I’m pretty sure my readers saw this coming because of this post and then this post, but choosing to hire a coach a month ago was a spur of the moment decision (because even after St. George I was still extremely hesitant.)
Right as I was thinking and wondering about how to come up with a plan for 2016, I read a couple posts from some of my favorite running pals, both named Katie, within a couple weeks of each other and decided to take those posts as a sign. The two blog posts were this one (from Running Our Lives) and this one (from Katiesfitscript.)
Before I even started to look for one, I had a checklist of what I wanted in a coach. It looked a little like this:
- I wasn’t set on a male, but preferred one. Can’t really explain why, but on the same note, I also prefer male doctors. (What does this say about me? I don’t know.)
- I wanted someone intelligent/smart. During our initial phone conversation he seemed to know his stuff, and he didn’t mess it up by using a word like “supposably” or ending a sentence with “at.”
- I wanted someone who works with runners like little old me- 4 hour marathoners hoping to improve, not just elites trying to qualify for the olympics.
- Lastly, I wanted someone passionate. So passionate that they’re a little bit crazy. A little like myself.
I was matched with my coach using Training Peaks. It was all very fast and easy. After submitting the coach matching survey, I had a response that day and a phone call with him that night. From what I could tell, he met the criteria on my mental checklist, but I was still on the fence. Then I talked with B. Decisions are usually pretty difficult for me (like any teeny tiny little decision), but for B, every choice he makes is pretty simple. He basically said, “Why not? It could be great. If it’s not, quit using him.” So I bit the bullet and signed on.
His plan started pretty immediately (after Las Vegas Rock ‘n Roll.) The first time I logged onto the Training Peaks app and looked at my plan, I felt a huge burden lifted from my shoulders. What a relief to all of a sudden not be pursuing this goal completely on my own! I have someone on my team. As far as my personality goes, I am much better at taking direction than I am taking the driver’s seat, so this setup seemed almost too good to be true.
It’s only been a month, but I’ve already noticed benefits. Before I knew someone was watching and analyzing my Garmin Connect account, I would frequently shuffle my days around, and sometimes even make up for miles that were missed a day or two before. This is probably bad, but I’m coming clean here, guys. Now that I know I am being held accountable by someone other than myself, I am more disciplined (remember this post when I talked about how disciplined I used to be and how I wanted to get back to that- I think it’s actually happening.) I’m working hard, too. I’m hesitant to say it will lead to a faster time on the clock (because I’ve worked really hard before, lots of times), but I’m hoping it will.
Interactions with my coach include my daily post-workout notes, a weekly email from him discussing how the previous week went, and occasional texts. So far, he seems to be a good combination of realistic and optimistic.
Overall, I feel like my end goal (a PR in 2016) has a bigger presence in my mind, and in my daily workouts. I have more focus.
“Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” When my opportunity comes, I plan on being fully prepared. A coach is gonna help get me there. And heaven knows I need all the help I can get.