Happy Friday all and welcome April! This year seems to be flying by. For this first Friday of the month Cynthia, Courtney and I are talking fitness. I’ve got a race coming up this weekend, the April Fools Half in Atlantic City. If you’ve been following me you know I worked with a running coach (Hi, Suz!) the past 10+ weeks to train for this race. I was in a major running rut in 2015 and felt I needed something that I just wasn’t providing for myself. Here are 5 lessons I learned working with a running coach:
Accountability is a big motivator. Sure I’ve run 28 half marathons (whoa) and countless other races. Some with training plans, some without; some with big goals and others not. But even during the best of times if there was a run on my schedule and I wasn’t in the mood – I could easily talk myself out of it or switch up the mileage. Having Suz’s plan on my computer, staring me in the face every day, knowing that someone out there wrote this for me with my goals and best interests in mind and I had to record what I did was motivation enough to get that workout in. Of the 40ish runs on my schedule this cycle – I only missed one easy run (due to travel) and DNF one (due to illness). All in all I was excited every day to tackle that workout and that is huge!
Easy runs are important. The last couple of training cycles I had been running 3 days a week without much regard to my pace (except speed work) yet not seeing much change. This cycle had me running 4 days a week. At first I was worried about upping that number but incorporating easy runs was great in terms of keeping my body from overdoing it and tackling those miles. My body adjusted pretty quickly. Besides, making it through this cycle with no pains or injury is reason enough to celebrate. 😉
Hills stink, but running them works. I cringed every time I saw hill repeats on my schedule. They are without a doubt hard. But they’re also effective. During the Rock n’ Roll DC half I tackled the steep hill (mini mountain) at mile 6, surprising myself by running up it the entire way. Then a couple weeks ago I ran a 12 miler and managed the hills in Rock Creek Park with ease. While Jake’s heavy weighted squats also had an impact I wouldn’t have accomplished either of those hill runs without the hill repeat work I’ve done.
Goals can be adjusted. While I went into this arrangement with sub-2 in mind time isn’t everything. Coach said pretty much from the beginning that her goal for me was to enjoy the process and come out stronger. That’s not to say that I’m not gunning for a time, sub-2 included, this weekend (and we’ve discussed my approach to the race itself) but my mindset when this all started was not in a good place. Comparison is the thief of joy and I couldn’t stop comparing the 2016 me to the 2013 me. A lot has changed in 3 years but with Suz’s help I was able to meet me where I was and start anew. Through this I’ve learned to love the process again and I’m SO EXCITED for the weekend (40 degrees, wind and all – boo!)
Most importantly, I still love running. As I mentioned above, there was a period of time where I was just not in love with this sport but I kept forcing it because – it’s running! For a long time running had been the one thing I could always count on to make me feel good. The mental game became a huge challenge – never mind any of the physical issues I was having. Working with Suz (and Jake) in a more focused way helped me get stronger, appreciate what my body can do, and appreciate running itself.
No matter what happens this weekend the journey I’ve been on the past few months has been great. I feel accomplished, stronger, have a renewed sense of self and confidence in my abilities and passion for running (and fitness overall). If any one were to ask me if hiring a running coach was worth it – my answer would be a thousand times yes.
What’s on tap for the weekend? Do you incorporate easy runs into training? Have you ever worked with or considered working with a running coach?