Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Gift of Being Coached

I have been meaning to write about this subject for awhile now. It has been on my heart for so long. I think that anyone that has been coached or is being coached can understand the value of this gift.

It has been a year since I contacted my coach, Jeff. I was at the point in my running when things were not clicking for me and I was under performing in my races. I was beyond frustrated and disappointed. I had actually considered the idea of getting a coach for the previous 3 months before I spoke with Jeff. I had spoke with 2 other local coaches and I just didn't feel like either would fit with me. I remember my first conservation with Jeff, he was very confident in getting me back on track. It wasn't only Jeff's confidence that compelled me to hand over my running ambitions to his care. It was his kindness and this feeling that I got from speaking with him that everything was going to be okay. It was a huge step for me emotionally to hand over the reigns of control to some else as I had been self-coached for 3 years. To trust some else to guide me to my dreams was a BIG leap of faith.

Immediately after starting with Jeff, I sensed something different about myself and my training. I started to really enjoy training like never before. It was so new and exciting. His paces that he was having me hit were so much more aggressive than I ever believed were possible and he had me doing more "workouts" in a week than I had ever done before on my own. Within weeks, I was feeling very strong. The training at first was not translating to faster race times just yet. In retrospect, I can tell that it was me limiting myself at this time. I was not fully trusting Jeff just yet. Additionally I still had lots of doubts and fears that I needed to conquer before my training would translate into improvements in races. It is really amazing how patient Jeff was with me in the early months of working together. I really was scattered. It really took me about 6 months of working with Jeff to 100% trust him and let him fully take over. Yes even though I knew logically how educated & experienced he was, I did doubted him at times. I had too much of my own experience and education I needed to let go before I could 100% let Jeff guide the entire training process. I remember about a month after working with Jeff, I had this grand idea that I was going to race a marathon. I had just run one 4 weeks before which did not go well due to tummy problems and I wanted to use this fitness for another effort. I was sure I had the fitness to do so and was gung-ho to go after it. I spoke with Jeff about it and he was adamantly against the idea. Straight up - NO WAY and no discussions!!! I remember having this feeling that "he didn't really know me and I could make it work". OMG - how embarrassing 1 year later to think I about how I was going to show him. Yikes! So glad in the ended I trusted him and let go of my own ego in the process.

My first marathon effort while being coached by Jeff did not go so well. Another mediocre race and tummy troubles were still plaguing me. I had worked so hard to train for this marathon and felt like I had disappointed my family, my coach and most of all myself. I remembering crying most of the day after the marathon. It was mostly that I just felt lost. After the emotions faded, I begin to see where I went wrong. I hadn't trusted Jeff to the degree I needed to and went into the marathon doubting everything. I remember just a week before the race I was pounding out my last 10 mile run before the marathon, when I came across an experienced runner on the trail. She was like "why are you running this much the week before your marathon?". I told her it was what my coached had scheduled and she was floored and said something like ugh - I hope you don't go into that marathon exhausted. Due to me not 100% trusting Jeff, I let this doubt and fear in and her opinion influence how I felt about my training.

I can now laugh at that cause after working with Jeff for a year I can not believe I have ever doubted him.

After this marathon, I knew I needed something to change. It was not the physical stuff I needed to change at all as with the exception of a couple workouts I have always been able to perform the physical work. I needed to change my beliefs about myself and trust Jeff. I can honestly say this relationship of athlete/coach when I finally let go of the control has been amazing. I no longer analyze schedules and wonder why this, why that, why this pace and not this pace or this workout. I am sure this frustrated Jeff to no end but he never let on. He patiently answered every question and objection that came his way.

Now I do the work, trust Jeff and have complete confidence that I will get to where I need to be when I need to be there!!! WOW!! I have grown so much as a runner & person in the past year and do not think it would have been possible without Jeff's patience, guidance and kindness.

And to think all I dreamed of was a 3:45 BQ time when I first started this journey. I have gotton that and so much more than I first imagined was possible.

Being Coached is such a gift!!!

And 2 for 1 Blog Post - Week in Review

Monday - 8 Easy & Strides
Tuesday - 3 W/U, 3 Miles @ 7:40 average, 8X 2:00 Minutes (6:55,6:26, 6:45, 6:38, 6:38, 6:45, 6:50, 6:36) 2 C/D Total 10 miles
Wednesday - 4 Recovery
Thursday - 8 Easy & Strides
Friday - 3 W/U, 6 Mile Tempo @ 7:35 average, 2 C/D
Saturday - 8 Easy
Sunday - 16 Easy
Total - 65 Miles

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