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Coaching vs Training Plans: What’s right for you?

Once an athlete decides that they would like to improve or become more competitive, they usually take one of the following two steps:

  • Look for a Training Program that will provide structure to your training

  • Get a Coach to take the reigns and guide their progression towards a specific goal

What is a Training Program?

A training program is a once off plan individually designed for an athlete by a coach based on a specific future goal. It is usually built for a specific time period after a consultation with a coach and is then followed independently by the athlete, without input or feedback.

Some advantages of getting a Training Program include:

  • A training plan is a good introduction to structured training for new athletes

  • It’s cost effective for athletes who cannot afford coaching

  • Plans provide direction that can result in improved consistency, recovery and results, if followed.

  • Training programs suit athletes who have been coached before and are comfortable with sticking to a set program over a defined period and don’t require feedback.

Some disadvantages of choosing a Training Program over a coach could be:

  • You won’t have a coach to hold you accountable

  • Plans are set in stone and cannot be adjusted once you receive the full program

  • Plans cannot be adjusted over time to take into account different rates of improvement in certain areas of an athlete’s physiology.

  • There is no feedback avenue from athlete to coach and vice versa

  • Details such as how an athlete coped with a certain session are not noted for future reference

  • A plan on its own may not be enough for more advanced athletes

What is Coaching?

The process of coaching gives athletes the opportunity to work one on one alongside a qualified coach who is a specialist in their sport (or sports) and able to provide guidance, feedback and support to help ensure that the athlete’s goals are met.

Coaching can offer you some great advantages:

  • Uniqueness of the individual athlete is taken into consideration

  • As improvement in fitness metrics accumulate, adjustments to training can be made as and when needed

  • Accountability to a coach can encourage athletes to give training sessions their all

  • Getting feedback along the way is an essential part of the journey

  • An excellent option for intermediate or advanced athletes looking to increase their training complexity

The disadvantages of coaching could be the following:

  • A high level of discipline is needed to keep consistency and complete all sessions

  • More costly than a training plan

  • You may not want to be in contact with and provide feedback to a coach after each session

The Threshold’s coaching team offers coaching packages with various feedback options, as well as training programs for events based on your individual needs. We offer expert coaching and programs for road cycling, mountain biking, skills, triathlon and running. Enquire with us today at and get one of our specialist coaches to help you reach your next goal!

Train hard and prosper!

Darrin Jordaan

MSc (Med) Biokinetics Wits (Hons) Sports Science UP

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) Ironman Certified Coach

UCI Level 1