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Coach or no coach? (Read 660 times)

MonkeyBunny


    So I'm thinking about finding a running coach to help me achieve my goal of BQ'ing.  As you can see from my cons, I have some "hang ups" but the beauty of this forum is that people will point out the inconsistencies of my thought process.

     

    Pros:

    • I'm coachable - I was a competitive swimmer and used a running coach when I first started running.
    • Keeps me accountable.
    • Getting my BQ will be a multistep process.  For some people it's as easy as completing a Pfitz 18/55.  For me, we have to plan out some steps to get there.
    • Ability to tailor a plan for my weight loss goals, work/travel schedule, and propensity for injuries (although I've stayed injury free on my current marathon cycle).

    Cons:

    • Many coaches are former elite athletes and coach based on what works for them but can't tailor to the individual athlete.
    • Many coaches use a single plan for all their athletes.
    • I prefer RRCA certification but passing a class does not make a good coach.
    • Many of the coaches where I live (Tampa FL) are actually triathletes and not sure how much they know about running.

    So I have some options and to make this interesting I created a poll:

    1. I know of a local coach who is a triathlete.  She prescribes high mileage/high intensity but I could run with her group which would be a big plus.
    2. I have two options for virtual coaches, both in North Carolina.
    3. I have a marathon plan from Running Wizard.  I'm a little freaked out about the slow paces and that my max run is only 2.45 hours but Coach Nobby seems really responsive via email and I like how it ties in with the Running Ahead calendar.
    4. Get a life - no explanation needed

    Houston Marathon 1-13-13

    Rock n Roll St. Pete Half 2-10-13

    Gasparilla 15K 2-23-13

    Armadillo 10K 3-9-13

    Ogden Marathon 5-18-13

    Steamtown?

    Baystate?

    The Goal:  Boston Marathon 4-20-15

      I voted get a local coach.

       

      No matter how responsive a "virtual" coach may seem up front, they don't always stay that way once you have paid for the program...

      And you can quote me as saying I was mis-quoted. Groucho Marx

       

      Rob

        I voted get a local coach.

         

        No matter how responsive a "virtual" coach may seem up front, they don't always stay that way once you have paid for the program...

         

        This depends a lot on who the "virtual" coach is.  I had a great experience with my e-mail, text message, occasional phone call "virtual" coach last, I meant => this fall.  He was extremely responsive and engaged with my from start to finish of the training cycle.  So I think this is painting with too broad a brush, although it is indeed a good caution.

        - Joe

        all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

           

          This depends a lot on who the "virtual" coach is.  I had a great experience with my e-mail, text message, occasional phone call "virtual" coach last fall.  He was extremely responsive and engaged with my from start to finish of the training cycle.  So I think this is painting with too broad a brush, although it is indeed a good caution.

           

          Well maybe the coach just didn't like me?!  Wink

           

          He was very responsive up front, but once we got into the training cycle disappeared except to apologize and promise to be more responsive once A, B and C calmed down in his life.

          And you can quote me as saying I was mis-quoted. Groucho Marx

           

          Rob


          Muddling through

            Your first two cons are why I would shy away from a virtual coach. Keep in mind any coach will have a specific approach he follows and is not likely to deviate too far from that even when personaliziing a plan for you. If you don't buy into that approach there's going to be conflicts and misunderstandings. If you're concerned about a coach being a (former) elite athlete and not willing to adapt to what works for you, be sure to ask for references from others he has coached that are at your level.

             

            What are your expectations and needs? Are all you looking for are workouts and a schedule or do you want some hands-on guidance, encouragement, and "coaching"?

            2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

              hermosaboy:

              Ooohh.  Yes, that would have soured me on it too, probably.

              - Joe

              all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

                I just got a local coach for 2013 (and thus voted for local coach)...it helps a lot to have daily or weekly feedback on your training and get your next week's workouts planned and adjusted based on the last week of training. We'll see in May how much it actually helps the racing.

                 

                Cheers.

                NHLA


                  Get a local coach. Learn everything they know then get a better coach.

                  I ask the president of a large company why he fired so many plant managers. He said after three years I have learned everything he knows so I get a new one. Cold but very effective.

