Why I decided to get a Running Coach
I’ve always been stubborn, thinking I can do and figure out anything by myself with my trusty friend Google as my guide. I’ve never really had any issues to date with reaching goals and seeing parts of improvement, however only the other week, I realised that I was destined for greater distances which scared me. Instead of fumbling around in Google with slow progress, I wanted to fast-track my understanding and preparation to reach my newly established goal: to compete in true Ultra Marathons further than 100K.
- To compete and complete the holy grail of Ultra Marathons: Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) (171 km +10,040 m) in Chamonix, France
- Run (one of) the most prestigious Ultra Marathons in my home away from home; Japan. Running the circumference of Mount Fuji 160+km and ~9,500m elevation.
- Compete in the heart of Australia in what looks like a different universe: The Western Mac’s 128 km Ellery Monster on the Larapinta Trail
My longest run until writing has only been 50kms which took a bit under 5 hours. Looking at these races where the fastest elites run it in ~20 hours, saying I was concerned (but maybe to a more extent, excited) was understatement. Like when I first looked up protein powder, I was hit with an overload of information that I didn’t want to digest. I went googling for running coaches with the main aim to be information gathering rather than a typical 12 week training program. I found a few podcasts by Mile27 and listening to their podcasts on a long drive, I knew these guys had the breadth of knowledge I wanted. How to best prepare yourself to run long and run hard.
Review of Running Coaching
At time of writing I’m on my 4th week with my coach and I will not continue forward. I have gained a lot of drive and passion for running and specifically understanding how different training plans impact performance.
As I mentioned, I went to a coach with the intention of learning and not to do simple weekly programs. I believe my expectations are actually that of hiring a running coach to become a running coach – not a runner. So probably my bad, but this has given me the drive to listen to most of the Science of Ultra podcasts (maybe 50 hours) and with what I have learned through doing these weekly session of which I’ve never really done before (intervals, hill effort repeats, recovery days, progression runs, etc) as opposed to just going out for a jog.
Another big piece of motivation I’ll take away from this is that running is hard, ultra marathons even moreso. If I’m able to learn all of this and self coach myself to successful ultra(s) then I’ll be even more proud of myself.
Running coaches can be a great tool especially for people wanting to get some variety in their game. You may be in for a rude shock if you want to be like me and learn so you can coach yourself, they are not too keen to share their coaching secrets! Many of the top endurance runners don’t have coaches (although they have had them historically and probably learnt what they needed from them to coach themselves @killianJornet).
Running is hard. You are ultimately the best coach. Listen to advice and the body and learn from others to improve. If you lack discipline, coaches are probably amazing for you. If you are self motivated to get out running and also to learn, then maybe you’re better off alone.