We think that coaching can help athletes at every level. So we're continuing our profile of some of our favorite coaching organizations with an interview with Liz Cullen from Brite Coaching.
Coeur: Liz, thank you so much for chatting with us. We've known you as an athlete for quite some time, but haven't talked before this about coaching. What prompted you to get into coaching?
Liz: It was one of my own coaches that encouraged me to start coaching! She found my questions and comments about my own coaching showed a deeper interest in the progression and details that go into a training program. Since then, I’ve given up my 9-5 desk job to pursue coaching full time. I haven’t looked back.
Coeur: Tell us a bit about Brite Coaching. What is the coaching philosophy and how do you work with your athletes?
Liz: Brite Coaching was founded by one of triathlons most prolific professional athletes Christine Fletcher.
I’m lucky enough to have started with Christine right at the beginning and share in the excitement as it grows.
Brite’s philosophy starts with providing an exclusive, meaningful relationship with each athlete based on reaching goals.
Each athlete gets a personal training program along with purposeful communication in whatever form needed at the time. Yes, we still pick up the phone! Although we are based in Vancouver, we coach athletes around the globe.
Coeur: Which sports do you cover? Is it triathlon specific or do you also provide coaching for other sports?
Liz: Definitely not just triathlon! We have runners, cyclists, mountain-bikers, cross-country skiers and even a paddle-boarder. If you need conditioning to reach a goal, we can get you there.
Coeur: What type of individual is in your target market? In other words, do you only coach elite athletes or will you take new entrants to the sport as well?
Liz: Everyone is welcome and I mean everyone. If you have goals, the length or speed of your race shouldn’t determine your coaching program. We have a range of athletes from elites to beginners and everyone in between
Coeur: How many athletes does Brite Coaching take per year and how do people sign up?
Liz: We take enough to keep us engaged and busy, but not so many that we lose the close coach-athlete relationship. Every athlete gets personalized programs and one-on-one communication. Check out the website http://brite.coach/ or send me any inquires: firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, I am still taking athletes for 2016 and beyond!
Coeur: We know that the relationship between an athlete and the coach can be complex and when it works, it can be amazing, but if it doesn’t everyone can be frustrated. What should an athlete look for when they are researching coaches and what questions should they ask?
Liz: Starting at the philosophies of a company or coach can tell you a lot. Your goals and needs should fit in with the vision of the company. If you have big goals for multi-season success, then you need a coach that is in it with you for the long-haul. After that other questions could include: method and frequency of communication and technical requirements (eg, HR monitor, power meter etc).
Coeur: We see that you're based in Canada, which can have some very cold weather. What advice do you have for athletes who have to do much of their early season work in-doors?
Liz: For indoor training it’s important to have a plan for each and every session. We write our athletes specific indoor sessions to keep them focused on the energy system being worked. We also have a huge advantage for the Vancouver based athlete as we offer indoor cycling. Indoor workouts are so much better with other like-minded athletes.
Coeur: How is technology playing a role in coaching? Will we all be wearing virtual reality glasses someday?
Liz: Feedback is becoming instantaneous! You finish a workout, it uploads automatically and before your sweat has dried your coach can see every heartbeat and Watt on a screen. We have so much data at our fingertips, it’s really no wonder you need another set of eyes to sift through it all.
I already know a few people with data displaying glasses and those swim-sighting goggles.
Coeur: We know endurance athletes can be a bit...well...stubborn. How do you make sure they are following the plan, especially on rest days?
Liz: Stubborn? Really?
I think the rest days come with education. It can only go so far with some people to tell them they need rest. If you can educate your athlete about rest you might just get through. People don’t question the basic need for sleep, athletes need to relate that to training.
Coeur: Liz, Brite Coaching sounds amazing. Thank you so much for chatting with us!
Liz: Thank You!