Coach Alex Wise of Wise Cycle Training shares his top tips on finding the right coach to help you achieve your goals.
1. Know your route
Before you even approach a cycling coach, have a clear picture of what you’re aiming to achieve by employing one.
“If you have a specific event in mind or a sportive you’re looking to complete, present this to the coach,” says Wise. “If you can pinpoint your aims, are honest about your starting point and the time you can commit to training, you’ll be more likely to have a successful relationship.”
2. Shop around
“Contact a range of coaches — most have their own websites or Twitter feeds — and discuss your personal requirements. Communication and trust are the biggest part of coaching and they are the hardest things to get right,” says Wise.
“If you feel you’ve got someone who you can bond with, ask them for references of successful clients whose needs mirrored yours.”
3. Get value for money
Because every rider’s needs are different, many professional coaches offer a range of packages, and prices vary accordingly.
“A good coach will evaluate your goals, your time and your fitness, and suggest a realistic package — they may even suggest a different coach if they’re not sure they can help you.”
Be prepared to pay anything from £30 / $40 / AU$50 to upwards of £130 / $170 / AU$220 a month depending upon the type of coaching programme.
4. Don’t let locality clinch it
Many coaches work remotely these days, communicating with their clients via phone, email and Skype to set out training plans and monitor progress using systems such as Training Peaks.
“A good coach will let you know how they work, the technology you’ll need and how regularly they’ll be in touch,” says Wise. “If you contact a coach and they don’t get back to you within 24 hours to even acknowledge you, it doesn’t bode well!”
5. Look beyond the letters
“Coaching qualifications such as the ABCC’s or British Cycling’s Level 3 are vital and show your trainer has a grounding in cycling theory, but don’t just choose the highest qualified,” says Wise.
“Choose the coach most suited to your goals and who you feel you can best work with, and review how the relationship is working and how you’re progressing. In most cases, within three years a coach will have done all he or she can to bring a client on.”