So, my wife was talking to me in between my workout and my hurried rush to be late for work...again...about things like micropayment & free-riding... I vaguely remembered from my college economics course about free-riding; it's like banditing a road race. For the uninitiated, bandits are unregistered, unofficial race participants. They don't have a bib number so their performances aren't officially recorded. Most of the time, these bandits won't grab drinks at the aid stations or run through the finish chute; the occasional cup of water taken by a bandit might not adversely affect a race promoter's profit margin, but when they run through the chute it causes headaches for the timing crew...especially if their timing system is antiquated.
Of course, the bandit is of the opinion 'hey, the police coverage is going to be out there for everyone else, what's so wrong with me using the race as a fast training event? I'm not drinking the beer or eating the bagels, am I?' Most race directors, at least here, turn a (semi-)blind eye on the banditry because it usually doesn't screw up their event as a whole. However, if the individual participant looked at it as 'dude, someone isn't paying their fair share...' perhaps race directors would be a little less benign about the whole thing. The difference between 300 persons paying for a 350-participant race and 350 persons paying for a 350-participant race, if we're talking a 5,000-meter run with a $20 entry fee is (before the expenses are taken away) $1,000, right on the edge of 15 percent potential additional income. Or, the race director can do something really cool, like keep the registration closer to $18. Imagine what the average, run-of-the-mill race participant would think about a $2 decrease in entry fee?
It's hyperbole, but it's easier to think about the difference when you start tossing big numbers.
1. Change or discontinue certain content.
2. Charge for content.
And it appears many on-line coaching services cannot help but agree. You might be able to find cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-most training plans - or parts of them - on the web sites of coaching content providers, but a modicum of your paycheck is going to have to be parted with if you want the entire picture, which may or may not include a coach to answer questions, provide guidance & counsel, & help you to figure out what you need to reach your own athletic performance goals.
Any coach who doesn't consider charging a reasonable price for the service they provide: