I've got a new coach on board to prepare me for Ironman Regensburg. I've enlisted the services of my friend Andy Stewart, who has started coaching recently, primarily for adventure racing.
Andy was one of the first in my old triathlon squad, Phoenix triathlon, to take the plunge at Ironman. He's since competed at Kona, and his next personal challenge is the Speights Coast to Coast in just a few weeks' time.
I thought long and hard about my coaching options for Regensburg.
Did I need a coach? Yes
Should I join a squad? Maybe
What did I want from a coach? That's not such a straightforward answer.
First things first - I need someone to write me a program. I'm hopeless without a "To Do List". I definitely needed someone to set out for me the work I need to do to get through this race in the best possible way. But what else does a coach do for you? I haven't had a coach for the last couple of years, and I think I've lacked a couple of things.
Firstly, someone to push me. Although I've managed without a coach, I doubt I've trained or raced as well as I might have, if I'd just had someone to stretch me just that little more.
Secondly, someone to help me understand all the data I get from my new Garmin 310XT. What heart rate should I train at? Is that important? Should I just give all that up and go back to training on feel?
Thirdly, someone to be accountable to. It can be really easy to fob off that extra training session because you're a little bit tired. But what will Andy think if I do that now?
Lastly, I think there's an extra little intangible benefit in having a coach. Particularly for someone like me, who trains mostly by myself, knowing you've got a coach on your side gives you just a little something extra when things get tough.
Bring it on, Coach Andy.