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Hiring a coach


pamela
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I posted this in my training journal, but don't expect that everyone reads that.

 

I would like to hire a coach to help me get faster with my running. I am researching coaches, and I was wondering how important it is for that person to be really good themselves at what they're coaching.

 

This one coach I have been looking into sounds good, but then I checked her race results and she's not actually a whole lot faster than I am. In fact, I am sure I could match those times before long. Granted, she's a lot older than I am.

 

Is that a reflection of her coaching abilities, or just her own physical limitations?

 

Does anyone have any ideas on this? I know nothing about this kind of stuff. I am not looking just to learn how to run, I know how to do that. I want to improve.

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Personally I don't think you need to waste the money. Coaches are useful but you seem to be progressing very quickly and I don't think that can happen much faster with a coach. Once you peak out then its a good idea to think about a coach. As for her results unless she's way older than you are she shouldn't only be that small bit faster. I'm not saying that you need to be good to be a good coach...I can coach runners of any distance and field event athletes of any discipline but I was only a thrower. However it is good to have a coach that you can aspire to be like...and unless she's in her late 50s there's no reason for her to only be a bit faster than you are now since there are women that are 50yrs old running 2:45 marathons. Have you looked into a running group or running club in your area???

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Well, I do think I am possibly peaking out. I guess I just don't know if I have, but I really just don't know what to do at this point in terms of training other than just going out and running. It'd be really nice to have someone tell me what i need to do, and when. Now that I'm done my half marathon, I feel kind of lost.

 

(she is in her 50s )

 

I haven't really looked into running groups, although another coach I've been researching has one (which I learned about today) and I thought that sounded interesting. I'm kind of solitary, or would prefer to do things with one other person, for the most part.

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I really don't think you are anywhere near peaking. You may be meeting a point of no so quick progression but I wouldn't say you've peaked...you haven't raced or run long enough to even know that yet...even if you have peaked. I do know you haven't though. I wouldn't say your peaking unless you only get say 15-30seconds faster over a season in a 5K on the same course. Once you get better you'll be fighting to get 15 seconds on the same course in a year but for now you've been gaining that much pretty much every month.

As for not liking running groups it makes sense to me. A lot of endurance athletes like to train alone or in tight small groups. Maybe you could try to go to one group run and if you hit it off with someone you can run together. For intervals especially...its nice to have someone to pace with.

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OK, so I guess you're saying I should take the gains I can get for free before shelling out, right?

 

That's probably good advice. But I still don't know what to do about training right now. Just keep at what I've been doing? I've looked at online training programs and I just don't like them. Also, I need to be held accountable!

 

I think I'll look into the group runs one of these nights. It might be a good place to start.

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Oh yeah, and part of it too is while I've increased my endurance, I haven't really increased my speed. My pace has been almost the exact same at my 5k, 10k and 21k races. So I've started to wonder if that's where I'll be stuck at. But I know that's probably just me being impatient.

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Personally I learn a lot from my coach.

My suggestion is if you want to get a coach. Get one with a good back ground.

A friend of mine who was training for the Gobi Dessert (250k) race. In the begining she had trouble running 5k but 8 months later her coach brought her milage up to her goal race.

You decide Pamela !

I have this in my mp3 player...

 

http://www.chirunning.com/shop/home.php

Good luck Girly !

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Speed can come with turnover drills for running the same pace but shortening your stride...this means lots of fast short strides. Also lifting can help quite a bit too. Then of course there's always fast short intervals.

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A friend of mine wanted to hire a personal coach. She told me that she wanted the coach to be a guy and a hot one too! So, she found one and made a relationship with him, plus her progress in training is remarkable now!

 

LOL, this gives me deja vu. Anyway, yeah, I'm not really looking for a hot coach. But that's certainly one way to go about it.

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Speed can come with turnover drills for running the same pace but shortening your stride...this means lots of fast short strides. Also lifting can help quite a bit too. Then of course there's always fast short intervals.

 

I sort of know what i need to do, and have been half-assedly doing it, I just don't really know how to put it into my routine, how much to do, how often, etc.

 

By lifting, I assume you mean weights?

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Yup...lifting weights can really help someone of your build quite a bit. Running drills and plyos will probably help you a lot too. It'll give you faster feet, better technique and you'll be lighter on your feet which will lessen the impact of the road and indirectly increase endurance.

