What's Your Take on the Value of a Personal Cycling Coach?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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JZP
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2023 9:32 pm

by JZP

I would love to have your feedback on personal cycling coaching. I don't have any specific goals other than to become a stronger all-round cyclist, and perhaps individually (w/o a team) complete the Whistler Gran Fondo in under five hours.

I'm a 42 year-old beginner road cyclist. In five months of my own "training", I achieved an FTP of 3.0 W/kg, climbed Mount Seymour (12.16 km @ 7.4% avg. gradient as per Strava) in just under an hour, and completed the Triple Crown (112 km w/ approx. 2350 m of climbing) in seven hours. I think I can "train better/smarter" with professional guidance to complete these activities (and more) more quickly; winging it with friends' advice, online articles and YouTube videos will only take me so far.

I have an indoor trainer and have completed Zwift's 12-week "all-rounder" program. I'm happy to complete more Zwift programs (and perhaps I'll try TrainerRoad) but I'd also like more professional input, analysis, and recommendations to guide my future training regimen.

What do you think about personal cycling coaching - yay or nay (at least for now)?

Thanks!

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GaBa
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:01 pm

by GaBa

In my experience I would absoultely go for it. Best spent money, no bike upgrade will bring you such progress as upgrading yourself! It is important to find someone you have a good opinion about though and think you will be able to work with, building trust will take some time though, you have to get to know each other etc. It's a process but in the end it is worth it, at least in my case. To me coach gives me a peace of mind, I am not searching for possible training regimes all the time, but follow his program and trust it 100 %. And to be clear, there is no rocket science involved, training are mostly low intensity with some high intensity here and there (not even every week!). In my opinion (for me) the biggest added value of having a coach is to have someone who will look on things objectively and will be able to make better decisions based on his experience on reading athletes. Mostly when things go "sour", while I would try to push it he calms me, gives me a day off etc.

robeambro
Posts: 1876
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:21 pm

by robeambro

JZP wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2023 8:26 pm
I would love to have your feedback on personal cycling coaching. I don't have any specific goals other than to become a stronger all-round cyclist, and perhaps individually (w/o a team) complete the Whistler Gran Fondo in under five hours.

I'm a 42 year-old beginner road cyclist. In five months of my own "training", I achieved an FTP of 3.0 W/kg, climbed Mount Seymour (12.16 km @ 7.4% avg. gradient as per Strava) in just under an hour, and completed the Triple Crown (112 km w/ approx. 2350 m of climbing) in seven hours. I think I can "train better/smarter" with professional guidance to complete these activities (and more) more quickly; winging it with friends' advice, online articles and YouTube videos will only take me so far.

I have an indoor trainer and have completed Zwift's 12-week "all-rounder" program. I'm happy to complete more Zwift programs (and perhaps I'll try TrainerRoad) but I'd also like more professional input, analysis, and recommendations to guide my future training regimen.

What do you think about personal cycling coaching - yay or nay (at least for now)?

Thanks!
As it's been already said, for the most part it truly is not rocket science. If however you are not willing to put the time and dedication to study and research (which is totally understandable) then paying for a coach can be a great investment, so that you remove the research aspect from it and you only worry about the execution part.

Generally speaking, would say that for most people who have 6-10h/week, just "doing long Z2 rides + some higher intensity* consistently over a prolonged period of time" could bring you to sensibly improve upon your current level without the need for a coach. Of course everyone is different so this is a rather basic generalisation, but just by doing the above with consistency, getting to around 4w/kg FTP should be attainable by many people. Getting more towards the 5w/kg mark (again, we're all different so this is a rough generalisation) tends to be quite more difficult and having a good coach here could perhaps be more fruitful.

*(1-2x a week, possibly more but unlikely. What constitutes "high intensity" varies greatly depending on one's objectives, strengths and weaknesses.)

TL;DR you can totally get a coach, and a good one would be great especially if they could teach you some key principles and learnings, but at your level you can definitely still grow without one by just applying a few key principles.
Last edited by robeambro on Thu Sep 28, 2023 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jlok
Posts: 2514
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2015 3:30 am

by jlok

I guess before you reach 4W/kg, it's simply a matter of training load/volume. If you're lacking of motivation, a coach might help pushing you forward. Just ride more. The technical details may shorten the time to reach higher fitness but eventually you will be there. Once reaching the next milestone, the next question would be how much time you'd want to spend to keep being there.
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EdWiser
Posts: 207
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2021 2:50 pm

by EdWiser

I would also say a good personal trainer. I work with a trainer who has set up training program that helps me

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ms6073
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Location: Houston, Texas

by ms6073

JZP wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2023 8:26 pm
I'm a 42 year-old beginner road cyclist.
More often than not, those in the sport who really need a coach cant aford one, and the ones that can aford a coach, really, really don't need one!

