It's funny that I wrote about how training with technology can be your friend when you don't have a coach because for the last couple of weeks my coach has taken a few weeks off meaning that I have been flying solo. What has this meant for me? Not a whole lot really. I am lucky that it is pretty much the start of my off season and the lack of structure has been quite nice. However, I am definitely noticing the difference between training myself and being trained with a coach. So I thought I would focus today on the major differences I have noticed and why I am happy to pay my coach to train me.
Without blowing my own trumpet (too much) I get complimented a lot by people impressed by my 'mental toughness' and attitude towards training. I genuinely believe that one of the biggest reasons I am so disciplined when it comes to training is because I am accountable to my coach. I hate having to admit that I have missed a session. It is quite bizarre because I actually train a few people in weight-loss and when they tell me they have missed a session it doesn't normally bother me. I tend to put in lots of volume on the assumption that they will miss a few sessions. But whether my coach does that for me or not, I try and hit 100% every week. So while Ben has been taking a bit of time off I have only been accountable to myself. Don't think that this means I have completely slacked off. I have trained every day and most days twice. I have however lacked the ability to pick the right sessions and failed to get the balance right.
I struggle to enjoy my time in the pool. The biggest improvement I have seen with Ben has been the improvement in my swim time. The last few weeks I have definitely learnt what are the sessions that I like and the ones that I don't like. This is because I find myself repeating the same sets over and over again. I am making improvements in the pool still, but most of my sets are short, high-intensity sessions. Lots of 50 and 100m sprints with easy laps in-between. I have done very few sets of 400 or 500m (by few I mean none). If they were on my weekly program I would have done them without question.
My bike is pretty much the same as it was but I have always been very focused on the bike. It is my strongest leg and I want it to stay that way. So the amount of bike work I am doing has remained the same. On the run I am still doing my 4 or 5 sessions a week. My Sunday long run is there. I am just avoiding the speed work. Not because I don't like it but mostly because it hurts.
So while I have had this opportunity to see the difference I have noticed myself falling back into some of my old habits. Those bad habits are still physical exercise but they are what we call junk miles. I am just doing easy kms because it makes me feel good about myself and it isn't too hard. So why do I think I need a coach? Why am I looking forward to getting stuck in again with Ben and making 2015 even bigger than 2014? Having a coach makes me accountable. It means I have to spend less time trying to decide which session to do and which session would have the greatest benefit. I am not training these days to loose weight anymore, I am training to become a fitter and faster athlete. But I think that the lessons I am learning are relevant to people trying unsuccessfully to change their lifestyle.
I am not someone who advocates spending lots of money on PT etc but that is because I did it by myself. I am happy to admit it when I am wrong but there is a lot of value in having someone help you along your way. Now I am not talking about any old PT. You want someone who knows what they are doing. It is literally an 8 week course to become a personal trainer. However if you find a good trainer do not hesitate to ask for help. What should you look for in a trainer? I think the first and most important thing is to have a trainer who understands your goals and can use them to motivate you. I think you should look for someone who is constantly trying to learn and isn't afraid to admit when they don't know something. If you spend time with a trainer they are able to ensure you train properly and prevent injury. You also have to find someone that fits into your budget. There are all kinds of different options and it depends on what you want and can afford. But like me, when you have a coach, you are accountable and you can spend less time working out what session to do and more time actually training.
As for me, I have a mate from Melbourne coming up this weekend. He was meant to race IM Melbourne but had to withdraw due to injury so we are going to have a mini-camp this weekend. I have also signed up for a sprint tri in April. Other than that I am on the look out for some shorter triathlons and some good running races over the next few months. I am hoping to build my run speed over the winter and think racing is a god way of doing that.
Thats all for this week. I am thinking of adding some more sections to the website. Maybe a section in which I can display the equipment I use and maybe I could write some reviews. I was also thinking of doing some more stuff on weight loss in particular. Let me know what you think!
Stay safe, train smart and remember to TRI!