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.
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.