This was the question that got asked most from our E3coaching series we carried out over the winter period. Here is the 2nd of two articles (First one can be found here) we will be publishing from riders that are coached by E3 coaching so you can get a better understanding of what its like and if its something for you! Words by E3 Rider Steve: For the last 2-1/2 years I have been coached by Jon Fearne at E3Coach.com. I made the move to find a coach as I had set myself a challenge that meant upping my game a bit, but with my job as a Senior Engineer that involves reasonably long hours looking after a team of Engineers working across a couple of big projects at the time of starting, I felt I needed some extra help to guide me through the process of ‘upping my game’. I felt I couldn’t find suitable time to read-up and then plan my training alongside family & work commitments – at the end of the day both of which are more important than messing around on bikes. I also felt that having to do all of this myself would be distracting from my intended goal and potentially take some of the fun out of my hobby. Jon and I were put in touch through a mutual friend who was already working with Jon, and our relationship has grown from there. For me, having a coach has allowed me to really focus on the two things with mountain biking that are really important – my goals and enjoying my riding. The fact that having a coach has allowed me to lift my fitness to a different level has just added to my enjoyment of riding, which was really important when having to train through an extremely wet/muddy winter to get ready for the WEMBO race in February 2016. That winter it felt like there was only a handful of dry rides, and without that desire to ride it would have been far more challenging to drag my backside out of bed in the cold, wet dark and get the hours in before work. The coaches input is a big part of this... Taking the worry out of the prep for what ride to do next, and wondering if you are doing the right type of riding was a concern before getting a coach given the scale of my challenge (as I saw it). No way did I want to travel part way around the world to not get the most out of the race, or to make a fool of myself. The way that E3C work suits me right down to the ground. A plan is provided weekly using Training Peaks so I have good visibility of what’s coming and can therefore be prepared for each day – particularly important when I do most of my riding before work. I can then upload my ride logs for Jon to study and plan future sessions from, and I can add comments on the good and bad bits of a session, making it very much a 2-way thing. It also helps that no two weeks are the same, which keeps things interesting and avoids slipping into the same routine week after week. Having this plan also gives me focus to complete the sessions... if I don’t do them, I feel that I am letting Jon down as well as myself, so slacking becomes less of an option! However, there are times when things just aren’t clicking into place on a ride and that’s OK too – sometimes. There have been times when there have been mental wobbles... Again, having a good coach gives me someone I can run these thoughts by who has been in the same position himself, or seen it in others. At the end of the day, my wife knows what makes me tick as she has been there for pretty much all of my races in the last 20 years, but a coach can see things from a different perspective and can offer a different viewpoint. For me there has been zero negatives in taking on a coach. I have seen the last 2-1/2 years as a really positive experience – the fact that I am enjoying my riding more now than a few years ago is testament to that. But, I do feel that knowing what your goals are really important too... whether that is chasing a title, being able to finish a charity ride, or anything in-between – your coach needs to know what this is too in order to get the most out of you.