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The Best Time to Plant a Tree

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

Ah, the less attributable the proverb, the more universally it applies. We’re late and getting later – start today, start today, start today.

As a coach, the number one regret I hear from athletes is that they wish they’d sought out coaching sooner. For many – especially those who put off coaching for months or years – it’s quickly apparent that the progress possible with the support of a coach far exceeds what’s possible for athletes on their own. So why do athletes dilly dally when it comes to hiring help? Here are some of the most common reasons and why they hold athletes back from reaching their potential:

I don’t need a coach in the off-season.

Let’s unpack this fallacy. First, I present you with the bumper sticker worthy adage that “there is no off-season.” Are there times of year where triathletes and runners are not training as much? Certainly. Or when training looks different than the weeks leading up to target race? It should! But endurance training is a year-round commitment. The work an athlete does in the months that aren’t dominated by racing matters just as much as the work in a race-specific build. If your “off-season” training is random – or worse, non-existent – then you’re leaving potential on the table. A coach can help you structure your training year-round to prevent burnout, maximize enjoyment, and make sure you’re coming into race season with a solid foundation. Athletes who complete a consistent, structured block of “off-season” work come into their race-specific builds stronger and able to better handle the demands of the next phase of training. It’s as good as having a head-start.

I don’t know what my races/goals are yet.

You are my new favorite athlete! Let’s talk – what motivates you? What sounds fun? Do you like to travel? How much time do you have to train? A good coach isn’t just there to hand down workouts – we can help you assess where you are, figure out where you’re going, and make a sustainable plan to get there. I help athletes turn nebulous goals (“I want to run faster”) into measurable outcomes (“I want to run 1:45 for a half marathon”) and craft actionable steps to achieve them (“I will slow down my easy runs and commit to weekly track sessions”). No need to wait until your goals are crystal clear to start building a solid foundation to get you anywhere you want to be. We can build a plan together.

I already know how to train.

You might be right. But do you know who else already knows how to train? Olympians. And Olympians have coaches. If you think the value of a coach is a training plan, you’re only halfway there. Anyone can pull a training plan off the internet for free – and if you follow it, you’re likely to get somewhere in the neighborhood of where you want to go. But a training plan doesn’t know you. It doesn’t know your injury history, your work schedule, or the fact that your estimated FTP is way, way off. It can’t tell you to take an easy day when your kids are home sick, how to fix your body position in the water, or that it’s time to crank up the pace on your interval days because You’ve. Been. Absolutely. Crushing. It. Even if you’ve been training for years uneventfully, the objective feedback that a coach offers can lead to breakthroughs you didn’t know were possible. Training alone, we often tell ourselves stories about our abilities that hold us back from more – stories like “I’m not a swimmer” or “I need high volume to be fast” or “I’ve maxed out my potential on the bike.” A coach’s objective view can help you challenge those limiting beliefs and reach new levels as a result.

I’m not fast enough for a coach.


I want to get fit/lose weight/become invincible before I hire a coach.

These are my favorite excuses because they were once my own. Behind each of these statements is the belief that the athlete is inherently unworthy. If this is you, let that sink in for a minute. I’m here to tell you that you are enough. Because coaching is for all bodies, all experiences, all abilities. I was embarrassed of how much slower I was running after taking a decade away from competitive triathlon, so I took six months to try and get faster on my own. I figured I didn’t need a coach until I knocked off a big chunk of my 10K time. Instead, I floundered due to my own limiting beliefs about abilities and strengths. Despite my extensive knowledge of what it takes to train successfully, I couldn’t apply those principles objectively to myself. When I finally hired my own coach, I achieved in weeks what I had been attempting to do for months on my own. Moral of the story? Don’t wait to get better, fitter, leaner, faster, tougher before deciding to work with a coach. It may never happen. You are worthy of support just as you are.

Ready to stop procrastinating and get the coaching you deserve to reach your goals? Let’s start now. Trillium Endurance offers 1:1 coaching for athletes ready to grow. Contact Coach Erin to set up a free coaching consult today.

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