I would like to wish a “Happy Coachiversary” to my running coach, Erin. It was one year ago she decided to take me on, guiding me through the magnificent hurts-so-good torture of training for my first marathon.
Erin is a badass (see Meet My Badass Running Coach) and coaches me through cyberspace. Hiring a coach was one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s not just for elites – ANY runner should consider a coach too. Why is that? Because… (can you sense a list coming?…)
1. I don’t have to think too hard.
When I’m striving for my next crazy goal, I become clueless and overwhelmed by trying to make a training plan that accounts for my fitness level, goals, and my schedule. I second-guess myself like mad and I need someone to take the reins and figure out what the heck I’m supposed to do to cross the finish line in one piece. How fast should speedwork be? How far should I go on the long runs? Should I run on a blister? All of those questions that would normally keep me up at night I now can take off my plate and say Erin, take the wheel! I don’t want to think, I just want to run.
I feel so special as she tailors a plan for me! me! me! Mysteriously, all of her plans have been spot-on. She somehow finds that sweet spot between la-dee-da easiness and chunk-blowing hardness.
So how does this virtual arrangement work? At the beginning of a new training cycle or major goal, we have a couple of lengthy conversations on the phone, then she creates and shares a Google Docs spreadsheet with me on which I write down my actual miles/workouts with comments and then she comments back to me.
Which leads me to…
2. Someone’s got to hold me accountable, and it ain’t gonna be me.
I am a lazy athlete. I crave structure and I want to know what’s coming. I need someone to hold my gnarly feet to the fire, so to speak. Reporting each workout onto my (our) spreadsheet has made it easy to stick with The Plan. Like if the plan that day says 4 miles, when I get to 3.75 I can’t start slacking and think, “Nah, I’m good.” Knowing I’m going to log in later and write it out for posterity makes it seem important. It is important, but now my workout record is official. (I’m also a little OCD with needing to finish the prescribed workout – can’t stop at 3.99 miles…must…get…Garmin…to…4.00!)
That’s not to say The Plan is inflexible. When I encountered lung issues last winter, she made adjustments. When I have a workout that’s just not happening, I write that in the notes. But on most days when I finish workouts, I have found that I’m now I’m super psyched to type in my miles and I get even more excited when I see that she’s replied. (Which she does. Every. Time.) The log has also turned into a great diary of sorts – when I’m feeling a bit crummy or unmotivated, I sometimes looks back on my prior workouts and see how far I’ve come and that helps end my pity party right there.
3. I don’t have to save the drama for my mama. I save it for Erin.
Not that my friends and family aren’t awesome, pom-pom waving morale boosters. But she’s had great runs, she’s had bad runs, she’s a mom, she’s been sick, she’s had sick kids, she’s been there and she can be objective about a situation. If I have a bad run, she helps me pick up the pieces, gain perspective, and move on. If I have a great run or smash a goal, she gives me a virtual high-five and fist-bump. Once I pour my drama into the log, I’m usually done with it, because I know her reply will either soothe, boost, or validate as my ego needs it to.
Do you need a coach? Doesn’t it sound awesome? It’s not just for elites, you know. Think about it…the monthly cost is less than a date night with a babysitter. If you need a little nudge, if you’re aiming for new, scary goal, if you just need someone to take the wheel for you, consider a coach.
And might I suggest mine? She’s the bestest! Check out her blog and email her…you and your feet won’t regret it!