A good coach is priceless IMO! Over my years of bike racing, running and triathlon I've really learned to enjoy having a professional coach. I tried to do it on my own at first. I even had some success on my own. But, I could never have learned as much about endurance sports as I have without Tony at www.tzcoaching.com !
Most coaches aren't registered nutritionist or dietitians, but they do get what it takes to fuel your body for endurance sports. Some of them have years of experience themselves, and may have even had their own struggles with weight management. They can point you in the right direction in getting your diet on track. (You should always check with your doctor if your coaches suggestions are ok for you)
This week I took the plunge myself, and applied to be a USA Cyclung coach.
In the process, I learned that coaches take a lot of time learning about the science so you don't have to. Believe it or not, there's a lot more to it than just prescribing workouts and ramping up volume to prepare for races. There are so many reasons to hire a coach if you have the means.
A coach will plan your "big picture". He/She will sit with you to plan your entire year. Whether you have ten races or one, your coach will plan the workouts to keep you injury free and get you to peak fitness for all your important races.
Your coach will guide you through tough times. You may just need a little extra encouragement, or you may need to work through an illness or injury. But, your coach will be there to guide you through.
Coaches take a lot of time to plan your workouts so you don't have too! Think of all the extra time you'll have to train if you don't have to research how to structure your own workouts.
There's no more guessing! If you have a question, you have someone to ask. If your coach doesn't know chances are they know where to find out. Most coaches have been into endurance sports for a long time, and have a long list of people to tap for information.
Coaches can see you from the outside! Let's face it. You may think your rockin' the best form on your squats, or running with perfect form. But you never know unless you have someone to watch you. They can recognize those little things you'll miss or deny in your self assessments, and have the little fixes to put you on track. It could mean the difference between constant injury or pain free enjoyment in your training.
Finally, your coach will be there to nurture and inspire your love for endurance sports. Mine has become a good friend, and inspired me to become a coach myself. You never know, sometimes, what get out of trying something new.