sport. Contact Gregg at email@example.com.