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Why I'm not ready for a coach

Thursday, December 05, 2013

I did a strength training workout last Monday night, using Holistic Strength Training for Triathlon. Had a nice chat with Nick, one of the personal trainers at the club. He'd just earned his USA Cycling coach certification that day - good on ya, Nick! - and was really interested in the book I was using. He mentioned there's a swim coach at the club who's awesome. I told him that at some point, I'll contact him about setting up personal training.

Nick seemed baffled by my insistence upon muddling through my first tri, and then seeking out a coach when I feel like I need to improve. I don't think it was just because he's trying to drum up business. He has a very valid point: if you have good instruction at the outset, you don't have to unlearn bad habits. But that's completely counter to the way I do things.

That kind of set me to thinking: if I understand the value of working with a coach from the beginning, why am I so opposed to doing so (other than just plain stubbornness)? Well, here's the answer:

I don't like being told what to do. And yeah, I know NO ONE likes being told what to do. But in my case, even when I know the person is right, I resist following their advice until I get to the point I realize I need it. As in NEEEEEEED it. Then I'm receptive.

I skied for several years before paying for a private lesson. I was a darned good skier, too. I could ski anything groomed, but I fell apart off the piste. The ski instructor diagnosed what I was doing wrong on the first run. He gave me one piece of advice I could use that completely changed my skiing. A few years before that, I would not have been receptive to what he had to say: I had too much else going on in my head. But I hired him at a point where I knew I needed help to improve, which meant I was going to actually listen.

And so, Nick, that is why I am going to continue walking around in the fitness center with a dog-eared copy of Holistic Strength Training for Triathlon under my arm, flail about in the pool trying to teach myself to swim, and loosely follow my own training program. In a year or so, I will realize that I've learned as much as I can and improved as much as I can on my own: like a drunk hitting rock bottom and being ready to dry out, I will be ready to listen to someone else.

The fitness class tonight is Group Power. It's a good strength training workout, but I think I'm going to skip it and do my own strength training program tonight. Not sure if I'm going to do my standard 10-minute warm up on the rowing machine or if I'm going to try running a few miles on the treadmill. I ran a couple miles on the treadmill a few nights ago. That's miserable. But it's crazy cold here right now, so running outside is out of the question. I'll bring along my mp3 player - maybe that will make it suck less.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • v BILL60
    I'm on your side. I just like to do my own thing. I've tried several cycling coaches and it just didn't work out for me.
    995 days ago
  • v HILLSLUG98239
    One thing I know about me: I am hyper-analytical. And I'm the same way about research. I read read read about things I'm interested in. In fact, I'm walking proof that knowledge does not equal changed behavior.
    995 days ago
    Well, some people are just stubborn. (hee hee!)

    I think I know what you mean, though I come at it from a slightly different perspective. I like to do research, and puzzle out what it is that I'm doing. Perhaps this is the legacy of having had a ballet teacher "help" me do splits (to the tune of torn muscles), and a running coach who insisted that it was good to hyperextend my terrible knees while stretching (ow). I think I really want to PAY ATTENTION to myself to figure out what feels good and what doesn't, without the distraction of someone trying to fit me and my body and my habits into some ideal athletic mold.

    You'll figure it out. And when you're ready, you're smart enough to ask someone for help. Makes perfect sense to me.
    995 days ago
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