In 1980 when I started coaching adult athletes (I coached high school before that) it was strictly with local athletes (Northern Colorado). I'd meet with them and conduct the workout. This was pretty common then—and still is for coaches who work only with local clients.
By the late 1980s, as my coaching business grew (there were only a few coaches then) and I coached others from outside of my region, I called athletes weekly to tell them their workouts or sent them by US mail. Around 1990 I went to a fax machine. By the early 1990s I was writing out weekly training schedules in the body of an email.
All of this was very tedious work and limited how many athletes I could effectively coach. So in 1994 I developed a field-based format using software called FileMaker Pro. I could fill in the blanks using customized macros and sent them as attachments to email. But not everyone had that software which kept me using the fax for many. By this time I was coaching athletes throughout the Northern Hemisphere and had a few coaches assisting me.
In 1999, my son, Dirk, one of my assistants at the time, who is much smarter than me, said there had to be a better way. He met with a friend of his (Gear Fisher) who was a programmer. Together they came up with a web-based system which we called "TrainingBible.com." Originally it was for my coaches only. But very quickly we realized it had a lot of potential for self-coached athletes and other coaches. So we opened it to the general public as a subscription-based service in 2000. Now it is www.trainingpeaks.com and we have thousands of users. Gear and Dirk run the company and there are a couple of dozen employees. I try to stay out of their way.
During the 30 years since I started, coaching has grown well beyond what I could have ever imagined. Without an online system such as TrainingPeaks, effective, personalized, long-distance coaching would not be possible.
It's been a fun journey. I can't wait to see what the future holds.