So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Swiss Army Coach

“The truth is that running hurts. No one gets faster without meeting their personal pain barrier straight on. No amount of junk miles, fun runs or affirmations are going to get you over the hill at the five-mile mark in a 10k. However, what will pull you through is solid prep...”- ManciataNot everyone who calls me Coach sees me at the track two-to-three times a week. There are some runners who believe enough in my approach to training, my research and my work ethic to consult with me on a near-daily, weekly or monthly basis. It is in those relationships I probably receive the greatest level of reward; they are the ones who most consistently laud my role to friends, fellow competitors and colleagues. They are the ones who make me a more cautious training planner.
What makes the distance coaching relationship such a challenge? Communication. While I can scribble up a six-month half-marathon training plan for a friend in Canada I also have to take into account their life barriers; the obvious limitation of family, sleep, work, & realistic (performance, training) expectations. Not everyone is going to rearrange their life schedule to meet a training plan. Then, I have to teach them the language of my training, which my local 2-3x/week athletes learn in the first months.
Others don't necessarily need or want a plan drafted out for them, but desire a sounding board, a sniff test, if you like, of what they're going to do or how they're going to do it. Once again, we're talking about busy persons who have little time to spend dealing with the trial and error side of training. Since I have more time than most to surf the internet, read articles, research & occasionally try out stuff...yep, sometimes I'm little more than an athletic crash test opinions occasionally count for a little more than the average bear.

The other sounding board aspect is the facet I most enjoy; working with the mental state of otherwise gifted, decent, humble athletes. I love nothing more than to be the guy out on the Sunday morning long run, dissecting, re-wiring & re-attaching the mind of people who need no major training revelations...but just a little bit of 'hey, remember you've done this, this & this...' perspective. I think my wife would call me the memory tank...because I can refer back to some race performance or some past conversation or injury episode & explain the possible outcomes or the root causes.
So, not every athlete needs the same thing from their coach...much like not every coach will have the same kind of athlete.

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