Thursday, 14 February 2013

Looking for a Coach - Triton Triathlon Coaching

In my attempt to better myself as a triathlete and my overall fitness, I've began looking for a coach or coaching program. I don't really mind using an online service or interaction, but I don't think I'm quite ready to start shelling out $100+ a month for a coach, so for now I'm trying to find an effective but cost-sensitive coaching program.

The criteria that I'll judge any programs on are:
- Price
- Training Plan structure/ adaptability
- Coach responsiveness

One that I found was the newly created Triton Triathlon Coaching. This online service was created by Simon Whitfield, a renowned Canadian Olympic triathlete.

Getting Started

Triton offers a free 10 day no credit card required membership, that grants full access and is really a nice way to check if the program is for you. Set-up is quick and painless; input basic information, then select goal race distance and date, then add in any additional races that you have scheduled between now and then. Since training for races requires a minimum training period, the system will not let you select a race that is too soon (don't expect a 1 month training program for an Ironman). The system will then populate a complete training calendar for you to follow.

Using Triton
As you go through your calendar, you just click on the workout(s) of the days, length and specific exercises or intensity levels is prescribed for you to follow, along with tips and instructional videos.

After your workout, it is important to log how it went, which is supposed to help the program adapt to your responses. Since you don't upload anything (recorded HR, pace etc from a watch), this is the only way for the program to get a sense of what you need going forward.

So how does Triton stack up in the end?

At only $40 a month, Triton is arguably one of the cheapest triathlon coaching programs that I have seen. Membership can be cancelled at any time.

Training Plan
- Visually clear, and entire training calendar is visible right away
- Workouts can be moved within the week account for time limitations
- Workouts are clearly explained
- Feedback is available
- Site is slow

Coach Feedback
Coach feedback is available through a messaging dashboard. You simply write any concerns or questions and can expect a response not long thereafter. My first emails to customer service took 36 hours to respond, and the second not too long after. Depending on what you're used to, this might be considered a while.

- Can only schedule triathlons can be scheduled as non-goal races. How do I account for a half-marathon during my training period?
- Training time seems on the low end. For a half-Ironman, my longest bike ride is less than hours
- Feedback sometimes takes time.
- Plan adaptation is based on just a few log responses, not recorded data (HR, pace, etc...), uncertain how much it really changes based on input.
- Scheduling must be done completely manually. Since I know I will not be able to train on Saturdays, I'll have to move each week's training to different days
- There has been reported issues with a lack of sufficient REST days

Overall, I think that Triton has the potential to be a great training program for many athletes, but at this time the service is just too new, and has too many features that are "coming soon" to be a complete training guide or substitute for a live coach.


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