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Yup...lifting weights can really help someone of your build quite a bit. Running drills and plyos will probably help you a lot too. It'll give you faster feet, better technique and you'll be lighter on your feet which will lessen the impact of the road and indirectly increase endurance.

 

I have decided I'm going to go out to this group that meets every week called "Hammertime." It's led by a guy who is one of the coaches I am considering, and he's one of the top runners in the city. Here's the description:

 

We meet every Tuesday evening (6 PM).From there, we will run/warm up as a group on the way to the workout site (which changes often), stretch a wee bit (emphasis on wee bit--it's cold out there some times!) then get into the fun stuff. Workouts tend to include longer intervals (1-2k), hills, or both.

 

All abilities are welcome as we often use areas where everyone can stay together, or is at least seen on a regular basis. That said, total volume is generally between 8-12k and if you don't feel up to that kind of distance, modified versions of the workouts are easy to set up.

 

I figure at that I'll

 

a) get a workout in

b) meet the coach and get a feel for him

c) meet some other people

d) learn something

 

And once winter comes I'm going to do a lot more weight stuff too. I've got a bit of a home gym, and also my work has a gym. I have a training plan I'm going to modify a bit (as it almost killed me a couple of times when I did it )

 

Once I've got to hammertime once or twice I think I'll have a better idea of what I should do.

 

What are plyos?

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Plyometrics are explosive movements that shock the muscles quickly. Bounds, specific types of skips, repetative rhythmic jumping all fall under this with many variations. This is a part of pretty much every college track athletes training. They warm up then stretch, then do plyos with different variations depending on their event...then they split up and train for specific events.

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I think my main problem, aside from simply not knowing what to do, how often etc. is that I am a little afraid with winter coming and the fact that running sometimes triggers the return of bad feelings that I might just quit. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is that I've spent so much money on nice gear. I love doing it, but I'm also prone to periods of withdrawal (from people, life, activities) and I suffered from SAD last fall. I did have someone who helped me get this far, but I don't anymore and so I feel a little aimless and down. I don't want to spend a bunch of money on a coach unless it's the right thing to do, obviously, but I guess the idea makes me feel a little less like I'm completely alone in this.

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Sorry for the feelings your going through. I can definitely relate to feelings of isolation.

 

About hiring a coach... I think it is a really great idea. I think that you shouldn't be looking at someone's "run times" or anything like that because this last post that you made reveals that what you want more than anything is someone to keep you on track, period. And that is what a coach can do for you simply by being accountable to someone other than yourself.

 

So, I would say to DEFINITELY get a coach but start looking for someone who has a reputation for pushing people hard and being reliable and not letting you quit. When interviewing coaches, tell them your concerns. You feel you might quit, your looking for someone to keep you on track and motivate you. Let them know that you need that from them. You know yourself better than anyone. Let your coach know exactly what your looking for from them.

 

I am stubborn and know alot about training myself and diet, but hiring a trainer to help me reach my goals was the best thing ever. I second guess myself alot with things so this HELPS that tendency. I simply eat what he tells me to eat and train the way he tell me to train.

 

One more thing. You were talking about joining a running group. I say do BOTH. Hire a coach to get you faster, join that running group. For that matter, join a Vegan meetup or something in your area. Go through the motions of doing things to avoid having you slip back into a dark place. Believe me when I tell you I can relate to what your going through. You have to FORCE yourself to be around people even when you don't feel like it. Act "as if" until you feel better..... Good luck Pamela.

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I'm sure you'll be fine over the winter. Sure intensity is normally down for winter training to build a base but this time around you have the motivation of having a great season without having a great base to begin with. Keep in mind that building this base will make your gains even greater than they were last season. Also this base period will allow you to work harder once you need to do your intervals and thats extremely important.

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Thanks VP. (haha, veganpotter posted while I was writing this, so there are two VPs )

 

When I started out I wasn't going to be training alone... my SO started running too. But then he got injured a couple times and I am way ahead now. And then I had a friend I was going to train with, but that's over. I reached my milestone (the half marathon) and now it's like, "now what?"

 

I'm generally very self-motivated and good at pushing myself. Pretty much everything I've accomplished in my life I've done with very little help or support. I think I'll probably see if this feeling passes before I actually do anything like hire a coach. I tend to experience these feelings in cycles. I'm definitely going to join the running group though, and maybe look into paying for a running assessment from a coach to get me on the right track.

