Just like in other sports, triathletes can work with a coach to help improve anything from body mechanics to motivation. An experienced coach may also be the easiest way to design an effective training regiment based on your available time and skill level.
A number of options exist for triathletes interested in receiving assistance from a coach. Thanks to the Internet, virtual coaching is now an option. Virtual coaching programs are affordable and often developed by experienced coaches. Virtual coaching ranges from self-coaching to working with a coach online and via email. Typically with self-coaching, you receive a training program and it is up to you to follow the program and monitor development. If you work with a coach through email, you will be able to give and receive feedback regarding your training program and personalize your program more than you would with a self-coach program. Of course, this increased interaction comes at a price.
Obviously, if you need help with biomechanics and proper form, virtual coaching isn’t going to be the best option for you. You will need the assistance of coaching from a real, live person. If you don’t require one-on-one time, check on-line or in your local phone book for nearby triathlon camps and classes. Camps and classes meet in a group setting, and offer a lower cost than a personal coach.
If you’re interested in improving your swim times, a Masters swim class may be something to consider. Available at many larger health clubs and community centers, Masters swim classes are basically swimming lessons for swimmers. The classes are led by experienced swim coaches who can watch you and help you with stroke technique.
Many local bike shops and specialty running stores have weekly rides/runs in the late afternoon or weekends for athletes of varying skill levels. Participating in these is a great chance to not only meet others interested in the individual disciplines of triathlon, but also to stay motivated. Call around to some of the local shops in your town and see if/when they offer rides/runs.
If you’re really serious about triathlon, and want one-on-one assistance to help you accomplish your training goals, you may want to invest in a personal coach. You can find a coach in the specific sport you need help in or locate a triathlon coach that can assist you in all disciplines. USA Triathlon has organized a program to certify triathlon coaches. The program offers three incremental levels of certification for coaches, each level requires the coach to increase their knowledge and experience with the sport of triathlon. Currently, there are over 1500 USA Triathlon Certified Coaches located in the USA and Internationally. The USA Triathlon website contains a tool to assist with finding a certified coach in your area.