Why You Should Get a Cycling Coach
On its face cycling seems like it should be a simple sport; pedalling a bicycle surely can’t be that hard? Anyone who starts cycling quickly discovers that there is a lot more to it. From training progression, to nutrition (on and off the bike), to bike handling, to bunch etiquette, to tactics and strategy, and even the long history of the sport, there are many layers to unpick.
For the amateur cyclist, navigating all this on their own can make for a long journey, often marred by setbacks and wrong turns. Engaging a cycling coach is like putting a trusted friend with a good map in the passenger seat; the journey is made more enjoyable, many wrong turns are avoided, and you get to the destination a lot faster than expected.
Many cyclists put off getting a coach until they feel they are “ready” or “deserving”, not realising that they are inadvertently slowing their rate of progress and missing out on the benefits of a good coach. This article sets out some of those benefits.
Consistency is one of the most important elements of progress in endurance sports. Cyclists tend to fall foul of this principle by either not following the plan, or by doing too much. The accountability provided by a coach can help you with consistency in the following ways:
They act as an external, trusted person who will reliably monitor your progress;
They notice if you are not starting or completing your planned training;
They can step in to stop you from doing too much or overtraining;
They provide you with regular feedback and identify areas for improvement.
Access to Expertise
Coaches possess expert knowledge about the sport of cycling that has often been acquired through formal and informal education, years of experience helping a broad range of people to meet their cycling goals, and their own racing and training. Engaging a coach gives you access to their expertise; whether it be to answer all your questions, or simply to give you peace of mind from knowing that your training and progress are in the hands of an expert.
Personalised Training Plan
One of the primary advantages of engaging a cycling coach is receiving a training plan that has been created for your unique physiology, needs and goals. Unlike a generic training program or AI-generated program, a personal cycling coach can assess your individual strengths and weaknesses, goals and fitness level, and design a training program around them. Most importantly, they maintain a personal, human connection with you and are able to amend and adjust your plan when “life” happens.
Assistance with Goal Setting and Monitoring Progress
With their understanding of the sport and athlete progression, a coach can help you set achievable yet challenging goals for your cycling. In some cases this may mean managing expectations while you learn and develop, and in other instances helping you to achieve more than you thought was possible. The insight a coach has into your training and routines also means they can monitor your progress, keep you accountable to your goals and suggest improvements or changes that will help you to achieve them.
Cycling is a data-oriented sport, and most coaches use sophisticated tools to monitor your workouts, training blocks and entire season. They can analyse your metrics and remarks from an individual workout and give feedback on how to improve compliance and execution, give you feedback about your competition performance, and track your progress over the long-term. With continuous communication between you and your coach, you can benefit immensely from meaningful feedback and positive reinforcement.
In addition to setting your training for you, a good coach will give you guidance on rest and recovery strategies and can monitor your training load to ensure that it is not exceeding your capacity and putting you at risk of illness and overtraining. While not all coaches are able to watch their athletes train and compete, those that do may also be able to give advice on proper technique and injury avoidance.
Motivation and Support
Building a relationship over time with your cycling coach is one of the great joys of the sport. Your coach can become a critical component of your support system, knowing your strengths, weaknesses and potential, and motivating you to get the best out of yourself.
Network and Community Connection
Cycling coaches are often well-connected in the sport. Whether it be recommending a great cycling club, putting you in touch with potential training partners and competitive opportunities, or connecting you to a community of athletes, a cycling coach can help you to navigate and feel at home in the broader cycling community.
Considerations When Choosing a Coach
We’ve highlighted some of the many benefits of engaging a personal cycling coach. Every coach is different, and when looking for your own cycling coach you should be clear on what is most important to you and be willing to talk to several coaches before making a decision. We recommend you give consideration to:
Compatibility with your goals and personality.
Coaching philosophy and style.
Communication skills and preferences.
Coaching credentials and experience (get an overview of common coaching accreditations here).
Financial considerations (check out our article on the average cost of a cycling coach in Australia here).
Engaging a cycling coach offers tangible benefits for cyclists at all levels. From providing accountability and expertise to crafting individualised training plans and offering support, a coach can significantly accelerate your progress. The decision to hire a coach is not about being "ready" or "deserving"; it's about making a practical choice to enhance your cycling experience. Consider your goals, assess your options, and take this valuable step to reach your full potential on the bike.