Nobody likes crashing or getting dropped on a ride. If either of these things happens to you more often than you would like, it’s worth getting feedback on your cycling. Cycling coaching comes in many forms, so even if you don’t plan on racing competitively, coaching can still help.
Being more comfortable riding in a group, climbing hills more powerfully, having more fun and even just improving your safety are reasons to hire a cycling coach. Here are a few scenarios where a cycling coach can help:
1. YOU CRASH A LOT
Every cyclist can be affected by skill deficits — not being able to follow closely on the road, getting dropped in corners or fumbling over logs and rock gardens.
What to expect: Skills clinics or one-on-one skill sessions provide constructive feedback on your technique, which results in you having more fun, riding with more control and gaining speed. A good session or assessment should help you with your posture and position on the bike, which can be a quick and easy way to enhance your control, comfort and speed.
Coaching or training plans that guide your daily workouts can also help boost your skills. A good plan should encourage you to frequently ride in your goal discipline and spend time riding hard at your goal pace, or over it, to ensure you are familiar handling your bike with speed and fatigue. A road rider who rides alone frequently will have trouble in a group, while a mountain biker who builds all their fitness on the road will find the lower cadences and need to avoid obstacles while pedaling very difficult.
2. YOU GET SICK A LOT OR LOSE MOTIVATION
If you are sick frequently, it’s a sign your training isn’t helping you thrive and develop your health, resilience and work capacity. Look back at your training logs and see if you have taken off days and planned for targeted long and hard days each week.
What to expect: A coach can help you avoid overtraining and help you fit the training you need to do into a busy schedule without sacrificing sleep and the social aspects of your life. A training plan will program off-days and off-weeks to help prevent the most common error: training the same way every day. The extra feedback and adjustment a coach adds optimizes your daily training to your own personal ability and adapts to your strengths and limitations. This might come in a personalized plan, though even a consultation with a coach who suggests how to tweak your training can lead to better results.
3. YOU TRAIN A LOT BUT AREN’T GETTING RESULTS
Many cyclists ride a lot but aren’t the fastest riders in their races or rides. I will often have riders come to me for coaching who train more than the elite riders I coach. These riders love to be on the bike, get caught up in all the social and fun rides and try to win every weekly world championship race. Then they subsequently underperform at the races they really want to do well at. These clients often lament that they want to climb hills faster or increase their power.
What to expect: I help these clients primarily by getting them to write down specifically what they want to happen that year and what they don’t want to happen. This goal-setting plan should be done for weekly and daily goals as well to guide our choices each day. To build your cycling fitness you need a plan that alternates high loads and volumes with low loads and volumes. A coach serves not to hold you back but to help you direct your energy and motivation toward the goals you truly want the most.
4. YOU AREN’T HAVING FUN ANYMORE
If you’re struggling with finding fun in riding and don’t have a coach, it’s worth talking to one. They can analyze how you’re riding and suggest adjustments, or even recommend other experts like a sports psychologist or a nutritionist for more focused work.
What to expect: At first, a coach might recommend taking a week off before gradually adding training back into your routine. They will add in more fun rides and increase your variety with different cycling disciplines, intensities and even strength training and cross training to ensure you are engaged and not getting bored. A focus on skills instead of just on your power meter or stopwatch is helpful for athletes and increases enjoyment as you learn and achieve new skill elements each ride. There are many reasons you might lose the passion for the bike but a discussion with a coach can be a great first step.
Every cyclist is limited by something — from elements of physiology and psychology to health and technical aspects. A coach helps you maximize your training time and map out a path to reach your goals. There is a variety of coaching and feedback you can pursue depending on the challenges you’re facing. You just need to find the style of coaching that works for you and your training needs and goals.