Triathlon Coach: How to Find the Right One for You

Last updated: 03-01-2020

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Triathlon Coach: How to Find the Right One for You

Google yields 24.8 million results for “triathlon coach.” There’s a better way.

Whether you’re a beginner who wants to get started on the right foot or a seasoned triathlete with a very specific goal, a triathlon coach can be a tremendous help in providing a detailed roadmap for success. But trying to find a coach isn’t such a straightforward process. Google “triathlon coach,” and you’ll find the options are endless – who knew there were so many coaches out there? By searching in the right places, you can narrow down your options and find the best one to meet your needs. Instead of Google, try looking for your coach in these settings:

If you’ve been training with the same person (or people) for a while, chances are you’ve got a similar approach to training. Ask your training buddies if they’ve worked (or are working) with a coach, and what they like and dislike about the process. If they’re willing to share a sample week of workouts, take a gander – Are the instructions clear? What kind of post-workout information and reflection does the coach want from his or her athletes? If it’s a match, ask your friend for an intro to the coach.

Since most local triathlon clubs race the same events, many work with a triathlon coach to provide training plans and guidance for members of the club. This is usually included in club membership fees, and typically comes in broad training templates, which allow team members to follow the same schedule and set up group events, like open-water swims and long rides with SAG support. If you’re looking for individual attention, ask the coach if he or she offers a special rate for one-on-one coaching; many offer discounts for team members.

Want to try out life as a coached athlete before committing? Sign up for a training camp. These hyper-focused triathlon camps, which are offered in duration from one day to one week, allow athletes to experience a dedicated block of training under the guidance of a triathlon coach (or team of coaches). In addition to boosting your fitness in a big way, training camps allow you to interact with a coach to see if your personalities mesh. It also allows the coach to gain firsthand knowledge of you as an athlete and person, which will lead to creating the most effective training plan for you.

Some things you shouldn’t crowdsource from random strangers on the internet – say, a diagnosis for your injury or illness or legal advice after a car hits you while riding. But asking for coaching recommendations online is fairly harmless – and it might just lead you to a great match. For best results, target your question to a group that is similar to you in some way, like the Women For Tri Facebook group or a forum set up for vegan/keto/Clyesdale/Masters/[insert identifier here] athletes. If multiple people make the same recommendation, that may be a coach worth contacting for more information.

If you’re already using an app or software to track your workouts, check to see if there is a directory of coaches who utilize the same technology. Training Peaks, for example, provides a directory of more than 1,000 coaches who utilize their software, and you can narrow down the search by filling out a questionnaire, which yields a list of coaches who match your preferences and price point.

To find a coach with training in a certain subset of triathlon (such as youth sport development or paratriathlon) or a specific distance, consider searching the database of a credentialing organization. USA Triathlon trains and certifies coaches in a variety of levels and specialties, and all certified coaches in good standing with the governing body are listed in their coach database. Similarly, the Ironman organization offers a training and certification program for coaches called Ironman U – coaches who have completed the program are listed in a database on the Ironman website.


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