Trainer: on-line or on-site??

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  r-at-work 14 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #1400

    r-at-work
    Member

    looking for some opinions here…

    Last year I did track work with a club and long runs with another club… their schedules now conflict with my family’s (and therefore my) schedule..

    I’ve decided to go with a trainer this year… it’s a group of three I would be working with one of the women (she also coaches HS)… they offer on site which would disrupt my work schedule and I could only make 2 out of three sessions per week (one of the track seesion & the long run)… the other option is on-line… I could still join them for the long run…

    I’ve asked my husband and my sister (both know me, my schedule & have coached sports but are not runners)… they both think I am focused enough to do it on-line and that the stress of getting to the track would not neccessarily be worth the benefit gained… my sister said TRY it for a month and then try it the other way for a month…

    my concerns are that I am not too good at judging pace, the coach said that it would come with more track work… either way I’ll get my weekly workouts and email & phone access… and while I don’t expect to all of a sudden become great, I know that the track work I did last year helped me PR almost every distance (5K-marathon) last year… but part of that was that since 1991 I have been getting more serious, bit by bit…

    so what do you think…

  • #14175

    Zeke
    Member

    they offer on site which would disrupt my work schedule and I could only make 2 out of three sessions per week (one of the track seesion & the long run)… the other option is on-line… I could still join them for the long run…

    Is there a price difference between the 2 options? If so, is that a concern?

    my concerns are that I am not too good at judging pace, the coach said that it would come with more track work…

    Does the coach mean “that’ll come with more track work, you should join us”? If so, I’d caution that running with others may actually hinder your ability to judge pace. It may cause you to worry about things like not bumping into one another, hanging with the group rather than running your pace, etc. rather than focusing inward.

    If learning to judge pace is one of your goals, I’d suggest finding a track where you can run by yourself. Make sure you know where every 100m mark is located. Then decide what 100m splits you need to run to hit your goal for each rep. For example, if you are doing 800s in 4:00, you’d need to hit each 100 in :30. Pay very close attention to your splits and how they feel. If you’re a little slow, press the gas a little. Too fast, ease up.

    So I guess what I’m saying is, if the online program works better, don’t let the fact that you can’t do track workouts with a group sway your decision.

  • #14176

    Anonymous

    I feel on-line coaching is a very good option if your highly motivated and disciplined to stick to a workout and the paces the coach prescribes. I have used two different coaches thru on-line and have made a nice progression with them. I’m really enjoying the one I’m using now . I am excited to see some big PR’s this summer and fall.

    If you asked me if I would rather have the option of having a coach trackside and yelling out splits and watching my form with feedback I would take that first. But with work and conflicts on time —-like you mentioned it can be tough to get together.

    Sooo I have used the on-line option and am very confident saying my times have dropped with the service of a coach. I don’t care how much you know about running or what your experience is— It will only help you to find a coach you like and respect to look at your logs objectively and help your progression.

    Good luck 😀

    Woody

  • #14177

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Personally, I’m not a big fan of online coaching. After having coaches by my side for the first 10 years of my running life, I have realized how big of a part of the coaching job personal observation of the athlete is. This is something that simply can not be done through online coaching. On that front, personal, interactive coaching is my first choice.

    That said, if it just won’t work for you and you don’t have in depth knowledge of the sport as well as the ability to objectively look through your training log, online coaching can be better than nothing.

    I guess I’m kind of unique because I have a few knowledgable people who I have great respect for always willing to offer their insights for free (and, unfortunately, a lot of people who I don’t have as much respect for, many being anonymous trolls, who like to share their opinions – the reason I no longer post my training in any publicly viewable place) and I have studied both the theory and the practical application of the sport probably more than nearly any non-coach out there and probably more than some coaches out there. While I look at my workouts subjectively, I can also disconnect myself when I need to in order to look at my training objectively and ask myself what I would do if I were coaching someone and this was his training log (which I usually do at the end of every week, if not more frequently). The one thing I can not do is objectively observe myself during workouts and this is also the one thing that an online coach could not offer me.

  • #14178

    r-at-work
    Member

    there is a price difference, but that’s not an issue… time is an issue as it would not sit well to be paying for two track days and only getting there for one of them…

    I am fairly obsessive or focused if that sounds better… so I think I would be able to follow a plan… and while I’ve read a lot and might be able to continue to make up my own schedules I think I would be better about following something I was paying for…

    Tuesday morning was the mandatory time trial… and the two coaches that were there both watched me run (front & side view), as well as timing my splits…

    I also realize that just following other runners might not do much for developing my own sense of pace… last year I ran with a track group and I doubt I’m much better at pacing…but that’s also because I did take a real step up in my training and I’m running at a different pace than before last year… and there is a HS track 2.25 miles from my house, and it’s open to the public…

    another issue (that I could overcome if I had to)…I’m shy and really don’t get ‘into’ the social aspect of running with a group as much as I think some people do… I already have a very full life and it’s difficult to fit in much more so if it becomes a choice between socializing with the ‘group’ or getting in miles I choose the miles and probably come off as a bit of a snob… but that was last year’s group and they were younger & most not married… the group I met on Tuesday were all there before work, seemed more focused, upbeat but not giddy.. I felt I could work with them without feeling totally out of place…

    still think about it…

    -R

  • #14179

    Zeke
    Member

    Personally, I’m not a big fan of online coaching.