• Are you married?
• Have children?
• If married, does the wife ride?

If the answer is yes to one or more of the questions above, then this sport is a frickin hobby. Sure the sport often times provides a great sense of accomplishment, but getting a coach/devoting more time to this hobby will only take time away from the most important things - your family. That said, several of the more popular training platforms now offer AI based coaching which while not affording one-on-one feedback, it may add/improve on the structure and results of your training plan.
- Michael
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GaBa
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:01 pm

by GaBa

I beg to disagree. Coach can take into account time you want to devote to your family and will plan your training regimen around other obligations / priorities. At least a good one will. That's the point of having a coach in my opinion, so he tailors training plan to your specific needs AND lifestyle / other obligations / priorities. AI based training plans won't do that.

AJS914
Posts: 5498
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I'm of two minds on this.

First, what are you trying to achieve? If you aren't racing or trying to podium, most people can get 95% of the way there by just riding more, being more consistent and following some sort of structured plan with a yearly periodization in mind. One can read Friel's book or any other book for the basics on structure or periodization.

I don't think it really matters that much which workouts people do. Most people just ride around but when they start structured training and do a dedicated workout twice a week they seem some good gains. Bare bones on could do two workouts per week and then take a recovery week every 4th week - 3 weeks on - 1 off/easy. Adjust as you go to manage fatigue.

On the other hand, if $200-300/month or whatever it costs is not a big deal to you then you might as well fast track your training and reach your goals as fast as possible. At 42, with a good coach, you might be able to be as fast as you can be by 45. If you futz around on your own, it could take you 5 or 6 years to figure out how to train effectively.

BenSiskri
Posts: 266
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 11:00 am

by BenSiskri

Unless you're racing, then it seems pointless. The key to getting fitter is doing more riding, with maybe including a session with interval training amongst endurance rides. And eating healthier.

And don't forget to actually enjoy the riding; I often wonder if people remember that, and get too caught up in performance......
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JZP
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2023 9:32 pm

by JZP

Thanks for all your feedback; lots of good points raised.

If 4.0 W/kg is achievable w/o a coach, I'll keep going on my own and make this decision later. At best, I have six hours/week to ride/train, and splitting this up between other types of exercise can be tricky. I dread the incoming five months of fall + winter weather; Z2 rides on the indoor trainer turns an already boring activity into an absolute snoozer.

AJS914
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

JZP wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2023 4:53 pm
If 4.0 W/kg is achievable w/o a coach, I'll keep going on my own and make this decision later. At best, I have six hours/week to ride/train, and splitting this up between other types of exercise can be tricky. I dread the incoming five months of fall + winter weather; Z2 rides on the indoor trainer turns an already boring activity into an absolute snoozer.

I hit 4 watt/kg when I was racing 30+ years ago (working full time and riding 10hrs per week). At 57, I'm more like 3watts/kg. Whether one can hit 4 or higher depends a lot on age, genetics, past training history, and volume. Six hours per week isn't a lot if one wants to hit peak abilities. You can do fine with consistency, a couple of interval sessions per week and as much endurance riding as you can fit in. Do more than Z2 on the trainer!

GaBa
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:01 pm

by GaBa

I wouldn't agree with this. A couple of interval sessions per week with only six hours of training seems too much. I wouldn't even do one per week but more like one every two or three weeks. If we're talking about high intensity intervals of course. I'm well above 4 W/kg and only had one high intensity session in last 18 days. And the other before that one was 8 days before. These are the only two high intensity sessions I did in September, everything else was below LT1.

And again I come back to the added value of a coach. He can make training interesting even on the trainer just by adding some changes in cadence, changing power while still (well) below LT1 etc. of course, you can figure this on your own but it might take time and some experimenting while he has experience and might figure out what works for you faster.

AJS914
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

How much volume do you do to be well above 5watt/kg?

I don't doubt your interval schedule but when someone is on 6 hours per week the typical recommendation is 2-3 days per with with some intensity. That doesn't have to be soul crushing vo2max interals. It could be tempo, threshold, whatever above z2 endurance pace mentioned above.

JZP
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2023 9:32 pm

by JZP

Admittedly, I'm swayed by the advice from the < 4.0 W/kg guy/gal 8)

JZP
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2023 9:32 pm

by JZP

AJS914 wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2023 8:45 pm
If you futz around on your own, it could take you 5 or 6 years to figure out how to train effectively.
This point really gets me thinking...

by Weenie


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