If You Never Tri, You'll Never Know!

Coach, Coach, Coach

As a Coach, when words come out of my mouth, I like them to either be well researched and backed by fact or science or well lived and backed by experience. The fun thing about my mind is it's constantly researching, either my own library (in my head, searching 200mph) or Google!

I think it's important to stay up to date on the latest trends, philosophies, theories, gears, and just all things tri related. I follow all the top tri news sites and magazines and I'm starving for more! I want to be able to provide my athletes the most thorough and knowledgeable experience that I can.

With that, when Ironman came out with a program, Ironman University, to certify people as a Coach I was mixed with emotion. Like many existing Coaches I was annoyed that a brand already dominating the industry is using their power and brand to get even more money.

Previously there were only two ways to become a certified triathlon Coach, USAT and ITCA. I am an ITCA Certified Coach. With this new Ironman program, any guy or gal off the street can decide to be a Coach, take 14 hours of online study, and receive a certification as well as join an Ironman Coach Match program. What's so hard to swallow with this is Ironman is THE brand of our sport. Having that brand next to your name might fool a novice athlete that you're more qualified to Coach than one who isn't certified as an Ironman Coach.

Brett Sutton very publicly expressed his opinion of the program in multiple articles, "14 hours of online study does not make you a coach, and it sure as hell shouldn’t qualify you to take on athletes preparing for the biggest endurance test of their lives."

While I tend to agree with this statement, I would have to argue that Ironman U doesn't necessarily qualify someone, it just certifies them. I know there's not much of a difference and Brett would probably roll his eyes at me, semantics! But the idea of that Ironman certification was haunting me. I knew with moving to Italy I needed one hell of a resume to attract new athletes and Ironman is THE name in our sport. 

I thought, 12 time Ironman, International Certified Triathlon Coach, Ironman Certified, on her way to Kona...you need this Coach! But more than this, I thought why not take the 14 hours to continue to develop my Coaching skills!? I want to be the BEST Coach for my athletes with all of the information and study I can get!! I'm sure there will be awesome resources and it will be a great continuing education opportunity. So I did it. And now complete, I'm really glad I did!! 

The program was much more intense than I imagined it would be. It was actually separated in to two parts, online study that was followed by a test. Not just any test though, it was a practical test so you had to know the material, not just memorize for some mix and match questions. Once I had secure internet, I aced that quickly. The idea wasn't just to ace it though, the idea was to collect information and grow as a Coach. The content was thorough and it covered topics such as exercise science, kinesiology of each sport, training plans, strength training, nutrition and even touched on the business side of coaching.

Part 2 was a bit more in depth and took time. I actually really put a lot of time and effort in answering the questions (basically building a training schedule for a pretend athlete and answering practical questions for Coaching the athlete). I was prepared to wait 14 days for my assessment to be reviewed. It took about 4 hours. I submitted it at 4pm and got news that I am certified around 8pm. I joked to Luca when I submitted that it's going to be obvious I'm a Coach and they'll read 1 or 2 answers and say, okay, you passed! Ha ha! Maybe they did just that! ;)

Overall, the course drove home many standard concepts that I already practice with my athletes. I'm certainly not disappointed with the course nor the opportunity. I'm not just an Ironman athlete, I'm an Ironman Coach and fully prepared to take you to the start line and then through that finish line!!
If you're ready to bring it, I'm your Coach! TRI OUR ADVENTURE!!