    Who was your online coach?

  • #14180

    Zeke
    Member

    there is a price difference, but that’s not an issue… time is an issue as it would not sit well to be paying for two track days and only getting there for one of them…

    Could you work something out where you only pay for the workouts you attend?

    …I’m shy and really don’t get ‘into’ the social aspect of running with a group as much as I think some people do… I already have a very full life and it’s difficult to fit in much more so if it becomes a choice between socializing with the ‘group’ or getting in miles I choose the miles and probably come off as a bit of a snob…

    I’m the exact same way. I ran with a health club’s marathon group for 2 years. While most people were there for the social aspect, I was there to get faster. I don’t think that means we’re snobs.

  • #14181

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    Zeke wrote:

    Personally, I’m not a big fan of online coaching.

    Who was your online coach?

    I take it you’re not satisfied with my already provided explanation. That’s your prerogative but, as I already explained, I think people who use online coaching are missing out on a huge aspect of what coaching is all about: personal observation. I can’t even begin to count the number of times a coach of mine would watch me during a workout and adjust the workout on the fly based on observations of how I was handling the workout. You can’t get that without your coach being present. Anyone who has studied the sport could write up a schedule but coaching is much more than that. I have been asked by a few people if I would coach them online and I said no every time. First because of the reason I stated. Second because, if I were to suggest online coaching, I would suggest certain individuals other than myself.

  • #14182

    Zeke
    Member

    I take it you’re not satisfied with my already provided explanation.

    It’s not that I’m not satisfied. I’m just curious if you ever tried it.

    My observations are that you would prefer in this order…

    1) on-site coach

    2) coaching yourself

    3) on-line coach

    Is that correct?

  • #14183

    danm
    Member

    I have a multitude of coaches in various sports and I agree nothing can replace having your coach right there with you.

    I have also gone the route of coaching myself and done fairly well with that too. But, personally, I think having an online coach is the next best alternative to the coach actually being there. But (and here is a big but) the coach has to be intune with how to coach online. Most can’t.

    I have been fortunate to find a coach who can, and using tools such as HRM he is able to dial in what is happening. He has over 20 plus year as an elite coach and 20 years of elite level running. I gravitate toward people who have been there at the top of the sport before I trust their knowledge.

    It is sort of the “if you can’t beat me, what makes you think you can teach me.”

    I know others who have had good success with online coaches as well. I think it is really about the coach and their ability.

    Some people are just not coachable though and it wouldn’t matter whether God himself were standing next to them with a stop watch.

  • #14184

    r-at-work
    Member

    well, the “if you can’t beat me” comment would mean most the runners I know would be eligible or the job and I wouldn’t trust most of them… the coaching group I’m thinking about working with all have competed at the national level,still compete locally and have been coaching for awhile… in fact it was one of the guys from my long run group last year who suggested them, he had been using them and had taken a chunk off his marathon time…

    as for being ‘coachable’… I certainly won’t be a poster-child for their ‘amazing success rate’… I’m a 50 year old woman with very little talent… I can follow dierection to a tee and if I’m not sure I can communicate that as well and they assure unlimited email and phone contact…we’ll see…

    I am tenatious and I plan on running till there is no one else in my age group… in fact that’s the big joke in our house, that I’ll be winning my age group in another twenty or thiry years… so on that note, if the on-line coaching isn’t what I need I figure I have lots of time to find the perfect solution…

    -R

  • #14185

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    Zeke wrote:
    My observations are that you would prefer in this order…

    1) on-site coach

    2) coaching yourself

    3) on-line coach

    Is that correct?

    That would be correct for the most part. An on-site coach is definitely top of the list, as long as the coach and I could work together well. Of course, that’s an important consideration for anyone. You have to be able to have a good working relationship, no matter where your coach is in geographic relation to you. Actually, to be honest, I am considering asking a couple of locals if they would be interested in coaching. Coaching myself is a distant second, mostly because of all the research I have done on training philosophy and practice. I simply feel like I can do at least as good of a job of developing a training plan that combines sound training principles with my personal needs as pretty much anyone out there since I have studied the principles and I know my personal needs better than anyone else who can’t work directly with me. I also have proven to myself the ability to look at my training log objectively as a coach would look at his/her athlete’s training log. As I stated already, the one thing I can’t do is the one thing an online coach can’t do. As for an online coach, I would consider one but it would have to be a very special coach and we would have to develop a very special relationship.

    As for my suggestions to others, an on-site coach is by far my #1 suggestion. Depending on their level of experience and knowledge of the sport, as well as their ability to objectively look at their training log, 2 and 3 could vary. I will say one thing. An athlete who has never been coached in the past should seriously consider coaching. If you can’t find a coach to work with in person, then go online. There is a lot you can learn from a good coach.

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