Be Your Own Running Coach

A few months ago a friend asked me about my training and how I was able to meet (and exceed) race goals and if I had any help from a coach. After thinking about it, I decided that I had many thoughts around the topic and wanted to share it in a post.

First off, I have never used a running coach, it is just not for me but I have nothing against them. At one point in time, I looked into the certification but again realized it was not something for me. But what I can share is how I have been able to train to meet my own running goals mainly on my own.

1- Be your own biggest fan. Have confidence! Running is SO mental you guys. If you do not have the confidence that you can meet your goal you probably will not meet it. Blunt but true. Be positive, but realistic at the same time. Do not go into your first half marathon thinking you can run it in 90 minutes 😉 I cannot stress this enough. I have never gone into a training plan (or race) thinking I MIGHT meet my goal. I go in knowing I will crush it.

2 – Set realistic goals. Like I said above goals are only attainable if they are realistic. You can also be more confident with realistic goals. This is not to say you should not push yourself but instead just have realistic goals and over a period of time work to improve and do better.

My first half marathon I went in with a fairly conservative goal of a sub 2-hour race since it was my first race over 10km and I had really just started to run. I came in 2 minutes under my goal time and was thrilled.  My next half marathon that was 3 months later I had a goal of 1:55, so only 3 minutes off of my previous time. I was being realistic, but still confident that I COULD do better. I came in at 1:48 for that race.

Giving myself realistic goals that I am confident in has taken me a long way in my running experience, much more than anything physical that I could have done.

3 – Use your FREE resources. The Internet can be a magical thing! From other blogs to online sites there are so many resources you can access at no charge. I have a few favourites that I frequently use.

Runner’s World – some training plans do cost, but for a minimal fee

Women’s Running

Hal Higdon – I have used these plans a few times!

4 – Join a running/training group. This does not need to be a formal group, it could be a group of people who like to run. Having a training group for my first half and first full was very beneficial and for a minimal fee. I think I paid $50 for 4.5 months and they provided us with  a training plan. But more than the training plan it was the group of people that made benefited me. The support, the accountability and the sense of community all benefited me.

5 – Schedule in non-running and rest days. First of all, can we just agree that our bodies need 1-2 days of rest a week. These can be active rest days, but they are days where your body and mind recover. Second, running is not all about just getting in “x” of kms a week. It is about preparing your body for the race. This involved improving your cardio, strength, and flexibility. Be a well rounded runner!

From experience I can say running 6 days a week did me NO good. It was the only time I had a running injury and was drained mentally and physically.

In your training plan run 3-4 days a week and then add in other cardio, strength training and I always recommend yoga now too. I prefer 3 days of running, one long run, one speed run (fairly short) and one other run. On the speed run day I would do strength exercises, have another day of other cardio and strength and then yoga. Not to say this is for everyone but that is my general rule when it comes to a training plan.

Everyone is different, and everyone’s needs are different so at the end of the day you do what is right for YOU. If that is hiring a coach, great, if not, great too 🙂 Like anything there is never a one size fits all solution.

Lindsey

 

 

14 thoughts on “Be Your Own Running Coach

  1. Jen

    Great post Lindsey. I think being confident in your goals is important. That's definitely an area I've always struggled with in the past.

    Reply
  2. thebexfactor

    Great post Lindsey! You already know my thoughts on this topic. I know the biggest thing for me is running with people who challenge me, like when I can get out with the boys at lunch. I have a very hard time pushing myself on my own but I've also never followed any sort of plan so if anything I know that's where I should start.

    Reply
    1. arunningtale

      Like we talked about at book club!! I agree, that sometimes running (or doing whatever) alone makes it too easy to just do what you are used to versus pushing yourself. I think a training plan would help a ton, even if you cannot follow it 100% do what you can. Short speed runs will help you a lot! Anytime from June on I am more than happy to "push" you 😉

      Reply
  3. Kelly

    Yes! My strategy to train for races is almost exactly the same. I've never used a running coach either but have trained with groups and developed my own plans based on RW and Hal Higdon. My usual training week is the exact same three runs as you (long, fast, other) plus two days of yoga and/or barre. Whenever I try to add in more running days I get injured too.

    Reply
    1. arunningtale

      Too funny how alike we are! I think it is different for everyone but have really found that three running days is more than enough if you are doing the right runs. I also like developing my own plans so I know it works for me versus someone else telling me what will work when it might not.

      Reply
  4. Nicole

    Great tips! Gosh you are fast!! I also run 3x a week when training and that works best for me. I do need to work on speed, which means running faster and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. This one is hard for me.

    Reply
    1. arunningtale

      Thanks! haha. I never have thought of myself as fast, I always think I can do better. Not so my times make me unhappy but I always want to push myself, it comes from being overly competitive with myself. It is really easy for us to just do what we can and stay in that comfort zone for sure, I found even running with faster people helped me change that attitutude.

      Reply
  5. Leigh

    I've never really thought about hiring a running coach, but I've done fairly well training on my own. I think if I had a HUGE goal in mind, then it might help. I know that I can get faster if I put the work in and stop doubting myself

    Reply
    1. arunningtale

      You have! I think you are a lot like me when it comes to running 🙂 I know you can too, it also comes down to how bad we want to be faster. I know sometimes I am just okay doing my norm which is okay too!

      Reply
  6. Brie @ Slice of Brie

    I think before I ever hired a running coach, I would go back to the Running Room and join a clinic…I've only done the 5K one, but it was such a positive experience, and I'm definitely someone who needs to be motivated by other people running! Great post!

    Reply
    1. arunningtale

      I agree, the clinics they offer are awesome from what I have heard. I did one through another running store in RD but I am thinking they are basically the same. I think being around other runners is a huge factor and running with people that challenge you 🙂

      Reply
  7. Kaella On The Run

    1:48 half! Teach me your ways!! 😉 Ha Ha! Great post! Confidence is soooo important!! After doing it on my own for a few years, I'm excited to see what a coach will do for me (it's already helped so much with my rehab!)

    Reply
    1. arunningtale

      haha, after Avery I wanted to get a sub 1:50 again and honestly the ONE thing holding me back was drive/motivation. I can see that now, but at the time I did not see it. It is about testing your limits race day and going in not over run – if that make sense! I am happy a coach has helped you, I think it is great to have that resource you can turn to!

      Reply

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