When it comes to working with a coach, you probably want to get the most out of your training. A good coach can help push you to great results, but it takes constant communication with your coach to make the relationship really flourish. Last week, we talked about the ways that you can get the most out of your coaching on your end, but here, we wanted to touch on the flip side of that: What your coach wishes you were doing in order to best serve you and design training to fit your needs. (Want to talk to an actual coach about your current training plan? You can book a coaching consult here or check out how to work with longtime endurance coach Peter Glassford here.)
We repost this article yearly, because it’s always an important reminder! Check out Peter’s best pieces of advice for how to make your coach happy, and how to make your training as personally tailored to your needs as possible:
Comments are the Most Important Training Data
I love data but despite how perfect that smart-trainer power-based workout looks … it’s not cycling and it’s not you. If you don’t eat all day, are stressed from work, don’t use a fan and do your workout at 9pm that is a whole wack of variables that make your 200 watt average and gold start Personal Bests and glowing Zwift bike … well not really relevant.
It may seem odd to some athletes but it is not uncommon for athletes to ‘ghost’ their coach. Take the workouts, maybe post some data-files but not comment or respond to emails. However, you do it don’t ignore your coach and miss the chance to reflect on your workouts. Rather than spending time analyzing your Power/HR/GPS/Strava Data … tell the coach how you did the workout, where you did the workout, why you did it that way, who you rode with
Sure you can mention ‘How Many’ reps/sets/watts you did if you noted it during the workout (WHEN YOU USED THE LAP BUTTON!) but your coach and data analysis software can pull much of this information out very easily.
Tell your coach about life stuff other than bikes
For any athlete the training data may seem like the most important thing, indeed many coaches and athletes I talk to are only concerned about ‘fitness’ in terms of power or (worse) power-to-weight-ratio. Athletes are people (and so are coaches) so talk about the stuff that happens around your biking as well. If you did the workout after a crappy day at work or after a fight with a spouse or a day you have your period this is worth discussing, often there are things that would be better to change in the training that would make *YOUR* training better.
It’s OK to leave/stop if you aren’t into it
I try and talk to athletes enough before we start to avoid issues, but at some point every athlete moves on. Disciplines change, life changes, goals change … coach’s change. If you are done with training or coaching its ok to have a conversation and discuss why you are moving on. As a coach the worst thing is when training goes blank or is done half-heartedly. The best thing for either party to do is move on if it’s not working and avoid prolonging it.
Have fun and see your friends—don’t just “put in the work”
Training doesn’t have to mean you never have fun. You might choose to do intervals or a long ride alone to nail the intensity and avoid distractions a couple days a week but you can and should integrate conversational rides with friends, the odd group ride or simply warmup and cool-down with a friend who also trains and has their own workout to do.
Think Long Term
Don’t rush. You have time and many things take consistent training for years to become proficient at. Some workouts will be hard, some will be easy. Some will suck, many will be ok or ‘unremarkable’ and a couple will be amazingly awesome workouts. Expect those days and embrace them all.