 

I'm actually the organizer of the local vegan meetups (potlucks mainly, I'm president of the local vegetarian association) so I do get out with other vegans a lot. We had one of our potlucks just this past weekend. I'm trying to keep forcing myself to do stuff, make plans, etc. but there's a gap in my life I'm having a bit of trouble filling no matter how busy I am. I guess it just takes time.

 

Me at the potluck!

 

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c78/pamelaswitzer/pamelaandcamille.jpg

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I'm sure you'll be fine over the winter. Sure intensity is normally down for winter training to build a base but this time around you have the motivation of having a great season without having a great base to begin with. Keep in mind that building this base will make your gains even greater than they were last season. Also this base period will allow you to work harder once you need to do your intervals and thats extremely important.

 

 

Any suggestions on what some realistic goals for me are (for the 2008 season)? My fastest 5k is 24:30 (in training), 10k is 52:30 (again, in training) and 21.1k is 1:53:00 (in a race). These were achieved after five months of running. My first 5k was 31 minutes, first 10k was an hour, and first 21.1k was 2 hours, 9 minutes.

 

I just want something to keep in my mind as a goal...

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Honestly I think you can expect to start the season in shape to run a 5K under 24 minutes, and work yourself down to 23 minutes. For the 10k I think its reasonable to think you can drop to 49 or even 48 minutes. And maybe even a 1:45 for the half. I also think its safe to say your marathon time for next year can be as fast as your half marathon time(this year) times two, this won't work year after year but for your first year I think its a safe bet and to be really conservative I'd guarantee a sub 4hr marathon for you by the end of next season so long as the course is similar and your feeling good on the day of the race so kudos you your future accomplishment. The 5K gains will be purely fitness and a bit if pacing. A lot of the gains you'll make in the longer distances will come purely from learning what your capable of and knowing when to speed up and when to now. There's a lot of time in there to increase your HR 5bpm which doesn't sound like much but that can be the game breaker for a good time if you do that too early on....especially in a race when you have the race jitters and aren't as sensitive to your body as you are while training.

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Pamela, living here in Québec I know what you mean about SAD. My doctor prescribed a sunlamp for me (About $300, but you can claim in on your insurance). Half an hour under this every day to read really helps.

 

As for Hammertime, that sound fabulous. I wonder if there's something similar around here. I know there's an outdoor gym nearby which sounds really cool. It's crucial that you get outdoors for at least half an hour everyday for your vitamin D so working out in the fresh air is great.

 

For the coach, I've yet felt the need to have one, but maybe one day someone will inspire me. Ciao

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I looked into the lamps last year (and unfortunately, my extended healthcare benefits DON'T cover it, even with a prescription ) and I may purchase one yet. I do have some full spectrum bulbs I can use, at the very least.

 

Last year I rarely got to see the sun for a couple months. The SAD was worst during the month of November and in early December. I'm hoping to work my training around when there's sunlight so I do some of my exercise at least during daylight hours.

 

Yeah I'm excited about Hammertime, although I'll have to make sure I don't overdo it because I have a race the weekend after. But I should have time to recover between Tuesday and the weekend, right?

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Honestly I think you can expect to start the season in shape to run a 5K under 24 minutes, and work yourself down to 23 minutes. For the 10k I think its reasonable to think you can drop to 49 or even 48 minutes. And maybe even a 1:45 for the half. I also think its safe to say your marathon time for next year can be as fast as your half marathon time(this year) times two, this won't work year after year but for your first year I think its a safe bet and to be really conservative I'd guarantee a sub 4hr marathon for you by the end of next season so long as the course is similar and your feeling good on the day of the race so kudos you your future accomplishment. The 5K gains will be purely fitness and a bit if pacing. A lot of the gains you'll make in the longer distances will come purely from learning what your capable of and knowing when to speed up and when to now. There's a lot of time in there to increase your HR 5bpm which doesn't sound like much but that can be the game breaker for a good time if you do that too early on....especially in a race when you have the race jitters and aren't as sensitive to your body as you are while training.

 

Thanks for giving me some targets... although I'm still not convinced I'm actually going to ever attempt a marathon! It just seems so.... far. LOL

 

I've actually never used a heart rate monitor (I'm kind of afraid of them) so I have no reference point there.

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