For the last couple of years I contemplated getting a running coach and finally this year I did.
I’ve been disappointed with the decline in my race performances, and clearly something had to change. Many moons ago I ran my marathon PR, 3:54:34, and I’ve slowed down ever since. My training would be ok (never great) until the long runs got long and then my efforts would decline. Somehow I just couldn’t snap out of my rut. Something had to change. I was tired of making excuses and feeling “less than” in my race performances. I was done.
Adam suggested I reach out to Neely Spence Gracey and Get Running Coaching. (The photo above is from when Adam ran the New York City Marathon in 2016 and I happened to capture Neely as she zoomed by). She’s clearly an accomplished runner, and I think Adam thought our personalities would match well.
After an initial phone meeting to discuss my running history and goals, Neely created an awesome training plan. She would post on our training app a couple weeks in advance. This was helpful to keep me focused in the moment rather than being overwhelmed by the entire, daunting training plan. This seems so simple, but I found that there were so many pluses to hiring a coach versus just trying to go it alone.
Benefits of hiring a coach:
- Very specific pace goals per workout
- More challenging workouts than I ever would have scheduled for myself
- Someone who can adjust the plan for you if you’re not feeling well, have an injury, etc.
- Assigned cross training (I’ve never done enough cross training)
- Assigned to run races in preparation for the goal race (never would have done that before)
While I did not PR in the Chicago Marathon this year, I was 25 minutes faster than last year. I didn’t toe the line and have a moment of dread that I might not survive the race because I hadn’t sufficiently trained. I’m taking the rest of the year off from working with Neely (well, after the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon that I’m just running for fun this year) to focus on nutrition and strength training, and I look forward to 2020 when we’ll work together again to conquer my marathon goals. If you’re thinking about hiring a coach, do it!