Tri Coach – should I get one?

As a follow-on to yesterday’s post, I’m trying to figure out if I should get a coach, and if so – what type of coach I should get.  I think I’m at the point now where a coach would be significantly beneficial to my overall training and racing strategy.  While I’m keenly aware of which areas I can improve in, and have pretty decent ideas as to what I can do to remedy it – I’m not entirely sure on how it all fits together sometimes.

For example, my typical workout schedule is below:

Monday: Off
Tuesday: 4-6 mile run, 60-90 minute bike
Wednesday: 5-8 mile run, 2000-2400 yard swim
Thursday: Tuesday: 4-6 mile run, 70-100 minute bike
Friday: 5-8 mile run, 2000-2200 yard swim
Saturday: Long run (13-20 miles), Long Bike (2-3 hours)
Sunday: Swim (2200-2600 yards) & anything that might have been pushed from Saturday (sometimes I swap the three long workouts around)

So, with that all noted – the first thing that comes to mind is I’m probably running too much.  But on the other hand – my extra effort in that area has produced pretty good results.  Of course, I’m aware that a number of studies have said that running less can actually increase performance (if mixed with other sports, as above).

I know that I have the most to gain on the bike.  Meaning, if you compare my run performance at a tri (usually in the top 10-15%) with my bike/swim performance (usually in the 30% range), my bike and swim are the areas where improvement would make the biggest difference.  In particular, the bike on the longer events.

Oh…back to coaches….

So, my problem is that I know I need to improve my swim technique.  I’ve gone from recreational swimming in April 07 (which averaged 4:00minutes/100 yards) to now (which averages 1:41/100 yards).  Yes, a big improvement.  But in general I have terrible form and am wasting tons of energy (even if I am going at a good clip).  I don’t really kick at all.  My legs are simply along for the ride.  My breathing is good though (I bilaterally breath), but I’m sure my stroke is less than ideal.

But here’s where the dilemma is – if I purchase services from a remote coach (such as one of the various online-only coaches) – it doesn’t seem as though that will do my swim any good from a form perspective.  So that means I need a swim coach.  The question becomes how well will the swim coach mesh with my online coach.  Do they coordinate training schedules, or does it become a bit of a mess?  And what does a swim coach typically cost?

Now you see my dilemma.  The good news is with my main race (IMC2008) being a year away, this seems the ideal time to figure it all out.


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