Is It Worth Paying For A Coach?

At Passion Fit we often hear athletes tell us that they cannot afford to pay for coaching or that it is not worth it. The question you need to ask yourself is ‘Is that really the case?’.  Triathlon is experiencing an epidemic in a deep belief that spending more and more money on more expensive state of the art equipment will make you faster and help you place better. The reality is that, to some extent, in some cases, this is true. However, not every athlete will benefit from better equipment and in all cases the gains are minimal, maybe as little as 2%. If you are already fast enough to be chasing a Kona slot or an age group podium then, in some highly competitive age groups these small percentages could really matter. However, for the all the other athletes (over 97% of the field) then these percentages have a lesser effect and if you haven’t got every other element of your preparation on point then these small percentages are unlikely to really matter and may not even exist if you are unable to make use of the equipment you have purchased. However, a quality coach that is fully committed to your goals will almost certainly improve your time beyond your expectations. We see many athletes experience improvements that at one time they could not have even imagined after investing time and money into a great coaching resource. Consider this, if most the world’s greatest athletes need a coach what makes you think you don’t?

Take a look at some examples of the costs involved for various purchases athletes make in pursuit of faster times (these are estimates and clearly variations do exist)


* New bike – £1500- 10000- time saved over Ironman up to 5mins

* Aero helmet – £100-400+ – time saved up to 2mins

* Deep section wheels – £300-3000 – time saved up to 5mins

* New wetsuit – £100-£800 – time saved up to 1min

* Aero tri suit – £100-400 – time saved up to 3mins

Total potential cost – £2100-14600

Total potential time saved – 16mins! (2% over a 12 hour Ironman)


* Club membership – £25

* Club weekly training sessions – £15 p.w.

Total potential cost a year £805

Time saved – this varies greatly from athlete to athlete depending on their self coaching ability


* £600 – annual cost of Sky TV

* £600 – annual cost of phone contract

* £480 – annual cost of 2 meals out a month

* £1200 – annual cost of one night out a month


* £1920 annually for a bespoke personalise coaching plan with unlimited coach access, full mentoring, race preparation, training group access, discounts on products, training group social media access

* £2000 annually  for face to face session weekly

* £3000 min annual cost of full coaching package with Passion Fit (inc 2 weekly face to face session

(Average annual cost of one generic personal training session of 60mins a week £2340 with no follow up of coaching plan)

Potential timed saved over an Ironman – HOURS!






If you are still not sure. This is what some of our athletes had to say……




Making the decision to hire a coach and commit to being a fully coached athlete is not one to be taken lightly. There is no cheap, easy ride to success and hiring a coach does not change this. What hiring the right person does do is gives you the very best opportunity to excel in meeting your goals so long as you give it your all.

The relationship with a coach is a weird one and quite a unique experience for some one not from a sporting background. It’s hard to explain exact dynamics but the best I can say is if you could morph together your spouse, best friend, worse enemy, most hated teacher in school, favourite PE teacher ever and a masochist you would be getting close!


I have found that the most important thing to consider when embarking on this journey is being realistic about your expectations. Do not underestimate the amount of time and money you will need to invest. A coach will be telling you what to do, not doing it for you! So consider the following:


Tom is not a miracle worker and just deciding to hire him because you want to be faster does not guarantee a PB. You couldn’t ask for better knowledge and guidance but he is there to guide you and show you the path, he can’t walk it for you. Never underestimate the level of time, money, commitment and dedication it takes to reach your goals.


Coaching is a two way process, everything you need to know and do will be taught to you in time but you need to be involved and you need to put in the hours. If you are going to pay someone to guide you and then ignore what they say then you might as well just flush your money down the toilet right now!


Hiring a coach is not a one way magic carpet to the podium (for most). It is a bumpy, turbulent bus ride with many stops and detours on long the way. I have done absolutely everything Tom asked of me this year, done every session I was physically capable of, rested when he made me and a podium position is still only a dream for me. Reaching this level takes time and patience, just ask Tom he has spent 4 years getting to the top of his age group and it is all the more rewarding for him because he has worked so hard for it.


Triathlon is not just about training and racing, there is so much more to it. For someone obsessive like me it can take over your whole life and with teenage kids, a very understanding, supportive husband and only a part time job I have this luxury. For most this is not the case and there are many distractions and commitments that can make it a harder journey, young children, a spouse who would rather eat their own hand than put on a wetsuit or stand supporting in the pouring rain, friends who live down the local pub and are constantly drawing you to the dark side, the call of wine and chocolate on a Saturday night, the list goes on. Triathlon is not about the one day that you race, it is a long journey to be embraced and enjoyed, this requires an element of sacrifice from you and your family, but finding a balance is crucial and something only you can measure.


Tom is not there to sugar coat things, pat you on the back and make you feel good! (Although he may at times if he really thinks it’s necessary). While he gives praise when it is due he is also going to tell you it as it is, he’ll be brutally honest, tell you things you don’t want to hear, make you do things you don’t want to do. You will have days when you just want to throw your xhale feedback out the window and wonder why on earth you are paying someone to be so bloody horrible to you! BUT, annoyingly he is mostly right, you are paying him to get the best out of you, not lie and pretend you are doing ok if you are not. Be prepared to listen and learn but to potentially challenge or question what he is saying; he has the knowledge but you and only you know your body and mind and you need to listen to yourself too and work together to find the right decisions.


