Get a Coach

Image of the starting line

Start of the Fitness for Vitality Race, February 23rd 2014, in beautiful Seward Park.

During my sabbatical from social media, I decided to focus my newfound time and energy on other neglected aspects of my offline life.

I’ve had great progress in my running goals since my first 5K “run run” in 2005.  After the last three marathons I ran, I had felt like I had plateaued in my ability to train on my own.  Indeed, the last marathon (Forest Park) was such a training disaster that I realized I need to do something if I was to maintain my current fitness, never mind achieve long term goals.

At the start of the new year, I hired Coach Michele from P3 Running to tailor a training plan.  I gave her information on my current training, my health and diet, and a set of goals:

With that, she was able to produce weekly training schedules that get me on the right track (so to speak).  The training schedules gradually build up miles but are also punctuated with stuff that I wouldn’t think to do on my own. Like: hill training, interval training, core workouts and strength training.

After two months  I can say that it’s doing wonders.  My training is more consistent, but also more varied.  I feel better.  I was amazed that most of the aches and pains that I associated with just “being a runner” diminished with regular core workouts.  I’m becoming more mindful about my pace and I’m getting a better sense of how I can push myself without overdoing it.

With that in mind, I’ve run two races under her gentle tutelage and managed to set two PRs.  Both happen to be in consecutive races in a series, the Fitness for Vitality Seattle Run Series.  I ran a 7:13 pace for the 5K in January and a 7:24 pace for the 10K today.  I’m super psyched about it and looking forward to the progress to come.

All this to say: a coach can be really helpful for getting you out of your rut.  I’m not saying this is the only way.  Running groups are helpful and even books or training apps can work.  I’m just saying that it’s helping me at this stage in my running journey – and that it’s worth considering if you’re stuck in your training.

As for expense, prices vary, but for me it’s less than what I previously paid for cable.  And I’m getting so much more back from it.

And like so much in running, this may be an analog to life in general.  There are so many times when we’re stuck with problems because we’re hesitant or unwilling to seek help.  Once you make the effort, you usually discover it was totally worth it the time, cost, or energy you had to put into it and you’re able to achieve more than you would on your own.

That’s something I could stand to keep in mind more often.

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