Get the biggest bang for your buck by following these three guidelines.

Triathlon can be an expensive lifestyle, with its international racing destinations and plethora of spendy gear. Add in the cost of coaching—which I highly recommend—and you are making a pretty significant investment in your health and fitness. Get the biggest bang for your buck by following these guidelines:

Establish a set of reasonable goals.

Before you even start training with “coached” workouts, be sure you’ve effectively communicated your realistic set of goals, as well as predictable hurdles that may interfere with your ability to achieve them. You should then expect coaching that is tailored to your specific needs, assuming you’ve paid for personal coaching.

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Don’t go rogue with your training schedule.

The training schedule that your coach writes for you assumes a pretty specific level of recovery leading into key workouts in order to maximize fitness gains and avoid injury or illness. As such, it is best to follow the exact schedule as written or proactively contact your coach to discuss alternatives when you know that life may interfere, or you foresee other issues in completing workouts. Even the very best athletes can falter when it comes to making well-intentioned adjustments to their own training schedule.

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Handle the curve balls.

Say Mother Nature decided she didn’t want you to complete that 20-minute bike time trial after work as your coach had scheduled, so you just fit it in after your threshold run the next morning. Not so fast—you should have asked your coach for specific guidance on rescheduling, because by doing it immediately following a challenging run, you’ve compromised the value of doing a time trial in the first place. Your coach would’ve likely looked at your schedule of upcoming workouts, then factored in your personal goals, areas of strengths and weakness, and availability, and then offered his best suggestions, likely replacing an already scheduled workout of lesser importance.

Pro tip:
One hard and fast rule to remember is to rarely try to make up missed workouts—just let ’em go. A well-planned training regimen is not a fragile house of cards, and one missed workout (even a big one)will not cause the house to come tumbling down.

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