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Day 12 – Coaches That Inspire

162 Days until IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga
Brett Sutton, triathlon coach

Brett Sutton has coached many successful professional triathletes in his career.

Do I Really Need a Coach?

If you’ve been following this blog for the last two weeks, then you know that I’m on the hunt for a coach who can

  1. Help me design a training plan for my 2020 race season

  2. Keep me focused on my training plan

  3. Interpret workout results and adjust the plan accordingly

  4. Inspire me to be a better athlete

The first A race of the season for me is IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga, so that’s my focus for this blog series and my coaching needs for right now. However, it takes time to build the machine that will, one day, qualify for Kona which means I also need a long term coaching solution.

Yes. I Need Multiple Coaches

In several of these posts I’ve emphasized the need for a training plan. I believe that the chances of succeeding with no plan are the same as the chances of winning the lottery. That’s mostly because I’ve set the bar very high: qualify for IRONMAN Wold Championship. But even with a plan, I likely won’t qualify for much of anything beyond customer of the year at the local supermarket. That’s where the coach(es) come(s) in.

Let’s suppose you have a training plan and $2000 to spend on something that will make you a faster triathlete. What do you spend it on? Bike frame? Aero helmet? Trophy case? Wahoo KICKR?

The answer for me is coaching. The answer for most experienced triathletes is coaching. A good coaching team will push you to your limits and hold you back from overtraining. A good team will keep you hydrated and properly fueled. A good team will refocus you when you feel lost.

These are the areas in which I could use good coaching:

  1. Endurance

  2. Swim

  3. Bike

  4. Run

  5. Strength

  6. Nutrition

  7. Medical

  8. Psychological

  9. Chiropractic and mobility

  10. Spiritual

Some of these disciplines can be combined into one person. For example medical and nutritional are likely areas that a single person might know. But each person that I hire must be able to inspire me to be better. That does not mean my coaches have to eat healthier or run faster than I, but I do expect them to have lived the life they preach and truly love what they do. I may not agree with them all the time. I may not like all their training methods. But I do expect them to know what they are doing and to give me advice that they believe will help me achieve my goals.


Yes. This is selfish of me to want so much for myself. But it’s no more selfish than going to a doctor for medical advice or seeking the advice of a rabbi/priest/guru. We all want to be better. We all want to learn how to deal with the suffering of life.

Yeah. That last sentence is a bit out there. See “My Triathlon Story” from the November 27th blog post to get a handle on that.

My Advice To You

It doesn’t matter if you are an athlete or an artist. We are all human and, as such, need the advice of and interaction with others to make us better. If you don’t have access to personal coaching, use anything within your means: clubs, associations, podcasts, videos, magazines, friends. Not all are going to give the best advice, but if you love what you do (triathlon, in my case) you’ll figure out who is giving good advice.

Dave Scott, triathlon coach

Dave Scott is a six time IRONMAN World Championship winner turned coach.

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