How many triathletes are self-coached?


There will be a number that use these programs so they do have a place, the type that usually just go for off the shelf plans and say “a coach doesn’t add value”, and for a majority they are probably correct as consistency is key and that’s something, if followed, an online plan adds, but go a bit further into the lifespan of an athlete and those easy gains disappear. That’s why many “online coaches” can get away with cookie cutter plans, as they target novices and then tell the world how much faster their athletes are, without the context of starting from a zero base.
With the online stuff a decent coach will usually end up becoming quite close friends with many athletes, I have been told stuff they haven’t told their partners, and can use info they share to help shape the sessions or understand bad days/weeks. Numbers don’t show you a stressful day at work or a kid that’s playing up at school causing the parent stress or the argument over “that 3 hr bike ride this week” , ok do 2 and don’t have that stress! (although wearables are getting more clever!) Obviously there is also the knowledge, experience and network to call upon rather than asking “what bike” on IMJ! A decent coach will also be willing to learn and admit honestly about their development rather than pretending to be a font of all knowledge, example I had a conversation to help reflect on the year, where we had both improved, where we can both do better and the athlete was surprised I was willing to say I got things wrong and yes I have learned this and next year I will do better at that. The fact we can have these honest conversations is where a coach/athlete relationship should be aiming for as no one can be perfect with every individual all the time, you need to learn what works and doesn’t and take some risks at times (not with health obvs) . A athlete / coach will only work if the athlete also understands this and honesty is key from all sides. Yes it scares some athlete off when you say, “it may not work immediately”, or “no you wont knock 5hrs off your IM pb in a year” and might not be ideal as a “business model”, I guess many “cookie cutter” coaches are doing far better than me financially thru coaching high numbers of athletes with a single plan and by saying these things but I know I make athletes faster, more resilient and happier and less stressed about their hobby. I also seem to have helped a few juniors do quite well!
I do have a worry about how unregulated sports coaching is in general though (outside of the club environment) , and how easy it is for someone to get a piece of paper saying they are Ironman certified or some other nonsense and that many aren’t even insured. Some PT’s are even claiming all sorts as thy see tri as “easy pickings”, one locally is giving run form coaching claiming to be a biomechanics expert, but has no formal education as far as I could see. I asked what the verdict was, oh I poke my bum out too much and I have week glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles and I need to do these strength exercises 3 times a week. No drills, no work on how to not poke the bum out, or any of the other minor issues I see in them running past me once! Don’t get me started on “the swim doctor” :wink:


One of the main things that puts me off getting a coach is I cba to invest the time in developing the relationship! Can’t imagine anything worse than talking to someone about my life, training and ambitions.


to be fair I would be the same, "I do this for fun, I dont care if you set me 5 * 5min or 5 * 4 min intervals, which is why I never have and never would have a coach myself :wink:

Now poolside or run/bike sessions I’ve learned loads over the years and that the type of coach that I found invaluable and is probably why Ive never pushed myself as an online coach, I feel I help people far more next to them

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Could you not get the coach to reaad TT and glean it from here?

On @Hammerer’s point I know personal trainer and former osteopath who has treated quite a few KQ triathletes (at least one was on TT) and goes out cycling with them and has started coaching ‘endurance’ of all types. I take no issue with him doing coauch to 5km type stuff but he coached a guy to an IM and I think that is a stretch TBH. He is a good bloke and educates himself but he isn’t a triathlon coach.

I have not got a coach as I know I can improve my volume and consistency and get a lot of improvement. When I closed my business and was doing a regular 65-80km social ride on Fridays, as well as the cycling I was already doing, my cycling improved quite a bit. I don’t feel I need help with that, just need to establish a routine to my new work pattern.

Secondly, my sleep is erratic and missing planned morning sessions would cause me to feel a lot of guilt at letting the coach down.

Having said all that, I sort of know a few local KQ types or at that level, mostly from masters swim sessions and most of them have had a coach at some point. Particularly, a well known (at least amongst UK triathletes) coach from this area. I like him, he seems a good guy from my interaction with him but I think he would really annoy me as MY coach.

ETA: I have really enjoyed working on my DPS is swimming and seeing the improvement in times independent of fitness.



David Goggins was my coach this morning as I lay on the sofa thinking I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna! Get the fuck out there!


I’ll admit I’ve thought that if I improved at tri a bit more I could probably make more/easier money doing coaching/healthcare advice than I do through my current work.

This would be my exact MO :joy:

Which is a shame because I am/was genuinely interested in getting into sports medicine and do have an interest in coaching.
But seeing the way of instagram based business models and people making money based on popularity rather than quality of advice means I have disdain for it and would rather just stick with more traditional medicine and keeping sport as a hobby.


The swim doctor is someone who is at the local lido, she is not a doctor, or a proper swim coach, she is a PT who takes a couple of lanes for the club , and gives them a “set” to follow. It is annoying as the local Ow type swimming groups pay a fortune for her “expert” help


Wasn’t the in joke on TT1.0 “finish an Ironman in under 17hrs and become a coach”


Don’t get me started on that, there seems to be a bottomless pit of OW “swimmers” (I use the term loosely as it usually appears to involve a 2min dip, selfie and a cake) willing to throw money at anyone professing to be an expert with no apparent background at all.


The same people who would call it ‘wild swimming’


Fair, I can’t comment not knowing the individual, just meant that it would be easy advertising for me if I wanted to set up a medical practice and had a sub 9 ironman/Kona etc.

I’m not saying I’ll never do that mind :joy: but obviously I’d want to feel my service offered was genuine and currently the health industry feels overly populated with charlatans.

I might feel more secure in future when I actually have the medical training to do it if I wanted, but at the moment I know just enough to know how little I actually know!

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Arr yes the Swim Doctor or IronDoc would be a great website idea :rofl:

I’ve never met anyone I liked enough to give them my hard earned to go faster.

Several quite prominent UK scene coaches very local to me, one in particular has made like a family environment for his “ team “.

Fair play he’s VERY passionate, if he’s not racing himself he spends virtually every weekend day in he summer actively supporting his flock, sometimes 100”s of miles away.

I’ve stood next to him on a finish line we’re a guy I beat twice in 2019… went up yet another level, he ( the coach ) was ecstatic, not just very pleased he was genuinely overjoyed?!?

I don’t get that.

Id join but they don’t do vested tri suits in his livery and I’m too old for sleeves.

I took 7 mins off my 3k swim watching videos of an Aussie guy, he was very good, but I’m slow anyway in the water.

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I’m always amazed when I hear how much people are paying for coaching when there’s clubs and online content out there.

£100-200 per month. I consider my £30 per month gym membership ott!

Hmm. I can get IM™ certified as a legitimate professional expense too…Yoink!

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Love that.

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Yeah I feel a little guilty/outsider as at my club I think I’m pretty much the only serious triathlete paying for individual sessions as and when I turn up to group sessions, with everyone else paying for the coaching package.
But that’s costs £2300 a year! (inflated given Aus-UK exchange rates but even so it’s a lot I feel :exploding_head:) And I cant make most the sessions due to work anyway!


Yeah I looked at tri club membership way back.

Running club £26
Cycling club £65
Tri club ££££s


Really? Our local tri club is £34 a year and coaching sessions are £2-3 per session.

I’ve been thinking of joining, mainly for the social rides and the odd run.

Sounds odd, but I’m also thinking I could do with making a few friends. I’ve always been a loner and outside of family, can’t say I’ve actually got any friends.