Working With a Coach: 6 Week Check-In

Coach Update

As you all know (unless you’re a new reader, in which case, HI!!), I’m working with Coach Suz to train for my first marathon. I went into the reasons why in this post. I thought it might be good to reflect on this process regularly so that you all can see the value of hiring a coach, and the right coach for you.

As of right now, I am over-the-moon happy with my coaching experience. Susie has been incredibly accessible and totally on the ball. I email her at least once a week with a question or looking for some advice, and I always receive an answer within an hour. Most of the time it’s something that’s really no big deal, like, “Can I skip spin class tomorrow and do yoga instead?” If I were on my own, I’d probably just skip the spin class regardless, but having a coach to bounce things off of really makes me consider my motivations, like “Am I really too tired to go to class, or am I just being lazy?” “Will I actually do yoga instead, or will I just succumb to the siren song of my couch?” It’s incredibly helpful for me to have an objective opinion to help shape my workouts.

Having a coach is also really helpful when facing actual dilemmas, like “Do I still attempt my long run outdoors when the high temp for the day is 3 degrees, and the windchill is predicted to be at -25? How do I dress? What happens if I can’t finish?” Instead of worrying and questioning myself and my motives (Is it really dangerous to run when it’s that cold or am I just being lazy?), I can have someone talk me through options. It’s also EXTREMELY motivating to have to report my workouts. This way, I have accountability, and am much less likely to skip a run just because I don’t feel like it.

I’m six weeks in, and on track to have my highest-ever month for running mileage. I might be worried about injury or burnout if I were on my own, but I have complete trust in The Plan, and my coach. It just takes so much anxiety and guesswork out of the whole equation. It’s easy to question or ignore a training plan when it’s just a cookie cutter plan that hundreds or thousands of others use. But mine is uniquely tailored to ME; my paces, my goals, and my schedule.

So there you have it, a little progress report, as it were. I will probably come back to this a few more times over the course of my training, and will definitely do a recap after the marathon so that those of you who are curious about the pros, cons, and overall value of hiring a coach can get the inside scoop.

Have you ever hired a coach for a big goal race? Would you consider it for the future?

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26 thoughts on “Working With a Coach: 6 Week Check-In

  1. SuzLyfe says:

    I am so happy that you are so happy. This seriously makes my life. You are kicking ass and taking names, and you are such a great client. I LOVE MY CLIENTS. xoxoxo

    • DarlinRae says:

      And your clients love you, lady! I can’t tell you what a relief it is not to have to worry about training. I just follow The Plan and trust The Suz, and it works 😀

  2. prairieprincessrunners says:

    The only coach I have is my dear old dad – he ran for a long time and is a great resource. There is part of me, however, that would love to have a coach for one training season and to see the impact that they could have.

    • DarlinRae says:

      Coach Dad is a great resource, but I know personally I’d have a hard time taking tips or coaching from someone I’m that close to. Anytime Ben tries to correct my form or something I bite his head off!

      • prairieprincessrunners says:

        Coach dad says I have decent form (had a physio do some fixes about 6 years ago). He’s a matter of fact, no sugar coating, no nonsense type of coach. When asked what I should do to get faster his response was “um…run faster, obviously.” hah! And what is even funnier is that a lot of his advice was against the grain for a long time (like you don’t need to constantly hydrate or eat a ton before or during a race) and now the research is showing that he is right.

  3. veryrach says:

    I never had a running coach, but I did have a soccer coach who LOVED to run. And he loved to make the team run. Sometimes I still hear the motivational things he would yell out during the runs in my head when I’m on a run by myself. I never knew he had THAT MUCH of an impact on me, but looking back, I am SO thankful!

  4. txa1265 says:

    Knowing you and Suz, I was really confident that things would go this well – and knowing that they have is just awesome 🙂

    As for me and a coach … I don’t know. Because although I am really easy going and agreeable and love to run, I am also incredibly disciplined and have immense willpower … and the notion of having scheduled rest days … well, I’m not so good at that stuff. 🙂

    • DarlinRae says:

      And if I had your discipline and willpower, I probably wouldn’t need a coach either! But it’s working out so well I kind of wish I’d hired a coach for my first half. What a load off!

      • txa1265 says:

        I think being where you are at with running and life, getting a coach is absolutely perfect! It is about more than just getting up and out – working with Suz will allow you to progress and see things in yourself that you never thought possible. Don’t see it EVER as a negative thing!

      • DarlinRae says:

        I don’t see it as a negative thing, more of a recognizing of my own shortcomings, and working to combat them. I know without a doubt that I wouldn’t be where I am now in training for this marathon without Susie.

  5. runsaltrun says:

    Thank you so much for updating us with your experience! I love me some Suz and it sounds like she is such a phenomenal coach. I have been considering hiring one of my own and maybe sooner than later. I didn’t even think of it from a standpoint of being able to ask questions like that. I LOVE that.

  6. allisonfiorini says:

    I am SO happy to hear that you are loving your experience with your coach! I hired a coach in August of 2014, and I worked with him for just under a year. I discontinued our relationship in June 2015, because I just wasn’t seeing improvement. He was a GREAT guy, and I did everything he asked me to do but his training just didn’t work for me. I don’t think I know it all, and I would absolutely work with a coach again if I found the right one. That being said, I did love having someone to bounce ideas off of and talk me through times when I was wondering if I was just lazy or tired. I do miss that aspect. We ended on good terms and I often still email him questions and he’s always right there to answer them. I think hiring a coach is almost like finding a significant other. It just has to be right – and I think you found that! Awesome!

    • DarlinRae says:

      I totally agree–finding a person that you can work with is tricky. For instance, my husband is an all-around athletic guy and the coach of the Nordic ski team at his high school, but god help him if he tries to correct my form when I’m planking. I just don’t want to hear it from him!

  7. dgobs says:

    I’m glad having a coach is going so well for you! I think I would definitely consider it if I were training for a marathon or really wanted to get serious about training in general. I’d love to have someone to bounce ideas and questions off, like you wrote about, and I feel like I pester my run club buddies with that kind of stuff too much. Definitely something I’ll keep in mind for the future 🙂

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