Since the summer of 2009, I've had a running coach. It's been great for me, because all I have to do is look at my email. Voila. There's my workout. Plus, having an objective person calling the shots is always a good idea. They're more removed from the process than you are, therefore, they can make more pragmatic, logical decisions. I always felt better "taking time off" in the interest of my health when it was coach's idea instead of my own.
I've had two coaches with slightly differing plans and philosophies and I believe I'm truly richer and better prepared for having worked with both of them.
In the midst of my recovery from Boston, I pondered my next adventure, which is the 2011 Chicago Marathon. How will I prepare? Will I use the tried and true methods of Bachelor #1 or Bachelor #2? Or will I go trolling for a new guru?
The answer is none of the above.
Instead, I will coach myself. I mean, after all, I'm a RRCA Certified Running Coach, as well as an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. It's not like I'm unqualified or anything.
Now, I know what you're thinking: those who can DO; those who can't COACH. It's a humorous quote, albeit not 100% true. I know lots of coaches who still compete and put up pretty respectable race results. It's possible to be an athlete AND a teacher at the same time.
I was having dinner with my friend, Leigh, last night and shared some of this with her. She agreed with me that it's hardest to coach yourself, probably for the reasons I outlined above. But, how better to make my bones as a running coach than to take on the toughest client first, right? I mean, if I can handle working with myself, then the sky's the limit with other people. I have always had an easy time guiding others, monitoring their progress and adjusting their program if and when it was necessary. I would pay attention to their performance and could tell if they needed more or less.
Now all I need to do is apply that to me. In the words of Patti & Warren Finke, co-authors of "Marathoning Start to Finish", workout schedules are guidelines not requirements. Your body is different every single day. Life stress is total, which means you can't isolate your training threshold from the rest of your life. Some days you are strong and powerful with seemingly limitless energy. Other days, it's all you can do to just reach for the remote control.
Pencils have erasers for a reason, you know.
So it's settled. I'm going to hire myself.
And, when I PR in Chicago on October 9th, you can hire me too.