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Which Will Be Best For Me: Training Plan or Coaching?

Are you looking for a training plan that will provide structure or a training plan that fits your life? Or do you want to work with a coach who will steer you towards a specific goal? 

What is a training plan?

A training plan is a structured way of improving your fitness, speed and endurance on the bike. It usually consists of different types of rides and workouts, should match your goals, abilities and schedule, and help you avoid overtraining or injury.

A training plan can be pre-built or tailored.

Both pre-built and tailored plans include physiological elements - overload, progression, recovery, and specificity. 

The physiological elements in a pre-built plan are generalized. The plan has a set period and targets a cycling discipline, performance ability or event.

The physiological elements in a tailored plan are individualized (data collection via a training questionnaire). The plan is designed specifically for you. 

With either one, you self-manage and follow it independently without providing input and feedback.

Advantages of a training plan -

  • A tailored training plan is more affordable than one-on-one coaching.

  • A pre-built training plan is the most cost-effective solution to structured training.  

  • If the plan matches your abilities or goal, and if you train consistently within the guidelines and tick off 80% (or more) of the planned workouts, then a training plan will bring improvements you seek. 


Disadvantages of training plan -
  • No accountability. 

  • No athlete-coach communication.

  • No training analyses, monitoring, feedback and course correction.

  • In most cases, there is a fee for amending the training plan.

A training plan is an excellent option for a cyclist who -

  • During certain weather seasons or training phases may only need minimal coaching guidance or no coaching guidance.

  • Is doing an event for first time.

  • Needs an introduction to structured training.

  • Has a reasonably consistent family, life and work schedule.

  • Is experienced, has trained more, is more aware of the training process and can self-manage.


From the coach...

Raf here, the above disadvantages are the norm. However, RIDEANDRACE tailored and pre-built training plans are slightly different.

Tailored plans: Supportive environment, weekly monitoring of your training status and coach-initiated check-ins, but only when needed. TrainingPeaks Athlete-Coach connection is required, and athlete input and feedback is encouraged. 

Pre-built plans: Supportive environment, you may reach out if you cannot figure it out or need verification on something related to your training or the plan. Unfortunately no monitoring of your training status, but there are seldom coach-initiated check-ins.


What is coaching? 


Coaching is an opportunity to work with someone who is certified and a specialist in their sport and who will be able to provide guidance, feedback and support to help ensure that you reach your target.

Many believe a coach or coaching program is only for professional athletes. However, this is not true. No matter the size of your realistic goal, a good coach will tailor their approach to fit your abilities, schedule, family life, and work commitments.

Advantages of coaching -
  • Removes the guesswork; there are many components and lots of behind-the-scenes thinking and planning involved in preparing for your goal, and a coach all of the above for you.

  • Provide accountability; there is nothing more effective than a coach. Knowing that someone checks if you missed or shortened a session will keep you accountable. 

  • Support and maintain motivation; having someone in your corner who believes in you and your goal can make all the difference. A coach encourages you through training and even through the difficult days, keeping you on track to reach your goals.

  • Regular analysis and monitoring of training progress and making necessary adjustments. Athlete-coach communication for guidance and feedback.

Disadvantages of coaching -
  • A higher level of discipline is needed. 

  • Costly. 

Coaching is an excellent option for a cyclist who -

  • Requires regular guidance and support to reach their cycling goal. 

  • Has a cycling goal that require a higher level of attention and dedication.

  • Encounter various obstacles and challenges during their training, such as sickness, injury, or difficulties in work and personal life. 

  • Is advancing to a higher level of competition.



More from the coach...

Coaching involvement may change throughout the year due to weather seasons, training phases, family, life or work changes, or other obligations..., you can switch to a training plan.


That is it. Thank you for reading. I hope you found it to be a useful resource. If you are not sure about which is best for you or have any questions..., please get in touch!

I might be out on the bike, I will respond as soon as the helmet and gloves come off.


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