NavWorld Ambassador Theresa Ralph has been coached for many years, and has definitely learnt a thing or two from other professionals regarding what works and what doesn’t. She’s also a qualified teacher, with a major in Physical Education, giving her the qualifications to train athletes in her own right. Read on to discover why she considers having a MTB coach is so important.

Most people are competitive by nature, and this is especially true when it comes to dedicated sportsmen and women. These guys and gals, like me, are forever striving to beat the next person ahead of them. But that’s the least of it. We’re even competing against ourselves, as we continually try and take that one step further, or go that little bit faster to better our performance. The thing is, when you’re an extremely competitive individual, it’s very difficult to throw in the towel and take some down time – even when you know you’re pushing yourself too far and are at risk of picking up an injury. This is just the way we’re wired, and it’s also our biggest Achilles heel.

What I’ve found out the hard way over the years, both as a successful swimmer and competitive MTB rider, is that you need to have someone in your camp who can guide and help you. The old saying “two heads are always better than one” is so true, but not for the reasons you probably think. Surprisingly, it’s to combat the risk of overtraining! I’ll readily admit that there have been times in my sporting career when I’ve wanted to train through injury and sickness. But I honestly believe my coach saved me from myself every a time.

Overtraining is REAL, people!
Most athletes like to measure themselves, be it with speed, heart rate, power, distance, cadence, or Strava. But if we’re not careful, the pressing desire to better all these metrics can result in overtraining and hurting our bodies. To avoid overtraining, my advice is you should consider getting guidance from a qualified exercise professional, or sign up for a scientific training program.

Here are six good reasons why having a coach is a sensible idea:
1. A coach can correct your cycling technique to improve your power through your pedal stroke.
2. They can put together a personalized training program to suit your fitness level, your goals and your available time.
3. He or she will motivate you to push harder, and also show you where you’ve improved if you cannot see it yourself.
4. They also provide an element of accountability/guilt, so you feel compelled to train even though you may not want to.
5. A coach can answer any training questions you may have and provide you with feedback on your own training.
6. They will also hold you back when you’re sick or injured, and advise you how best to recover fully before you can attempt any intense sessions again.

I would suggest you keep with your coach or training program for a period of time, say at least three months, so that you can see the adaptions that have been made. It takes time for the body to adapt, but hang in there – good coaching advise, coupled with your own hard work and ability to stick to the program, will eventually result in improved performance.

That said, compatibility is another issue to be aware of. I believe you need to find the right coach for you and your personality. That’s because they need to be able to understand what makes you tick and motivate you to want to perform. Some mutual bond needs to be there to make the relationship work. – (c) 2017 NavWorld

Note: After being approached by several MTB riders asking her to coach them, Theresa Ralph has decided to take up the challenge and formally add coaching to her already wide repertoire of skills. If you would like her to assist you become a more competitive MTB rider, you can contact her via email at:

About The Author

Theresa Ralph
NavWorld Mountain Biking Ambassador

Wearing many hats; mom to two kids, IT specialist, pro MTB rider, part-time spinning coach and orthopaedic sports masseuse. NavWorld Ambassador Theresa Ralph has a message for other busy working mothers out there who would like to fit sport into their already-hectic lives: “You can do it, don't think you can't!”

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