Benefits of coaching:


Knowledgeable, science based coaching. Not just information from a book but tried and tested self taught training that has proved hugely successful for Tom.


Individualised coaching. Sadly I have probably been one of Tom more ‘tricky’ clients shall we say! With a water phobia and numerous injuries a conventional text book approach to swimming/training was not going to work. No two people are alike so his adaptable coaching to suit each individual is crucial.


A carefully structured approach to training to maximise your fitness at the right speed while endeavouring to keep you injury free


Weekly updated personalised training plan and regular feedback via Xhale. This is a great training guide that links to your Garmin and all the tech geeks out there will love it!


Lots of fun and challenging sessions, just don’t tell him the ones you don’t like or you will have them every week for the whole season (LOL!)


Opportunity to build a unique relationship with a great person. You won’t find anyone else out there who will understand and ‘get’ and your need to be involved in this crazy sport more than him! And you certainly won’t find anyone locally who knows as much or is as generous with his knowledge or as committed to his sport as Tom is.


Great support with open and honest communication at all times, Tom shows great empathy at times (more than he believes), and is dedicated to trying to understand you in order to help you achieve your goals. All he asks is that you respect his time and commitment to you by showing him the same commitment and dedication in return.


So in summary. As I said before coaching is very much a two way process. Tom will guide you and lead you on the right path and give you every opportunity to reach your goals but in the end it is down to you to listen to what he is telling you, commit the time and be dedicated in your approach.

But, at the same time be realistic in your expectations. All but the most talented athletes will have a long road to success. PB’s and podiums don’t happen overnight, maybe not even in the first few seasons. I have dedicated over 450 hours to training this season, 210 of those hours in the pool, never missed a session unless physically of benefit to do so, committed myself 100% and I am still far from reaching my ultimate goals. It is easy to get frustrated, and why not, you are spending a lot of money to hire someone who will help you achieve this but patience, trust and belief in them and yourself that you will get there is required. Coaching with someone like Tom is a privilege, role models like this don’t come along very day. Embrace the journey, take very opportunity you can and it will be the most rewarding bumpy roller coaster ride you have ever been on!!”



Jo –


“I approached Tom at Passion Fit the middle of last year having entered the Cotswold Way 100km run.  (Not something that I would advise anybody to do.) Having only ever run half and full marathons I had little knowledge of what was required of ultra marathons. (I wouldn’t of entered if I had) From the moment I stepped through the door at the studio i knew I had made the right decision in turning to Tom.   

His first question to me is why do you want a coach? I had never been asked this before and being a personal trainer myself many may ask why did I need a coach, the reason being is I’m the same as every other individual, I lacked motivation and needed that person to be accountable to.

His next question was why a 100km? Im unsure why even to this day I decided on this challenge, it was something I knew would test me both mentally and physically and I think it was partly the kudos to say I had done it. 

He sat down with me and talked through how we would work together to achieve this, explaining the amount of training that would be required and trying to persuade me that triathlon really was a better option.  (At this point I stated I would never do a triathlon)

Toms knowledge, drive and passion for his job and sport of triathlon was clear to see and it was some what refreshing to work with someone with that much dedication. 

From there I started to fill out my Xhale account with goals that I hoped to achieve, other races I had entered  and work hours so that he could start to tailor the training plan around me. 

Over the next few months Tom was always on hand, through xhale, messaging or phone calls, he goes above and beyond what is required of a coach but in return requires 100% dedication and commitment mainly because he doesn’t want to see you fail as an athlete and because he is so passionate about what he does. 

Standing on the start line of the 100km I knew those double run days and back to back weekend runs were worth it.  The structure of Toms training programme had been spot on, even with the high mileage i had suffered no injuries or niggles, I felt fit and raring to go.  I finished the race in 33rd and 10th lady which i never expected, my goal had just been to finish. 

I cannot praise Tom enough in what he has helped me to achieve and the group that he has created (Passion Fit) Being able to train with others and having their support is something that has made training that much more fun and pushes you that much harder. 

To start I said I would never do a triathlon which Tom replied “we will see”, entering a middle distance triathlon 4 weeks after the 100km was probably not my wisest decision and has also made me realise its important to consult Tom before entering races.  However it didn’t faze him, his recovery plan and gradual increase of exercise worked, I was on that start line confident that I could complete it.

I cannot thank Tom enough for what he has helped me achieve and cant recommend him highly enough.  What Tom has achieved this year as an athlete and also in creating the Passion fit group just shows that hard work and dedication really does pay off.”



Jonny –


“ Is it worth paying for a coach?

As most athletes will know, we all have trained in our own way using information gathered from various resources and thought that worked well.

But in reality a bespoke individual training plan is invaluable to achieve  realistic goals set by your coach and you.

Understanding your current fitness level & technique in all areas of chosen sport allows your coach to prepare & adapt a training plan as you progress in each discipline.

Team PassionFit Head coach Tom Ward  Achieves this by constantly monitoring Coached  & team athletes to realise their potential.

As a team athlete I have the benefit of all the experience our head coach has gained through his own training & racing.

The coaching ethos here at Team PassionFit is very focused & precise but tailored to the individual to allow them to progress in a controlled environment.

Team PassionFit has & will continue to help & guide myself  & many others.

So the answer to the question,is it worth paying for a coach?

Yes it definitely is.

Jon Maxwell


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