                    I think the best scenario is to find a group to train with, even if if it is only 1 or 2 days a week and the rest is on your own. Ideally find a running club with a lot of people with similar goals to yours. Most clubs have a coach or at least offer some level of customized coaching service.

                     

                    So I voted get a local coach but I think you can have success with any of the choices.

                    Runners run.

                       

                      This depends a lot on who the "virtual" coach is.  I had a great experience with my e-mail, text message, occasional phone call "virtual" coach last, I meant => this fall.  He was extremely responsive and engaged with my from start to finish of the training cycle.  So I think this is painting with too broad a brush, although it is indeed a good caution.

                       

                      Amen.

                       

                      MonkeyBunny, we had a good discussion here on coaches, if you're interested.

                      "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                        I think the best scenario is to find a group to train with, even if if it is only 1 or 2 days a week and the rest is on your own. Ideally find a running club with a lot of people with similar goals to yours. Most clubs have a coach or at least offer some level of customized coaching service.

                         

                        So I voted get a local coach but I think you can have success with any of the choices.

                        Good advice.

                         

                        I've been fortunate to find a few guys to train with, at the instigation of my "virtual" coach.

                         

                        I didn't vote, just because I think it matters so much more who the coach is, rather than the mode of coaching.  

                        "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                          I think it matters so much more who the coach is, rather than the mode of coaching.  

                           

                          Jackpot.

                          Runners run.

                            I have a marathon plan from Running Wizard.  I'm a little freaked out about the slow paces and that my max run is only 2.45 hours but Coach Nobby seems really responsive via email and I like how it ties in with the Running Ahead calendar.

                             

                            There's nothing to be freaked out about.  Lydiard's approach has worked at many distances for many different levels of athletes for decades.  Fewer people in the world are as passionate as Nobby when it comes to sharing training knowledge. Only 2:45 for the longest long run is a point of frequent debate, but the whole point is keeping long runs long enough for stimulus but short enough to allow for quick recovery.

                             

                            Your goals are slightly disparate:  BQ + weight loss.  It should be, weight loss focused for X months, then BQ plan for 2-4 months.  Consistent running at a mostly easy pace with a not-too-long long run will definitely help drop weight and build endurance at the same time, and hopefully set you up perfectly to peak for your goal race. I'm in the same boat, I need to drop 30 lbs to get back to where I was a couple years ago, then I can think about peaking for a BQ and/or 24 hour ultra PR on the base that I have built along the way.

                             

                            One potential issue I see with training with triathletes is that most only run 3 days/week or less, and few are training to run 26.2.  I think the best shot at a BQ comes with 5-6 days/week of running.

                             

                            A good point of debate as well is, if you need in-person coaching to motivate you throughout the training, what happens on race day, where the mental challenge of the final 6-10 miles is enormous, while the coach can't be there to push you?  I haven't been coached for decades (relying instead upon books and the collective wisdom or lackthereof of the ultra list and RunningAhead) so I don't know the answer to that question.

                            2013 H1:  7 hours/week base.  Q3: Train for goal race.  Q4:  Goal Race.

                              I have to say that I've been using a virtual coach for about 18 months or so, and I have been very happy.  Not only with my improved performance but also with responsiveness from him and his ability to tailor a plan for me.  Granted he does have a style that he likes to follow, but he's been able to adjust for injuries, a chronic lung disease, and time/distance constraints.  In March, I ran an 11+ minute PR in the half marathon, and was on pace to break 4 hours in the marathon.  Unfortunately, the Flying Pig this year was about 82 degrees at 9 AM. My body has never done well in the heat, but I can say that even with the heat I ran the best 19 miles of my life.

                               

                              With that heat, he had great suggestions for handling the high temps.  He was also able to keep me focused on doing my best even though I knew I wouldn't reach my goal due to the weather.

                               

                              I would be more than happy to share his contact information with anyone here.  Feel free to PM me to get in touch with him.

                               

                                  Mark

                              FLrunnergirl


                                If you live in Tampa, check out runprogressive.com or the Progressive Training Team facebook page. Dror is a great coach and coaches the cross country team at UT. He will tailor each person's schedule and doesn't use just one plan. There are people of all levels in the group.

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