The question is not new and is part of the doubts of many amateur athletes: should I train with personalized technical guidance or not?
If, regarding professional athletes and young ones, it seems to me that the opinion is unanimous, created by the need for daily in-person guidance that allows immediate feedback and control of tasks and proposed sessions, for amateurs, there seem to be different opinions and options.
The family and professional life of an adult are always, and rightly so, in the forefront, making it almost impossible for daily guidance from a coach, as schedules are overloaded with tasks, and access to certain facilities is not always possible. Even when it is, by choice, many athletes simply prefer to train without following an individualized plan.
It is true that there are currently thousands of plans published in magazines, websites, blogs, and other media, including detailed plans of some of the world's best athletes. But is it a wise decision to follow what was created for others? Is what was planned in a general way really a solution?
Naturally, everything depends on the goal and personal investment that each is willing to make in preparation. An athlete who runs only once a week or takes part in one or two group sessions, without any competitive goal, can, in my opinion, do without a medium to long-term plan but should always, whenever possible, take part in activities guided by professionals who ensure structured training and adjust the load and tasks individually at the moment of each session.
When we enter the realm of personal challenges, with or without rankings in sight, or simply to achieve that dream goal, I have no doubt that athletes should opt for personalized guidance. Like everything in life, it is a matter of choice, knowing that financial limitations are often cited as a hindering factor for following an individualized plan.
The preparation for a race, especially the half marathon and marathon, involves several months of preparation, acquiring some equipment, registrations, and even travel and accommodation if it is far from home. This entire process can cost between a few hundred euros to several thousand, depending on the challenge and location. Does it not make sense for the investment to also include appropriate technical guidance?
For those who are fans of technology and innovation, I do not hesitate to say that the difference between a pair of running shoes of 100 or 300€ or between a GPS device of 200 or 500€ will certainly make less of a difference in the entire training process and outcome than making choices to purchase more affordable equipment and applying the difference to a quality training guidance service.
Also, the injuries that may arise during the training process, if caused by inappropriate planning, besides the frustration they provoke, often entail a high cost to recover from what could have been avoided with adjusted training planning. Fortunately, in Ireland, we have coaches with quality, experience, and the ability to respond to all competitive levels and challenges. Trust them and take advantage of all the good they can offer you.
10 Reasons to Have a Coach:
Every athlete is different and evolves at different rates.
Each athlete has a different family and professional routine.
Depending on the geographical area of residence and the training resources available to each, the planning may vary significantly and should be organized according to each athlete's reality.
Even when following a well-structured, professionally crafted but generic plan, there is no feedback and adjustment of training load and tasks, knowing that changes and adjustments are inevitable throughout the process.
The choice of challenges or competitions, whether they are the main competitions or those integrated into the preparation as needed, can be tailored to the real characteristics and possibilities of each athlete.
Motivation and willingness are not always consistent, often interrupting a training process because no one was there on the day when that extra emotional support was needed.
The level of commitment is higher when there is a direct coach/athlete relationship, and the completion of the planned training has a higher percentage of realization.
By trusting a coach, the athlete can focus their attention on other areas of life without worrying as much about what to do, when, and how.
The risks of injury or overtraining are lower.
You will progress more quickly and safely because a good plan should evolve with the athlete's real progression."