My thoughts and experiences on coaches and  coaching  in Running 

Well, most of you know that I am a  UKA running coach I’m continually  reading, learning and developing (all of which when you’re a coach is a constant process) I will be going on yet another course soon as I feel it’s the only way I can get the best out of others by getting the best out of myself.

Me and my coaches

My first real, like real human (not Nike Band) coach is quite an impressive Athlete with a string of wins and 3 world championship titles.  I met him in Oct 2011 and had not a clue about what he had achieved, he was just the coach at the running club I’d decided to go along to.  He was the bloke who gathered us all together at the start of the session told us what we were going to do and then encouraged us to do it ‘SIMPLE’- well no not really.  He wasn’t just giving the orders he was encouraging us, supporting us, watching us, analysing us and thinking about us all as individuals. It was by doing this over a few weeks that meant that he asked me if I’d like  a plan for my marathon.  I like to think that in me he could see what could be achieved.  Den coached me for 2 years to a marathon PB of 3:19:30.  He said run this many miles a week, get this time, try this and I did and it worked.  I was impressed!! What it taught me was structure in your training works! and that putting your trust in someone who knows they’re stuff works too.  I think (I may be wrong) that during our coach athlete relationship Den may have learnt that a 35 year old working woman with 2 year old twins is somewhat different to coach than a younger person with all the time in the world and no commitments.  Den does not write my schedules for me now but still remains my club coach and is someone I take knowledge to coach and run from still and always will!! 

Others who are my club coaches  – not named as coaches but they have passed knowledge, feedback and experience on to me.  That knowledge,  I now use and develope and to coach.  These people are, a great record breaking  multi (we’re talking hundreds) marathon runner, a super guy who is a runner of many distances, cyclist, and triathlete, he has been a footy coach and is known as an inspiration to all (currently fighting his own battle at the moment which I’m sure he will win) Then there are all of  those runners with different experiences of running, coaching and life that I meet regularly and that I am friends with.  They all give me something different. THANK U all of you.

Celebrity Coach Alert!! Yes yes I had a celerity coach, a great woman who also just happens to be an Olympian and commonwealth medal winner!!  Liz coached me via t’internrt and over the phone (we did meet when I blagged a place on to her friends and family team at a 24 hour 10k event TR24) she wrote me a plan, it was tough (speedy, but now I know I can do it if I try) and we were in touch regularly in the week and every week on the phone.  Liz taught me that even Olympian coaches don’t have all the answers, just because they’re awesome, they help you to find your answers, how far  your boundaries can be pushed and are learning from you too.

Right now with my own running I’ve gone the route that many athletes do – I am coached by Doug who is my other half.  Doug has written my plan, he wrote my PB (the super sub 3:15) marathon plan from last year too.  Why do I trust Doug? because he knows me almost like I know me (not quite)and has read plans, seen my plans and has a bloody good idea of what works for me.  Why don’t I coach myself? I don’t because I like to feedback to someone, be answerable.  I analyse myself as a runner in a similar way as I do as a coach and l think I’d be to nice to myself if I wrote my own plan.  I’m obviously a right royal pain to Doug as I have many questions and theories and like to have a lot of input in to my plan – but that’s a good thing in my opinion.  Coaching is a two way thing – you plan, you do, you review and think through, leave it, tweak it, change it whatever works best for you.

Now I am building up a great portfolio of athletes that I coach over different distances.  Each of them has individual goals, lives, abilities and personalities every plan is individual to them.  Yes there are key principles of training that I will use and some bits of advice that are relevant to them all, however everyone of them is different and will apply the principles and advice in their own way and I learn from all of them which makes me a better coach.

A question I’ve heard, why do I need a coach when I can coach myself? 

My answer is this.  You may not have all the knowledge or maybe you have, but you won’t have all the answers.  A coach won’t have all the answers,  what they will most likely have are connections with coaches who know coaches who know coaches who all know runners who somewhere through trial, error, feedback and analasys have found your answer or know what we can work on to find your answers.  

Through structure and support a coach can in my opinion most definitely bring the best out of you!!

One thought on “My thoughts and experiences on coaches and  coaching  in Running 

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  1. To put the record straight, I only have 2 world titles not 3 but still have ambitions for a third in the age categories if my body will hold up! Thanks for the upgrade though!
    Also I would like to further add to your comments about why it is good for a runner who coaches to also be coached themselves. The reason for this is that the runner will look at their own training subjectively and the coach will look at the runner’s training objectively. i.e. This will remove the emotional aspect from the runner who might not do enough training for fears of illness, niggles or recovery and / or train too much because they have anxieties about not achieving their ambitions and feel guilty at resting when it is required.

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