I promised Bill my coach and mentor that after I finish this race I will take a month completely off sport. Honestly at the beginning I thought that this would have been kinda like mission impossible but believe me when I say I enjoyed every single second of having a social life back. In fact I should be thankful for Bills advice as I actually managed to get a second dog (Henry!!), lots of wine in the system and some memorable times. I have always been a key believer that knowledge is never a bad thing and given that Im not going to be training my endurance engine maybe I could train my mind.
I always knew that a USA Triathlon certification is the gold standard in terms of coaching and given the amounts of coupon codes we get out of just being standard USA-T members I could only imagine what perks you’d get as a USA-Tri coach. There are four tiers of USA Tri certifications but in order to start at level 1 you need to have had already coached an athlete for a year who would need to send you a detailed review in your application. So the question that arrises is that how the hell do you coach someone for a year without a certification? You also need to attend the examinations in person which could be a pain at this moment in time.
The second reason of giving IMU a shot is that Jordan is all about Instagram. Fucking Instagram. Fucking social media and its fucking followers. Believe me when I say that posting a story of me being an official IM certified coach is going to give me way better recognition than a legit triathlon certification.
Thoughts about the curriculum & assessment
To be very fair I was quite surprised with the amounts of information that was laid out in this course. It’s a lot of good stuff. There are 11 main sections listed below. The winner and most important definitely being nutrition which makes lots and lots of sense.
The assessment part of the course is one 50 question multiple choice test. This section took me about two to three hours (not sure) of sitting in a coffee shop going through the questions and looking over some notes from time to time. Once the first assessment is done, you are off to the second one which is this massive project that made me feel that I have actually went back to the good old school days.
In my case, my hypothetical athlete had a history of a tibial stress fracture, a valgus knee with an excessive Q gait angle, a 30 hour work week where she is sitting 90% of the time (possibly lower/upper crossed syndrome etc) combined with a family of two young children. I had to plan out her season from zero, to do a sprint, a 70.3 and her goal IM in Texas also constructing her fueling and hydration plan (not to mention a ton of detailed workouts from swim to bike to run to strength) for her A race given her swim, bike, run, squat screening analysis and nutrition assessments.
Whether I want to admit it or not I did learn a lot more than what I already knew in all these sections. The most acquired knowledge for me personally was the information from exercise database section where you can filter drills for each sport, specific strength workouts based for each individual muscle etc… What was interesting to me is that swimming for example is a complex beast. Its such a technique driven sport that id never be able to feel comfortable teaching somebody swimming because me myself I don’t have the perfect stroke. Not only that but sometimes the perception of what you are doing in the water can be totally different to what you think you are doing.
In conclusion 14 hours of online study material 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. It’s all about experience at the end of the day which we never cease to stop learning from. There is no one person on this planet that knows it all and no one person on this planet that doesn’t have anything more to learn.
One more challenge added to the bucket list! Any volunteers?!
I always keep wanting to give back to the sport but never have I ever felt more happy about the idea of being a key part of someones crazy hard journey. I can still clearly remember myself when I was hanging out in that hostel in Chiang Mai, Thailand when I registered for my first IM70.3 in Lake Placid NY. The first thing I did after registration was to look at if there are any IM coaches in Jordan on their website. There was nobody. Fast forward two seasons later I have already finished 4xIM70.3, a full distance IM, an ultra marathon and I am now listed on their directory as an IM coach.
My mission at this moment is clear and simple. Guide whoever approaches me next to completing his first 70.3 and eventually his first 140.6. Looking forward to receiving your applications 🙂