Sunday, December 07, 2008
Good triathlon coaching
Posted 01:08 PM, December 07 2008
I was checking the results of Ironman Western Australia and noticed a 23 year old won the race in 8 hours and 7 minutes. That is almost as fast as the Hawaii Ironman record of 8 hours and 4 minutes. So we all know Hawaii is generally a much harder race but that is still a very fast time even in perfect conditions. And the winner Tim Berkel is only 23. How is that possible? Endurance sports are traditionally dominated by veterans in their mid 30’s. It takes years to master the physical and mental aspects of this sport. But no doubt that having a good coach can make the learning curve a lot shorter. So I went and checked out who was coaching the winner and it was an Australian coach Grant Giles. This coach is a veteran on may Ironman races.
One interesting note was that the coach Grant seems to have qualified for Kona a zillion times yet there was no mention of any of his Kona results on his coaching page. Not sure what that means. The interesting thing was Tim Berkel passed on his Kona slot so we will not see him in Kona next year. Maybe there is a parallel there. But I honestly think this is actually a really good move. Tim has done three Ironman races already and he needs to go back and work on his speed for a few years. There is a whole career ahead for this young star. I bet you this is coming from his coach.
When I did my first Ironman (which I will recap soon) I had virtually no one to ask what to do. My big thing was to do at least a 20 mile run which is a rule of thumb stolen from marathoners. Other than that just swim a lot and ride a lot (which was not enough). I do not think I asked anyone for advice mostly because there was no one to ask. I worked on feeling like I was ready so I did that by completing some long sessions over two days. It worked well.
Today however, triathletes do not have to try to reinvent the wheel. Many people enjoy that for sure as there is a satisfaction on doing it yourself. But with all the time and money invested into an Ironman I think it is best to follow tried and proven methods. Having a good coach in this sport is the best way to go.
One common mistake done by many when hiring a coach is to sign up yet not do what the coach says. These people do not want to change too much from what they are already doing but rather just see if they find just a couple of new tricks. Maybe some coaches cater to this. Surely there is a market for it. These are difficult people to coach for me as they do not follow instructions and I never know what they are really doing. So when things do not go right it is difficult to figure why. The funny thing is many times other people tell me what they are really doing. It is a small little tri world and there are many eyes out there!
But a good coach has to figure out how to work with all this I suppose. If it was easy we just leave directions for the janitors. Not that there is anything wrong with being a janitor you know. I’ve cleaned a few floors and bathrooms in my day. But I rather coach and try to be a good no nonsense one.
--There are 0 comments on this post: