Q & A with Ask a Pro’s Diane Stibbard
– Coach, Personal Trainer, and Two-Time Canadian Duathlete of the Year
How does long-distance coaching work?
Long-distance coaching can last anywhere from one session—for example, setting up a customized program, giving advice, or tweaking an existing training program—to months or years, depending on what the client’s goals are.
Coaching long-distance is very similar to coaching in person. In the initial consultation, I establish what the client’s goals are, where she’s currently at in terms of mileage, intensity, and frequency of riding and her fitness level. Then we decide how the client wants to use my services. For example, does she want monthly programs to help her achieve her fitness and cycling goals, or does she want periodic sessions and programs? If we’re doing monthly programs I communicate a lot with the client through email to ensure all is going according to plan. Questions and problems are addressed through email correspondence, or Skype. Skype is useful if I need to observe an exercise the client is doing to see if she’s doing it correctly.
If a client just wants help from time to time, then I follow up every few weeks to make sure she’s staying on track and reaching her goals.
One of the benefits of coaching is having someone push you beyond your comfort level to get results. How do you motivate long-distance clients?
Motivating long-distance clients is easier than it appears. If someone is using my coaching services, the plan I create for them is a form of accountability. A workout schedule with definite goals tends to help clients stick with their training. Plus I’m constantly in touch, checking on their progress. That keeps them on track! It’s much easier to “fall off the rails” if you’re left to your own devices.
How do you track a long-distance client’s progress?
I track a long-distance client’s progress just as I would any client’s. First, we establish the client’s goals. Then I establish measurables for these goals. Examples of measurables are heart rate and watts (power). If the client is measuring watts (power), then I use a power-to-heart rate ratio to measure her progress. If the client just measures her heart rate, then I see what her heart rate is doing each time she performs the workouts. I also use time trials to gauge fitness. For example, I may use a 15km time trial and measure time and heart rate. Then we keep checking to see if these measurables are being met. The measurables will vary depending on the client and her goals.
What do your coaching services cost?
The initial consultation is free. Customized programs cost $85. For long-term coaching I charge $85.00 per hour. Any follow up, answers to questions or issues, is included as a part of the service. I do not bill for email communication or brief Skype conversations. Payment is easy—through PayPal or, if in Canada, email transfer to my bank account.
How is the program delivered to the client?
I email programs to the client. Monthly programs are always emailed the day before the start of the program.
What if the program needs tweaking?
If minor adjustments to the program are needed I do those at no cost to the client. For example, if the client gets sick, or can’t fit workouts into her schedule because of work, family, or other obligations, I offer alternatives.