Why I hired a running coach

Image description: Stopwatch in a white woman's hand with her thumb on the top button. The silver watch has a white face with black and red numbers and a smaller dial indicating minutes within the larger face indicating seconds. It is in the foreground against a background of blue sky and white wispy clouds.

Image description: Stopwatch in a white woman’s hand with her thumb on the top button. The silver watch has a white face with black and red numbers and a smaller dial indicating minutes within the larger face indicating seconds. It is in the foreground against a background of blue sky and white wispy clouds.

If you’re a regular reader of the blog you know I’m often switching things up. I also like to work with coaches and trainers. It keeps me motivated and accountable and helps me get stronger, faster. My latest switch-up is that I have taken a break from triathlon after deciding to quite the bike.

That means I’ve also taken a hiatus from swimming. I would keep swimming but lately I can’t seem to do the 6 a.m. thing and the triathlon swim is so popular that I felt bad taking up a spot that I hardly used.

So that leaves running, weight training, and yoga. I’m working with a personal trainer already for my resistance training and I’m all good with the hot yoga. Since the Key West Half Marathon, I’ve been training for the Around the Bay two-person relay. Two years ago I did the ATB 30K, and that was just a bit much for me. So I gave it a miss last year. But the two-person relay sounds do-able, at only 15K per person. Julie is running anchor and I’m starting out. Anita is running it too with Violetta as her anchor person.

My friend Linda is an amazing runner, personal besting still at age 68. She is a coach and trainer (you can find her at Master the Moments), so I met with her about my ATB plans and shared my goal of wanting to get faster. I’ve been wanting to get faster for some time now. But I confess that I am guilty of what Linda calls being a “one pace wonder.” I don’t have a enough varied paces in my training.

Linda’s training schedules for me have dealt with the OPW phenomenon, with a mix of interval drills for speed work, tempo runs at a steady pace, and easy distance runs. She based my recommended pace times (which vary depending on the type of run) on my race times at various distances.  No matter what type of training run I’m doing on a given day, the pace is always a bit uncomfortable. For the intervals and tempos it’s a bit of a harder push than I’m used to. For the longer, easier runs, Linda is sometimes recommending a slower pace than I’m used to. That can also be a challenge.

I’ve enjoyed working with a coach who outlines a new plan for me every two weeks with my goal race in mind. Linda has a positive and encouraging attitude and it’s good to have someone rooting for me and checking with me regularly. It also keeps me accountable and motivated.

It’s hard to know if I’m actually getting faster. I’ve so far not done the recommended runs perfectly as recommended, so it’s not clear that they’re having the desired impact on my speed.  But I plan to keep working with the plans Linda has given me after Around the Bay until I start seeing actual results.

I think it was last summer that I was going to concentrate on my 10K time. But it didn’t really come to much. This summer I’ll give it another go. I would love to be able to get my 10K to an hour. When ATB is over (It’s on Sunday), I’ll meet with Linda to discuss new goals and get new plans to help me meet them.

In short, I like working with a running coach because it motivates me, gives me training plans that are designed to achieve specific purposes, and keeps me more accountable. It’s also nice to be encouraged and pushed to do more or work harder than I would on my own (which is always the way with me — I never work as hard on my own as I do when I have a trainer or a coach).

How about you? Do you work with a coach for any of your sports? Why?

About Tracy I

Writer, feminist, vegan, triathlete, sailor, philosopher, sometimes knitter.

2 thoughts on “Why I hired a running coach

  1. klyse3 says:

    I haven’t used a coach yet, but I expect that I will sometime in the next few years. Right now, I’m at such in early stage in running that I still know lots of things I need to improve without paying someone to tell me!


  2. siglindesarts says:

    Coaches are an amazing investment in my health. I’m an OPW in the pool, so my swim coaches have me doing drills and sprints, as well as correcting technique. They also let me know about race opportunities, something I would never look for on my own. I didn’t grow up around horses, so my riding coach is essential for teaching me everything from horse health to posture. Mostly though, they are motivation. Most of my coaches and teachers also become friends, and I feel a real obligation to not let them down by skipping practice/lessons.


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