MTB Race News Gear
Buy It Here!
Shirts, Socks, Hoodies and More...
Home Calendar MTB RaceNews Team Photo Gallery About Us

Coach's Column - Creating a Training Program and When to Hire a Coach

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |March 28, 2013 2:34 AM

Coach's Column - Creating a Training Program and Deciding if Hiring a Coach is Right for You

Question: How do I set up a training program for the upcoming season and when should I consider hiring a coach to help me reach my goals?

Answer: Step one in setting up your training program for the upcoming season, is to write your goals on a calendar. Then rank the importance of each goal, A, B or C. Next give each week a training theme, e.g. rest week, race week, threshold week, VO2max week etc. Finally, fill in each day with the daily training details needed to get you to your goal event ready to rock your race.

Coaching involves more than simply following a training plan. Self-coach athletes often find success for several years then land on a performance plateau by following the same plan repeatedly. A coach will bring in new ideas and fill in missing links to push a self-coached athlete up to the next level.

I asked my own athletes for the athlete perspective on the advantages of having a coach on their team.

"What is the most valuable thing I do for you as your coach?”

Here is what they have to say:

·       You give me the roadmap to meet my goals. I do not have any knowledge of how to train smart to meet my goals nor do I have the time to learn them.  I have 100% confidence in your knowledge and experience so all I have to do is open the emails and follow the training instructions. You hold me accountable and even when you don’t say anything I hear you in my head when I race and train and want to do well for you.  I’m sure all your athletes say that…

·       Structure of both proper training at the proper time and forced rest. Knowing you are looking at my training files is accountability that is very needed for me to push so hard.

·       Listen to me, and have empathy when needed and a firm hand when that is called for too.

·       Planning my training schedule leading up to big events is THE most important thing you do for me. Having you review and comment on my race/nutrition plan before a big event is very helpful to me as well. You also give me the answer I "need” to hear and not the one I "want” to hear when I ask about doing a hard group ride or a local race that doesn’t fit into my schedule.  These are things that would derail me if I didn’t have a coach.

·       Putting me on a schedule and giving me structure!  Knowing when to work me and when to rest me.

·       Tell me what to do to be fast.

·       You have confidence in me and my racing and in your plan. That gives me confidence in the plan and my racing as well. 


From a coach’s perspective, here are ten advantages I can give you as your coach.

1, Accountability 

A coach will be that voice on your shoulder during training that holds you accountable to put in the work needed in order to reach your goals.

2, Education

A certified experienced coach will teach you why you are doing a specific workout and accelerate your learning curve of how to train properly.

3, Time Management 

A coach will save time in your busy schedule allowing you focus on your real life tasks while training accurately.

4, Accuracy      

With a coach you can avoid training mistakes.

5, Expertise      

The objective eye of your coach will pick up details you don’t see in yourself that are key to performance.

6, Rest!              

Typically self-coached athletes are great at training hard but need a coach to tell them when it is recovery time.

7, Data Feedback          

A coach will analyze and interpret your training data and provide feedback to set new challenges and targets to achieve.

8, Challenge     

A coach will push you to new challenges and achievements you didn’t think were possible.

9, Direction      

A coach will keep you on track when training interruptions like illness, poor weather, goal inflation and business travel come up.

10, Network       

A coach will connect you with expert resources in related fields that will improve performance such as a sports nutritionist or physical therapist.

Lynda Wallenfels is a Category 1 certified USA Cycling coach. She coaches mountain bike, cross country and endurance athletes to personal bests and national championships. Lynda has been coaching off-road athletes for 16 years and racing professionally for 18 years. Contact her through her website for information on mountain bike training plans, coaching and consulting at


Close (X)