This past Sunday I ran the Vancouver USA Half Marathon, and completed goal #3 for 2014! Since I’m extra busy this year with school and work, I decided to hire a Running Coach to help me with my training plan and to help me work on the challenges I faced last year with cramping and stomach aches in the last 3 miles of the Half. The goal I identified with Coach Jennifer was to finish my Half Marathon feeling great. I wasn’t too focused on time, but I wanted to feel good and enjoy the post race party and not have to curl up in a ball and not talk (which is exactly what happened after crossing the finish line last year – just ask Matt).
Here are my top three for the Vancouver USA Half and my experience training with a Running Coach:
- I am THRILLED to report that not only did I have a smile on my face for the last three miles and I crossed the finish line feeling GREAT, but I knocked off 13 and 19 minutes from last year’s Half Marathon times! I finished in 2 hours 26 minutes, about 5 minutes shy of a PR from a race in fast / flat Chicago.
- It was awesome to have someone email me my training plan every 2 weeks and hold me accountable. I didn’t have to think about developing a training plan, I just focused on getting motivated to go out and run. I knew my coach would check in periodically to see how things were going, so I was very motivated to stick to the plan.
- With my Jennifer’s help, I learned I wasn’t eating enough the day before, the day of, and the day after my long runs. Since I gained some weight during my first Half, I was micro-managed my diet last year – evidently too much! By adding around 200 calories of protein and carbs a day around my long runs, I improved my energy levels during my long runs without requiring a snack during the run and increased my recovery time after a long run as well.
I would definitely recommend working with a coach to new runners or busy runners looking to accomplish a specific goal, but without a lot of extra time to do research and trial / error of different methods. I am on the fence about running another Half in the fall… I’m actually looking forward to a break from long training runs. It will be nice to run a few miles here and there and mix up things up with strength training and more yoga. But if I do decide another Half is in the works this year, I will work with Coach Jennifer again. I am signed up for a 10K each month thru October, so I suppose I can’t slack too much…. 🙂
Question for you: Would you ever want to work with a Coach?