why working with a running coach has made me a better runner

Well, I’m about to deliver a complete shocker sentences: Whenever you work with a coach (whatever area of life) and you actually apply what they’re telling you to do, you’re bound to get better. Like I said, shocker, I know, but I think it’s important to talk about why this is specifically true when it comes to me and running — aka my point of view on the whole scenario.  For those that are new here, I will be completing my first FULL marathon this coming January, having never thought I would run one in my life. I put my crazy runner brain into full gear (because let’s be honest, all runners are crazy) and went from the thought of never wanting to run a full to wanting to complete before I turn 30 in May. I told you…we’re crazy. So here I am getting into training mode for my first full, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone. 

My favourite distance is the half, and a distance that I feel like I can run no matter what (even untrained, which funny enough, I’ve done and actually still have my best half time from that), but a full is a whole different story. I knew for sure I wasn’t mentally ready to prepare for this thing, but physically was a ‘no’ as well. 

And if you’re really new here, then you won’t know that my hubby is a golf coach...and I swear this story is going somewhere. He coaches a kid whose dad is actually a Detroit Marathon winner (with a 2:18 finish time), and asked him if he would mind coaching me through my first full. Luckily he said yes, and I was ecstatic because he clearly knows a thing or two about running.

Long story short: I’ve been working with him for about three weeks so far, and I’ve been loving what he’s been giving me. We correspond on Sundays when I send him my log from the week and he gives me my new work for the upcoming week. I like to think that I’m a great student because I do every run he tells me at the given paces and sometimes even down to the days he tells me to run them on. Where’s my gold star??

I know if you’re not a runner then this is probably very boring stuff, but if you dig it, then here’s why I love working with my running coach and how he’s made me a better runner.

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1. Workouts tailored to you.

I know it’s always nice finding training plans online for free that give you an idea of how to train for an upcoming race, but the added bonus of actually working with someone is them knowing you in-depth and getting a sense of your goals/paces/schedule/etc. This is something I’ve never really considered until actually working with someone and how awesome it actually is.

I love that I can give my coach feedback on how my runs went that week and then he works that into the following week.

2. You see clear-cut progress.

My husband and I actually had this discussion last night about how my running has already changed in such a short period of time. If you had talked to me as little as 5-6 weeks ago, I was struggling to get any sort of running habits in order, and my running was sort of at a plateau. Now, I already feel stronger and capable of a lot more—thanks to my tailored runs. I know it! ;)

3. It’s someone who is taking the time to help you, so you want to make it worth it.

Not saying that I’m running for my coach, but he’s putting these week-to-week plans together for me because he wants to help me, and it makes me want it that much more. I already felt pretty dedicated to my marathon when I signed up (and scared shitless), but now that I have someone willing to help me, I am super dedicated and know that with the hard work, it’s going to be very satisfying to achieve the end result.

4. I get my ass handed to me in my workout runs.

I doubt I would ever try to push myself in the same way that being told to can do to you. What I mean by this (and I’ll expand by showing you what I’ve been doing for workouts so far) is that my workout runs are something that a) I never anticipate, meaning it’s something I would never think up myself, and b) just a touch more than I’d probably do if it were me assigning hard days to myself.

But like I said in point #1, since they are tailored to me, I know that I can handle them. Sometimes he even clarifies with, “you should feel pretty dead by the end but still running strong.” Oh joy!

Here are the workouts I’ve done so far:

  • Week 1: 1.5 mile warm-up easy, 5 x 3:00 at sub-8 pace, 1 min recovery in between each, 1.5 mile cool down
  • Week 2: 1.5 mile warm-up (9:15-9:30 pace), 4 mile tempo run (8:30, then 8:20, then 8:10, and 8:00 paces), 1 mile warm down
  • Week 3: 1.5 mile warm-up (@ 9:30), 1 min-2 min-3 min-4 min-5 min-4min…1min pyramid at 8:10 to 7:50 pace, 1 min easy pace between each, 1.5 mile cool down 

And an added bonus...

5. Words are power.

Hearing someone tell you that you’re doing awesome and asking you how you’re feeling after Week __ is very refreshing and makes you feel on top of the world. Running isn’t an easy thing, and it’s nice to be recognized for your hard work.

And again, this applies to all areas of life. Not just to running, which is super convenient if you need a little life pep talk sprinkled into some running talk.

I think that’s it and if you’re training for a race right now too, I want to hear about it! Leave me a comment below! I actually took yesterday and today off from running because my feet are pretty badly beaten up, but will be back out there bright & early Friday morning for a long run.

And have a happy Thursday! You deserve it!