The Myth of Customization

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Members of Team EN Staffing the Table!

After a few solid hours at the Multisport World Expo this past weekend, I was officially “tri-ed” out. It’s great to see everyone, but it can get to be a bit much after a few hours! I saw a lot of interesting stuff, particularly from the 10+ events that had tables there (being a race director must pay well), but as I coach I was really only looking at the other coaching groups that were on site.

High-Dollar = High-Contact = High-Value?
Endurance Nation was the only low-cost player in the space, so my viewpoint will be biased for sure. It was really interesting to watch the active groups attempting to communicate value to the wandering tri-consumer. As a high-dollar coach (read $200+ / monthly fee), one has to really justify what the athlete is getting for their investment. This is usually achieved by promising contact with the coach, be it via phone, or email or in person. The more contact you want, the more money you have to pay.

Other ways that coaches were promoting their particular brands included fancy gear / signage (looks legitimate), custom metrics (body fat / body composition testing), and performance analysis (run and/or swim technique reviews). The more you pay, in other words, the more customized things become and presumably the more value you get.

How Much Custom is Necessary?
Of course, the tri-marketing gurus want you to feel special. They want you to pick out the special saddle, the particular wetsuit and the “must-have” brand of nutrition. If we all know that not every one needs a custom-built titanium triathlon bike, why do we assume that everyone will benefit from high-tough one-on-one coaching?

There are times — as in the case of triathlon training + learning — where a large, available sample size trumps one particular niche of knowledge every single time. Will you get more from talking to one person, with one experience, or by connecting with hundreds of other athletes who have been on the same journey? If you are a beginner triathlete with a job and a family, is that coach with ten years and world championship credentials (but not 9-5 gig or family) going to be able to identify with what you need? Will she speak to you?

Then again, perhaps you need a workout reminder? Maybe you need to pay money to be held accountable? Or maybe your life is so crazy you just want someone to tell you what to do and when. If so, then a coach might be right for you. But know that the odds are pretty darn close to zero that you and your training situation are so unique that you need a custom solution.

Know Yourself
Instead of playing the game of comparing pricing tiers, triathletes would be better served asking what exactly it is they need to achieve their fitness and race day goals. Just like everything else in our world, there is a point of diminishing returns on our investment. Take the time to learn more about yourself, and the many available resources out there, and make an informed decision. Without a doubt you are a unique individual on a special fitness journey…but that doesn’t mean you have to pay top-dollar to get top-notch support, help or guidance!

Are you a beginner? Maybe you are re-thinking your training after months of 20+ hours a week, burning the candle at both ends and no results to show for it? Please register for our free April Open House to explore Team Endurance Nation and how our community & coaches can help you take your game to the next level!


Coach P

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