Since signing up for Ironman Coeur D'Alene 2012, I have been thinking about getting a coach. I wasn't totally sure if I needed one but I posted the question on the running forum I am part of and I got some answers that helped me decide. Besides providing me with structure, accountability, and general wisdom and advice, a coach will help me by determining an appropriate training volume and keeping my program flexible for life, age, injury, etc. So, with this in mind, I have been looking for a coach.
My iron friend, Christine, suggested two names to me. Either option would have been good but I happened to meet with one before the other and decided to go with her. Her name is Rachel and she and her husband, Glen, will be whipping me into shape for next year. Glen has coached for 25 years, including some of Canada's elite triathletes, and Rachel was, herself, an elite triathlete but both of them seem quite happy to work with me. In fact, it sounds like both of them are really interested in ordinary age group athletes and Rachel has a particular interest in helping people with injuries get to the start and finish line.
They will provide me with a training plan that will come to me in 4 week blocks. The plan will be customized for me, my age, goals, and injury status. I also have the option of some one-on-one time with them, which I will probably take advantage of from time to time, just to be sure my swim form is good, my bike fits me, and that I am doing my weight training properly. In September, Glen is going to start up group swim training sessions at the neighbourhood pool and I will go to those. Rachel is going to get me going on strength training, which they said will help my performance immensely and give me a way to train effectively without an intense volume of running and cycling. That will make my hip happy. I can spin two days a week with the Edmonton Triathlon Club, from December to March, and then get out on the road for some long rides in the couple months before the race. They said that I will only have to run about 16-20K as my longest runs and then they will create a plan that will incorporate plenty of walking into the marathon run portion of the race. Finally, they said that they would help me train my nutrition, too, so that I don't bonk during the race and can finish feeling good.
All in all, I really liked their approach and plan for me. It sounds very doable and I will have the right balance between one-on-one advice, group workouts and structured time on my own. They will help me with mental preparedness, too, which might mean that I don't have to burst into tears on the beach next June, like I do at almost every race!
Talking to them made me feel relieved that I don't have to go into this epic adventure on my own and it also made me very excited to think that, with guidance, hard work on my part, and faith in myself and my training, I might just cross that finish line in under 17 hours.