Online Coaching: What? Why? Who?

Believer or a non-believer? Do you think you are financially better off without?

Do you spend money on all the latest ‘go-fast’ gadgetry in the hope that it WILL make you faster rather than invest in a coach?

Some people are particularly good at doing what they are told. Others are not. I often ask myself why some people (the ones who do not do as they are told) pay good money for online coaching only to carry on and do their own thing. They question what they are told. Ignore advice. And follow any guidance in a way that suits and pleases them.

The results you get from online coaching will be a reflection of how closely or truthfully you treat the plan. If you want to justify the expense and get value for money, then the first order of the day is to choose wisely.

I have worked with two different coaches and am now just starting on the third. My first experience was with Vinnie from Ironguides, then while working with The Bike Boutique I had the pleasure to be coached by Brett Sutton from teamTBB. Now I am starting a new training journey with Kristian from TriSpecific.

The theory around all three coaching styles is simplicity and this is what I have found works for me. I have never been a techie, gadget, numbers kind of girl. During each athlete/coach relationship I have soaked up the experience and learnt a lot. I have I believe become the proverbial triathlete sponge with regards to this honest simple approach.

My training characteristic is hard work and simplicity. This is not always a good thing and with a coach in my corner I have learnt the errors of my charactersitc. I am stubborn beyond belief. I push through when I should back off and I am terrible at balancing.

Some people never learn the errors of their characteristic and thus never have the chance to change or improve. I am very lucky that the coaches I have worked with worked for me – they opened my eyes to the errors of my ways. I understand their theories, believe in their training, and am always ready to give what is required of me.

I own no gadgets. I spend little or no money at all on my bike since I first brought it 2years ago. In reality my sport is very low maintenance and low cost. Races are expensive to enter but these are also my holidays. I believe a coach is worth their weight in gold 100times over the newest fastest bike, wheel, helmet or shoes.

So, Who are you? Which category do you fall into? Which of these statements best describes you?

Obsessed gadget control freak with GPS, calorie monitor, heart rate strap?

I know better than you, online coaching is a waste of money?

I don’t have time, so no point spending the money?

I race for fun and am not bothered about coaching?

I have been doing this for years and don’t need to change?’

See it to believe it…

Sometimes people need a little proof, a guinea pig to test run a specific type of training. Sometimes when the guinea pig produces results, others then start to ‘believe’.

But then it comes down to the ‘I don’t have time/money type’. They want it but don’t THINK it is possible.

There are many coaching styles out there. And none of it is rocket or should be rocket science. Training should be enjoyable. For an age grouper, triathlon is part of our lifestyle and what we do in our lifestyle we should glean pleasure from. If you do not get pleasure and enjoyment from your training then something is wrong.

Think of a coach as your own personal cheerleader with all the answers…

If you are going to spend your money on a coaching plan, do it for the right reasons. It does not have to be because you are aiming for a race although this is a good starting incentive. A coach can become part of your lifestyle. They can become part of your team, your support network.

In part II we break coaching down and analyze what you are paying for. It’s so much more than just a program.

Source: Emma Bishop of



comments Team

A triathlete making a comeback and a true blue Scorpio. That sums it up quite nicely :)


  1. Nice article Emma. This year I’ve decided to be self coached on the bike and run for the first half of the year and then coached on the second as I work up to big races in 2012.

    A lot of this is to do with me training with power on the bike, and wanting to do 6+ sessions a week. I can’t afford a coach looking at that much power data and so I’m saving money in the first half of the year and am going to spend it once I’ve established a good base level.

  2. Nice article and very informative. I must admit that ive achieved much improvements on my running and biking by reading pointers posted online especially here. Originally i was finding myself a tri coach but i grew tired of texting them and leaving messages on their fb accts without getting a reply. It would be great to receive pointers in the flesh from experts but not getting some from them doesnt mean gjving up on the sport. Kudos to sbr for publishing great articles like this

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