Sometimes You Just Need a Change…


So, if you follow me on IG, you probably have seen me mention a new coach. Switching coaches was not a decision that came lightly to me. Coach Hadley had been my coach for two years and I really blossomed under his tutorage. I PRd in every distance I raced – from the mile to the 5k to the half marathon to the marathon.

So it may seem backwards that I changed coaches. (Note: I first decided to take a break from coaching. But after 3-4 weeks, I realized how much I missed the guidance, and direction that a coach provides. And so I felt like it was the right time to switch.) There were several reasons why I felt like it was a road I needed to take.

First, I felt like training had become a bit monotonous. Coach Hadley has a specific training outlook and consequently, my training plan from cycle to cycle was pretty identical. There were minor changes – more tempo miles, an extra mile for a long run. But the shell was the same. This resulted in several things. After two years of similar plans, I felt like I could predict the workouts, paces and plan, I felt like I was always comparing myself to a previous workour or cycle and most importantly, it was no longer fun and exciting.

Second, I wanted to cut back a bit on mileage. Well, I didn’t want to…but I knew I was burned out in the train up for Boston. Overtrained. I think had I not been working full time or even commuting all the time, I would have been okay. But I was running myself ragged. All while running 60-70 mpw. Something had to give. And so I knew mileage would have to be cut down a bit.

Third, Mary was a peer who I was friends with and looked up to. I mentioned her during my Boston recap from 2015. She works hard. Trains smart. And is just so much fun to follow. Her workouts looked crazy hard – but fun! She always seemed to be changing things up and seemed to be having a great time in the process of running her fastest times.

In the end, I wanted a change.

I wanted to have fun. Running is not my job. I’m not a professional. If I’m not having fun and getting pumped up for new, exciting workouts, what’s the point? As I’ve always said, I get an indescribable amount of joy from the training. The race is the exclamation point.

And so I felt like Mary was the perfect person to lead me.

Before I go any further, I also want to mention that I am paying full price to Mary. I don’t receive a discount. I am sharing this all because I believe in Mary as a runner, coach and friend. She’s not coaching me for free in lieu of me sharing her name and coaching info.

The last 2 months have been the most challenging, exhilarating and fun running months of my life. Every week is something different. From 2 minute repeats at a 5:40 pace. To seeing a “4:xx” pace for a repeat. To my fastest mile repeats – ever. To long runs with a tempo, tempo intervals and 1:00 “on” periods – all packed in to 22 miles. I’ve just had so much freaking fun. Truly. The workouts scare me. But they excite me too. And what do I have to lose? I’ve never done these before so it’s all new and fun and exciting.

Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

I feel ready for the NYC Marathon.

Strong, fast, confident. And most of all, I feel rested and eager. I am not entering taper exhausted and ready to collapse. If I had to train another few weeks, I would be up for it. And I think that will bode well on race day for me.

I will end by saying that I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone to have coaches. I had self-coached for years – and had great success doing so. But I reached a point where I plateaued. And after some inward reflection, realized that the issue was. It that I needed to push harder – but that I was pushing too hard too often. I needed a coach to pull me back. My issue is not with motivation or determination. I’m the opposite extreme. I’m too thick-headed sometimes and really need the brakes put on myself on a regular basis.

if you are just starting out or are interested in trying to train for a certain time, I would advise against running to a coach. Try coaching yourself first. There are plenty of free training plans, articles with amazing workouts and friends/resources available to warrant saving a lot of money. Just my two cents.

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    5 thoughts on “Sometimes You Just Need a Change…

    1. I am beyond excited for you!!! This was such a great and inspiring post! I really think that if you can afford it having a coach is a great thing. It is either really hard to be impartial with yourself (in other words you are too hard on yourself) or really easy to not push yourself hard enough. Even if you know how to train, a coach can be such a huge help. Right now we are not in a position where that is possible for me, but if it were I would definitely be using one! Congrats on such a super amazing race! Following your training is a huge motivator for me, and I know it is for so many others also!
      Jen recently posted..The Marathon from a Spectators Perspective!!!My Profile

    2. Great post! I’m looking into getting a coach for the first time in 2017. I love reading how other people respond to being coached. Best of luck with your new one!

    3. I couldn’t agree more about having a coach! I’ve had mine for over three years now and we work so well together. I need someone to guide me, especially as I’m still fairly new to triathlon, and I like having someone else to share the highs and lows with you really GETS IT!

      I’m sure you and Mary will do amazing things together!! So excited to see how you run NYC!
      Allie recently posted..Stretches for Every Runner – #WednesdayRoundUpMy Profile

    4. I love your last paragraph! It seems like the “cook” thing to do these days is have a coach, when really you can look up everything you need to know online. I totally understand where you’re coming from and why you have a coach, and I think it’s great that you spend a lot of time coaching yourself and getting to know yourself before going that route. But it is so refreshing that someone in the blogging world is actually advising to try it yourself for a while and save some money! So thank you!!

    5. Wondered about the coaching change, thanks for being so honest. Coach Hadley’s Twitter is inspiring and I still read it for motivation. Mary seems like a rock star too.
      As for free Internet coaching, I’ve tried MyAsics, Higdon, and am now trying Mbition with a free 30-day trial (I like it so far, hope their time estimate is correct in the end). Oh, and the Seawheeze training plan (their weight training plan helped much and the yoga video was nice).
      Long runs after long days are tough, and it feels like I’m abandoning friends and family when I leave on early morning weekend runs that last for hours instead of lounging around having coffee or brunch with them. Nothing’s constant, need to adapt and do what you can!