Now that I am going into longer triathlon races, I have thought about hiring a coach. My main concern is, of course, the cost of it. I have checked the main triathlon platforms and online coaches and summarized my findings in this article.
A triathlon coach costs between $130 and $300, depending on the level of interaction the triathlete wants. Three levels of pricing are generally offered: Standard (~ $130 / month) with one to two interactions per month, Advanced (~ $210 / month) with weekly interactions, and Premium (~ $300 / month) with unlimited interactions.
Even though the price between coaches can be similar, I found out that what you are getting out of them can vary greatly! Let’s check that in more detail.
COST OF TRIATHLON COACHES
Whether I looked on the website of individual online coaches or on coaching platforms, I found that most of them follow those three levels of pricing: Standard (~ $130 / month), Advanced (~ $210 / month), and Premium (~ $300 / month).
For all three, the coaches are providing a full training program. The price difference comes mainly from the level of interaction. You can clearly see this difference if you look at two of the most popular coaching platforms:
|Email Communication||2 / month||4 / month||Unlimited|
|Phone Communication||–||1 / month||Unlimited|
|Adjustments||Monthly||Monthly||4 / month|
|Workout data review||–||Weekly||Unlimited|
|Workout data review||–||–||Weekly|
Apart from this level of interaction, getting to a higher tier can sometimes give you access to a more experienced coach (pricing of Tri Training Harder or Matt Bottrill) or gives you discounts for extra services (pricing for GDT or Personal Triathlon Training)
OTHER EXPENSES TO CONSIDER
Most interactions with a coach will be online, which means that there are a couple of items triathletes might need to purchase:
- Online training platform: I would bet that all coaches already have a preferred training platform they are using with their other athletes. It might be free for you to use, already included in the price, or something you will need to purchase extra.
- Triathlon watch: Whereas it is not a must-have when starting triathlon, it is definitely a worthy investment when training with a coach. My wife, Anna, wrote a full article about them: “The Right Time To Buy A Triathlon Watch And What You Should Look For.”
- Heart rate sensor: It is worth checking with your coach beforehand. He might give instruction based on speed, perceived exertion, or heart rate. In the latter, you will need a specific sensor.
- Power meter: Definitely a piece of equipment I would recommend for biking. Even if you are not interested in the data, your coach will be 🙂 For more details, check my article: “Are Power Meters Useful For Triathletes?” A running power meter also exists but is not yet really popular.
WHAT DOES A TRIATHLON COACH DO
A triathlon coach should provide a personalized training plan based on your needs. It contains a detailed training plan for swimming, biking, and running workouts, and in some cases, some strength and nutrition advice. The main advantage of having a triathlon coach is to get feedback from the workouts/races and receive an adjusted training plan if needed.
I would expect my coach to hold me accountable in my journey and make changes in my training as I am progressing. If I feel my coach is giving me a standard training plan, I would definitely look for another one or a cheaper alternative.
HOW TO CHOOSE A TRIATHLON COACH
One big advantage of online triathlon coaches is that they are everywhere in the world. However, it makes it also tricky to find a good one. Apart from asking other fellow triathletes, which is often a good idea, you can check online coaching platforms like Trainingpeaks or Trisutto (website links, no affiliate). They have plenty of filters you can use to narrow down your choices.
Another possibility is to look where some coaches (but not all!) go to get a certification. You can directly access those databases (links to their websites):
If you have the chance to have a tri club around you, go get some of their group sessions, and who knows, you might find a coach you like and who is willing to work on a 1-1 basis.
ALTERNATIVE TO TRIATHLON COACHES
If an online coach is too expensive or if you are not yet ready to get one, here are some alternatives:
Join a triathlon club
I personally waited a couple of years before joining one. I thought I was not good enough. After being in one for two years, I wish I joined sooner. Of course, I don’t get a personalized training plan (it is not the goal of a tri club, except for national elite programs), but I really enjoy the atmosphere and the group sessions.
Buy a training plan
There are plenty of training plans in triathlon magazines or online for free or against $20-$50. You won’t get a personalized plan, but it is a good start to get some sort of consistency in your training.
Subscribe to an online training app:
This is how I am currently training. I am using the indoor app Trainerroad (link to their website, no affiliate), which creates a personalized training plan according to the amount of time I have available and the goals I set. There are dozens of apps available for every taste. My wife, Anna, is, for example, using the Sufferfest, which she loves, and I personally don’t.
I wrote three articles to give you an idea of which app you might like the most, have a look at them:
- The Best Indoor Cycling Apps For Becoming Faster
- The Best Indoor Cycling Apps For Riding Real World Roads
- The Best Indoor Cycling Apps For Racing
As you can see, there are plenty of options available, whether you are ready to invest in a triathlon coach or train on your own.