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photo credit: Scott Flathouse Photography

To catch you up, I am training for Kona!

Yep, my first Ironman distance at the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona! (deep breath :) Read how I got here.

Hiring a coach was a huge turning point for me because it was the moment that I stepped away from group-training - which was something I never thought I would do - and into the world of private coaching.

I will tell you that it has has been a total GAME CHANGER for me. The results have been mind-boggling.  I'm hitting PRs and gaining speed at a pace I didn't think was possible.

Every week I get a workout plan that is tailored specifically to me, my goals and my schedule.

Every race I get a plan of attack and instructions for what to eat and when to do it.

After every race, we review what went wrong, what went right and what I need to keep in mind for the next one. It has turned me into a serious, driven and disciplined athlete.

Now, it's time for a little PSA for everyone who is reading this thinking that they need to sign up for private coaching immediately - Private coaching is NOT “personal training”.

Private coaching is a huge commitment because you don't go and work out in person with your coach every day. I get amazing feedback from her, I see her in person about once a week and call/email her if I have any questions, but If I didn't have the ability and drive to push myself without constant surveillance I would be dead in the water (possibly literally). There's nobody to crack the whip while you train and heckle to you for slacking off. If you have bad habits because you didn't build a strong foundation from the beginning - well, you're probably going to just make it worse. In my humble opinion, I would be completely wasting my coach's time if I hadn't been given an excellent foundation during group training first. I wouldn't have the amazing support group and friends that I gained to connect with either and I would be oh-so-lonely because nobody wants to talk triathlon with you 24/7 that isn't a triathlete or looking to become one. I also want to point out that group training produces some absolutely AMAZING athletes. Don't assume that you can't get far without private coaching. Everybody has different needs and preferences.

When deciding what path to take - and there are so many options beyond the amazing experiences I have had - I urge you to keep three things in mind:

1. Are making smart choices regarding safety and personal well-being?

2. Are you developing good training form? 

3. Are you doing what makes you happy?

Happiness means something a little different for everybody, but It doesn't matter how well you perform if your heart's not in it. You'll never appreciate the gains that you make unless the path that takes you there brings you joy and fulfillment. That's something that I continue to keep in mind as I get my butt royally kicked in preparation for Kona.

I love what I'm doing and that's all that matters!

Stay tuned to read more of Ryan’s training adventure on the Athlete’s Blog