It's normally this time of the year where I start wondering if I should get myself a coach. Of course I always decide against it, but it doesn't stop me doing my homework on a few.
This year has been different though. With all the am I/aren't I stuff going on regarding Ironman Florida a coach has been the last thing on my mind. Or it would have been if I hadn't had a seemingly endless supply of coaching 'offers' over the last couple of months. Now my email contact details aren't hard to find and with the whole virtual triathlon community out there it opens up a whole new opportunity for anybody looking to peddle their wares. Which is of course what is happening, because although I'm seemingly being blessed by the 'offer' of an opportunity to be coached by whoever they of course still have a range of options for me to 'purchase'. So it's not really an 'offer' at all, is it!!!
What normally quite amuses me is that most of these people seem to have done a little homework. Many of these offers will start with "Congratulations on your Ironman Hawaii Finish" or "Congratulations on your 9:40 Finish at Ironman Florida", then of course there is always a line along the lines of "Would you like to go quicker next time?" I think that is where their research ends though because they obviously don't realise that if I'm thinking of pulling this years Ironman for financial reasons then I'm hardly in the position to pay through the nose for a coach.
They also seemingly have no idea how my job works. Sometimes I'd love to say to a coach, "Yep, I average 13hrs a day at work. When exactly do you think I should train?". I've seen some Ironman plans that have been given to friends of mine and trust me, it's NOT happening!!!
What really concerns me however with a few of the emails is what actually qualifies them to coach me? While most no doubt come from some amazing coaches out there and there are no doubt many, many coaches who could turn my 9:40 into the sub 9 which I believe I'm capable of (even at my advancing age).
Although my laziness may prove an obstacle there :-). A lot of these emails though will talk about how I'm lucky to recieve this opportunity, they'll run through the possible plans I'd have and they'll tell me about the coach, a CV if you like.
Many of these CV's(??) seem to lack details of any formal coaching qualifications though. Of course a lot of these come from outside of the UK (mostly America) and I have no knowledge of how things work over there. There will be details of the 'coaches' achievements, races they've done, times they've set etc etc etc. But to be honest most of these pale next to mine! I've done Ironman Hawaii, I've gone 9:40 at Florida, I'm confident that if I got my act together then I could go sub 9 at Florida. That sure as hell doesn't mean I can coach anybody, especially for money. Sure I could help them along and maybe try to answer questions, but coach people? Not a chance.
I'm not having a go, most 'offers' come from fully accredited coaches, others may well be qualified but (strangly) just don't happen to mention it. Some that aren't qualified may well have a wealth of experience, years and years of programs from their own personal coaches that they've adapted and may well know more than I ever will (that's not hard). So, what am I saying?
1) I can't afford a coach, so if you're emailing to 'offer' make it an offer (you can press 'x' now). If you can take me from 9:40 to sub 9 imagine how it'll look on your CV :-)
2) Do your homework properly. If you've a fixed plan for a 35hr a week office worker then it's not going to happen.
3) Show me some proper qualifications. If you want me to trust your word I need a reason to. Maybe send me an example week or two and I'll see if they're feasible
4) Learn who you're dealing with. A top coach once said I was 'un-coachable', I'd tend to agree with him. If you don't know I'm a lazy slacker then you're in for a shock. I need a kick up the arse on a regular basis, none of this softly softly approach.
5) I'm sure there's plenty more, but I haven't really thought this through (story of my life).
6) One last one.............. I still haven't decided if I'm doing Florida yet (tomorrow, ok - Birthday Shelly!!). If I don't do it I'll have even less need for a coach.
I look forward to never seeing a coaching 'offer' in my email again :-D