There are a lot of running coaches out there – good ones and bad ones – but ultimately the two most important things are:
(1) Does this person know their stuff? and (2) Will this person be a good fit for *me*?
There is no one coach out there who will be a perfect fit for everyone. If you’re considering hiring a coach, I encourage you to ask a lot of questions about them, their philosophy, and their education – and to be clear and communicative in what you’re looking for. If they can’t serve you as well as you deserve, a good coach will be upfront and honest about that! They may even be able to refer you to another coach they think will be a better match.
Here is what I believe in as a coach, and my training philosophy. If this resonates with you – I currently have a few spots left in my roster before I reach capacity! You can shoot me an e-mail here for more info, or to get started. And if I’m not a good fit for you, I highly recommend each of my colleagues at Lift Run Perform – all of whom have wonderful and highly diverse coaching styles of their own!
My coaching and training philosophy
1. No one-size-fits-all approach. I have certain go-to, staple workouts that almost all of my athletes will do at some point or another in working with me. However, I never program any two athletes the say way. I have many athletes around a similar speed and experience level, and their training all looks wildly different. Things I take into consideration when programming:
- The athlete’s goals
- Their “training age” (how many years they’ve been running – this determines their existing aerobic base, their potential work capacity, and what they may or may not need to do to continue to improve)
- Their real age (this affects their ability to recover, and *may* affect how much work they’re able to handle)
- Their training history
- Their injury history
- Their lifestyle
- What they like! (More on this down below.)
2. All of my athletes touch all of the training paces year-round – I don’t care if you’re a marathoner who thinks they don’t need any speedwork, or a 5K specialist who doesn’t think they need steady-paced long runs. We work on developing all of the different energy systems, and we just ebb and flow in how much attention and priority we give to certain systems over others. Why? It’s really hard to build a component of training (i.e., speed or endurance), but it’s really easy to maintain. You lose what you don’t train.
3. I take a strategic, periodized approach to the year – You can’t do everything in one year. I work with my athletes to set just a handful of big, key goals, vs. trying to do allll the things. This gives the year structure and focus, and helps us break the year down into logical training blocks or ‘microcycles’. It also helps us decide when to go hard, and when to take lighter periods of training, or time off. In between training blocks, I have all my runners take a full 7-14 days off. That means no running – no matter how good you’re feeling! Some of my runners resist this at first, but it ultimately keeps everyone mentally and physically healthy and fresh. You can’t go hard year-round – but you also shouldn’t squander the year away by training aimlessly or without intention!
4. Long, slow running is always our ‘home base’ – A common myth about hiring a running coach is the fear they will make you go ‘hard’ all the time. That’s not true, and the athletes who work with me know I’m much more likely to yell at them to slow down, vs. to speed up! Easy, conversational-paced running is our ‘home base’ and makes up roughly 80% of a well-designed training program. One of the first things I work with my people to assess is whether their easy days are truly easy enough.
5. I train you based on the life you have, not the life they want – Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had endless time to train, always got 8-9 hours of sleep at night, and could take naps during the day to recover when we needed to? This isn’t the reality for most of my athletes, and so I don’t train them like they’re professional runners living that lifestyle! Many of my athletes have demanding jobs, busy travel schedules, and/or multiple kids at home. Life stress is as much a stress on the body as training stress, and that’s something I factor in when adjusting training plans. I also constantly remind my athletes that ‘done is better than perfect’ and that ‘B+’ training is just as effective, and more sustainable, than trying to hit ‘A+’ training.
6. I want you to *mostly* enjoy your training – Look, running isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Some runs are going to stink. Some workouts are not going to be your favorite. But if you’re not enjoying the process about 90% of the time, you’re probably not training in the best way for *you*. Enjoyment is a highly underrated – but important – part of a training program!
7. Most runners will get a lot faster just by becoming better athletes – It’s an unfortunate stereotype that most runners are really tight and inflexible, as well as really weak. The idea that runners only need to run more in order to get better does the majority of people a huge disservice. You may be able to get away with this for a while, but sooner or later you need to spend time addressing your mobility, getting stronger, and becoming a more well-rounded athlete. It’s no secret that I’m a huge advocate of strength training. This was a huge reason I joined the team at Lift Run Perform, and you can read more about our strength training offerings here. I never push strength training on anyone – but if you do have an interest, it’s something I’m experienced in and can help guide your training around.
8. TLC – Lastly, I always strive to give my runners lots of TLC and let them know I really care about them as people outside of running. Building relationships with my athletes is far and away my favorite part of what I do, and many of my athletes go on to feel like family.