Big news- I hired a coach. It's a decision I've been mulling over for six months, actually. Over the past year, I've been a bit more stagnant in my racing results as I would've liked. After reflecting a LOT on my training and performances, I realized it was time to change things up. The problem was that I didn't really know *how* to change or what to add or take away. I've been self-coached for a LONG time, and tried (at some point) most of the cookie cutter training plans- Jack Daniels, Higdon, Hudson, and my true love- Pfitzinger. I did have a friend design a training plan for me a few years ago. He was toying with the idea of coaching as a (hopefully) career and used me as his guinea pig. Unfortunately, I did not finish the training cycle due to injury and then he decided to pursue an even different profession.
Prior to hiring a coach, I made a list of reasons or things that I want from a coach. I did this before even looking at my options.
*I wanted more than someone to just write me a plan. Honestly, i could probably write my own training plan. That part isn't *that* hard, if you have the experience. I've even made training plans for a few beginner runners.
*I wanted someone that would hopefully recognize my weaknesses as a runner and help me to work through them. I knew I wasn't getting faster, but I just couldn't pinpoint why.
*I wanted someone to turn to when little "situations" come up that could give me good, objective, educated advice. For example, after my Pensacola Marathon meltdown, I didn't really know how to return to training. Same thing when I do marathons that are fairly close together. I've been using Pfitzinger "Between Marathon" plan, but maybe there is more I could do to perform better.
*I also wanted to look for someone that could possibly balance me. For example- sometimes I melt down during a race or just sandbag it. I also have a habit of overworking with workouts, mileage, or just not resting in general. I believe the right person can help me channel those things into a positive training and racing experience.
*Lastly, I wanted someone to take control of my running for awhile (maybe forever). Planning for myself and constantly wondering if I was doing the right thing was tiring me out. I am ready to trust someone else with it for awhile.
So... I looked into 3 avenues- 2 coaches that I found from Brooks ID and then the local running store manager that coaches MANY of my local running buddies.
I ended up choosing the guy I somewhat knew from Brooks for a few reasons (besides those listed above)- I knew from forums that he was honest and not afraid to share his opinion. This is important to me b/c I want badly for someone to boss me around and give me constructive feedback. This will also help me trust that person when I receive a compliment. (I know he doesn't BS around.) I also know that he has coached a lot of runners to PRs, and many have made huge gains in the marathon (and likely other distances). The other guy that I knew from Brooks is a new coach, and he is likely great, too. With that being said, I'm not big on people that constantly promote their business. I kind of felt like his coaching business was more of a cookie-cutter (this works for everyone) plan. My main reason for NOT hiring the local guy was that I don't know a single experienced runner that has PRed under him. I do like that he is at ALL the races and many workouts. I think that kind of coach is also valuable. The old saying goes, though, proof is in the pudding. Also, this sounds snobby, but he only coaches one PERSON faster than me, and that's a guy. I realize that the type of performance I want might require me to "take it to the next level" and will require a more rigorous training plan.
And... I am now in Week 2 of being coached. I'll be honest when I say that first week was kind of rough, but in a very good way. He noted right off that I lack a lot of flexibility in my hip area. He gave me several videos to do before and after runs/workouts to address this weekend. I'm quite pleased with this approach b/c 1) it's something that addresses ME specifically and 2) it showed me right off that he was paying attention to me and 3) I hired him b/c I'm looking for NEW ideas and ways to improve. This was something VERY new to me. My workouts for last week (aside from the drills) we tough, but typical- a track workout, a tempo, and a decent LR.
School-wise... I AM SO READY TO BE DONE!!!!! This class has nearly put me over the edge. I mean, really, out.of.control.
Run Happy, friends!