If you think that a cycling coach is just for elite riders, then think again. Any rider can benefit from working with a cycling coach – you just need to set yourself a goal. And the good news is that female cyclists can benefit even more than men, from working with the right coach.
Sydney-based coach Matt Lucas says that he enjoys coaching women because they are more dedicated to ‘hitting the numbers’. He finds that women are good at juggling lots of things, and therefore can also find time for training once they make a commitment.
“Women in general are more conservative about what they think they can achieve, so they often surprise themselves when working with a coach. They also understand the difference between a hard and an easy day because they don’t let their ego get in the way. If I tell a female client to have an easy day, they do just that, and give themselves time to recover.”
Here’s a few tips I’ve compiled that will help you find the right coach.
Before you start the coach search, make a list of things you’re looking to improve, so you can find a coach who matches your needs. There are many ways a coach can improve your cycling, including skill sessions, tactics, recovery techniques, correct implementation of workouts, and more. Plus, they’ll supply you with a program to follow.
Above all else you need to set yourself a goal. This will be different for each rider but examples include: I’m going to complete the Three Peaks Challenge; or I’m going to try racing and attend three different club races in the next six months.
From my own limited experience one of the key things in any coaching relationship is communication. You need to know what you want to achieve and you need to succinctly convey that to your coach. You and the coach also need to communicate regularly about your progress and this might occur face-to-face, or via phone or electronically.
Not only do you need to communicate, but you also need to communicate honestly about how you’re feeling, how training is going, and even how you want a coach to communicate. A coach will help you figure out how best to pedal your bike, but will never push the pedals for you, so honest communication between coach and rider is paramount.
One of the best parts of having a coach is that there’s someone to keep you accountable. A great coach will help an athlete create good habits, get rid of bad habits, and lay the foundation for a lifetime of success.
Consider online coaching
I’ve not used online coaching myself, but I know many who’ve had success. Today’s Plan describes itself as “an intelligent training system for riders of all levels to produce tailored training plans, and powerful analytics which offer new ways to understand and track your progres,” and is worth a look. They even offer a 14 day free trial.
Hiring a coach can be a great way to make improvements with your cycling and reach your goals faster. Please share your own experiences with a cycling coach via comments or the Women Who Cycle Facebook page.