Looking ahead to this racing season, you may be enlisting the help of a coach. Believe it or not, finding one is the easy part. If you want to get the best value for your investment, however, it takes more than simply completing the workouts. Let's take a look at a few other items that need your attention.
Post your workouts daily.
Life gets busy and it's easy to think, "I'll post today's workout sometime tomorrow, when I have more time." Then, one day turns into two and before you know it you're posting seven days worth of training at once.
By posting multiple workouts, several days after you've completed them, you lose the nuances of each individual workout—those key details that might be important. It's those nuances that might signal your coach to adjust your training load or make other changes to individual workout details that could further help your progress.
More: Do I Need a Triathlon Coach?
Additionally, if you and another 10 athletes are posting 14 to 28 workouts for your coach to review on Sunday night, it's very difficult for your coach to give all of those workouts a high-quality review. Do yourself a favor and log workouts, including comments, daily.
If something is "off", let your coach know.
It might seem like nothing, maybe a sore foot or a touch of the stomach flu. It doesn't hold you back from training, so you decide not to mention it in your training log. If your coach doesn't know one of your body parts is sore or that you're not feeling your best, he or she will continue assigning workouts as though you are 100-percent healthy. These workouts can possibly further aggravate your problem, turning something that was small into something big.
If you keep your coach informed about how your body is responding to training, your coach can help optimize performance and help you avoid downtime due to illness or injury. Be honest about things that aren't right, even seemingly bad news. Include those notes in your training journal.
More: 10 Reasons to Keep a Training Diary
Need more help? Explore your options.
If you have an unlimited contact agreement with your coach, then this isn't an issue. For the athletes that have selected a limited-contact arrangement, there might be times that you could use a little more help. Contact your coach and inquire about possible options.
One example might be that your coaching agreement includes access to a group message board, but not direct contact with the coach. You've decided that you would be best served by having your personal questions answered directly by the coach.
Or, you'd rather have your questions directly answered by a professional rather than the other athletes hanging around the message board. Just drop the coach a note and ask if he or she offers half-hour or one-hour consultations. If you're organized, you can get a lot of value from just a small amount of consulting time. Additionally, a consult session might prevent you from implementing bad advice from someone that means no harm, but also has no knowledge other than I've-done-a-race expertise.
More: 7 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Coach