I wrote a piece on what it feels like to be on the receiving end of physiological cycling coaching a little while ago in response to a ‘how does it work in practice then? question. If you want a refresher it's here.
As a counterpart to this, I persuaded one of my more vocal riders, Ottilie Quince to jot down her thoughts on why it works for her. Otts is a sports scientist and therapist by background which makes things easier in many ways and harder in others! She's s an ‘educated client’ in so much that she is interested in the physiological effect of the training and the physical systems used to make her ride faster. She wants to know why she is doing something, not just that she has to do it – it keeps me on my toes.
Everybody is different and one size does not fit all. Training has to be tailored to the individual. Ottilie lives in Mallorca so picking up the phone for a chat is not always so easy but as she points out, Training Peaks and technology compensates well for the distance between coach and rider. Coaching ‘remotely’ is a realistic option: it’s not necessary to live in the same patch for the process to work.
I’ll let Otts take over, her words are below
Cycling, coaching, training & technology
It's now even easier to be hounded...I mean updated and motivated by your Coach on what you need to do in each training session due to innovative apps, technology and the correct qualifications.
Having a coach helps you stay focused on specific sessions each week, that enable you to reach the aims and objectives of your periodised season that both you and your coach have discussed in the closed season.
My Coach Rich Smith has all the qualifications by British Cycling to prescribe detailed training sessions for a range of disciplines within cycling.
I've tried a fair few races and events in my short time in cycling so far including; national track omniums, crit races, road races, time trials and national/international races too so it's good to know whatever my training sessions are they all have SMART targets (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound) each session applies to my upcoming events.
Rich uses Training Peaks as the main coach-rider programme. What's great about this is that I don't even have to open my laptop since I downloaded the app on my smart phone (iPhone). I get an email each evening reminding me of what the next session will involve with attached word files when necessary. I also use the Training Peaks app on my phone to track my progress and see all the geeky stuff after training/racing e.g. heart rate (minimum, average & maximum), speed (minimum, average, maximum), cadence, distance, maps as well as power if you have a power meter on your bike (I don't have this at the moment).
What makes the process even easier is my new Garmin. I recently bought a Garmin 520 at £250rrp it's a superb piece of kit that comes with a heart rate monitor strap and has some great new features.
Firstly, the Bluetooth facility, as soon as I finish a ride and I am in a Wi-Fi zone the Garmin uploads my data directly to my Training Peaks account (and Garmin Connect) so Coach can see what I have done, so there's no slacking! Secondly the Garmin tells you any PB's you have gained i.e. fastest 40km or furthest ride etc, as a competitive person I really like this feature to see how I'm doing compared to previous sessions.
Third and finally you can quickly give any feedback to the session via the app' so anything that happened in the session can be mentioned here. This means you don't have to do a huge feedback session at the end of the week and coach can tweak any future sessions accordingly.
Let's face it everyone can be motivated to train if you put your mind to it, but when you have to put serious hours into something that you want to succeed at it's always good to have someone help motivate you. Someone who's highly qualified, won races, who can empathise with your situation, who's also training and racing themselves, someone you trust and someone whom you respect helps even more.
When you want to complete each session to the best of your ability, progress and notice a real change... RideFast.
The ramblings of a cycling coach...