Pull the Plug: Top 10 Triathlon Coaching or Self-Coaching Guidelines – TriCoachGeorgia


As a triathlete you need every edge to achieve a goal, for that personal record, and to beat your competition. You probably read everything that looks vaguely appealing from media and social media about training, talk to your friends and acquaintances that have had some success, and try some of the suggestions out. Some of you even reach out for team membership or coaching from the good ones at TriCoachGeorgia.com!

What is Most Important

Quality coaching and your best performance depends on a lot of things. As I wrote before here in this blog and here in this blog, the former is often more dependent on the tight relationship between the coach and athlete then on the nuts and bolts, which, although important, are simply not enough for the vast majority of coached athletes. Thus, improved performance for most coached athletes is dependent on good reciprocal communication.

How it Works

Using a program such as trainingpeaks.com, athletes receive their training schedules ahead of time, execute or fail to execute their training session and then they upload their workout data for their coach. In addition to the data, the coach, also can get a narrative to help describe the session and what went well and what failed. Was pace, power, or heart rate too high, did they have to cut it short due to family or work obligations, did they go out too hard too early and suffer later, etc.? These are some of the bits of information that can help the coach understand how to adjust future training accordingly to get the most our of the athlete.

Communication is Key

As I live or train near many of my athletes, I don’t always have to rely on a narrative. However, many of my athletes are located in distant locations like Oklahoma, New York, and Florida. Therefore, I have to keep open lines of communication and be on the ready to help them adjust on the fly and due to physical and practical issues that have arisen. They can text, private message, email, or call me and I try to get their questions answered in a jiffy. I make the adjustments necessary asap. But I worry that they need to be more independently driven in cases when I can’t be reached immediately. And that is why I wrote this blog.

Yes, I am a worrier. My athletes’ success reflects on our process. I worry about athletes who I have less contact with and who I have ample contact with but don’t communicate well to me what is going on with their mind and body. It is the nature of the beast of online coaching. However, there needs to be some basic guidelines about what to do when things are going wrong.

These are my top 10 communication guidelines to my athletes that will ensure you greatest success:

Top 10 Triathlon Coaching or Self-Coaching Guidelines

  1. Think ahead Use a calendar program, app, or book to stay ahead of the game about what you are doing when and what needs purchasing, service, etc. Don’t blow training because you didn’t take care of something ahead of time.
  2. Keep me posted in advance of all your plans in work, family, travel, last minute race etc. Put it on the calendar so I can adjust and accommodate your needs to maximize your progress.
  3. Review the plans I provided you two weeks in advance so that you know the terminology, flow, and expectations of each session. Question me ahead of time so you will not be left in the lurch if I can’t answer immediately.
  4. Do your job and execute!
  5. Pull the plug if you feel quality is being compromised by fatigue or stress. Live to fight another day and enjoy the extra rest, but don’t overdo it because you are worried about being weak.
  6. Pull the plug if something doesn’t feel right. Don’t compound soreness or an injury. Being tough is being dumb.
  7. Be kind to yourself if things didn’t go as planned. Also, be realistic about your potential. Your returns will diminish over time.
  8. Have a long view of success and recognize that with endurance we are cooking more of a crock pot juicy meal than a quick microwave dried out meal. Anything that compromises consistency is the enemy.
  9. Keep me informed along the way as well as you can about your sense of mental and physical progress.
  10. Finally, remember this is our process. It is your journey. Everyone has opinions to listen to but ultimately in our collaboration the decisions are ours.

Each step and misstep informs us how to get us where you are going. Trust me and keep working hard. Whether you are coached or self-coached, it’s ok to pull the plug on a session. It’s fine to honor your body and mind when they need a rest. Just get back on track as soon as you can because consistency is the name of the game as regards endurance athletics.

Thanks for reading and hope this helps you to understand my thinking process with my athletes who have enjoyed some measure of success. Contact me with any questions.