I don’t like being told what to do. I also like to understand “the why” around pretty much everything I’m interested in. Combining those with my stubborn desire to want to manage things myself, I’ve been rolling my own training plan for the last few years. For the most part, it’s been going well; registering solid gains both in power, and ability to hurt my friends on a group ride. So what’s the problem?
I started gravel racing recently, and it’s become obvious to me that my training plan was too one-dimensional. My single-minded focus on driving up FTP left me lacking in other areas that matter, maybe more than FTP, at critical times. I suspect that while the plan I made up probably got me 80% of where I need to be, the intervals that I was using to get there (mostly Tabata style 30/15) don’t provide the depth I need to race gravel.
Unfortunately, for my Ego, I think the solution requires that I submit to a higher power, at least partially (why is this so hard?). ATM, I’m still investigating how best to do this. There are plenty of options available, but anything that isn’t adaptive is out; which pretty much leaves TrainerRoad, Xert, and the full-monty that is a IRL coach.
Sufferfest Wahoo SYSTM, might fall in this depending on how you think about it. They would say that their 4DP is a solid replacement for something adaptive, but I’m not convinced. That’s not to say that 4DP isn’t interesting, or that SYSTM isn’t a solid training platform, I’m sure it is, just that I’m not quite sure that it’s right for me.
I’ve been flirting with Xert for a few months now, and when I identified a problem with my fitness after Snaggy Ridge, I used their workouts to start fixing the problem, and to manage the taper for Lowell. While I’m still not totally sold on the platform, or loss of control, the price ($10/month) is definitely right. On the topic of money, that’s where the IRL coach really hurts me. Getting a newb coach, with limited feedback, will probably run me $200/month; someone at the top of their game (relatively) is more like $500/month.
The biggest question here has to be one of value. It seems like IRL coaching is most useful for folks who struggle with motivation, or aren’t sure where to start. That kind of discipline isn’t something I struggle with. The next thing might be diet, or weight management, but here again I’m already pushing the BMI of a pro cyclist, so probably have decent handle on that as well.
Will I get $190-$490 of value above what I’m getting from a platform like TrainerRoad or Xert? I don’t know… but, I’m not sure that’s really the right question. It’s probably not reasonable to do a straight $ to $ comparison here. I guess the better question is what is doing better in races worth to me, and will the additional $190-$490 get me closer to that target. Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer there yet.
Something to think on for the next couple months while I faff around in the snow.