minutes per mile blog

what does “having a running coach” mean, exactly?

I’ll run in rain and snow, but I won’t run in sleet! Which was exactly the forecast at about 6 a.m. today. 1-photo_3I attempted one slippery half-mile before calling it quits and heading to the treadmill. I watched the news, which wasn’t news to me at all.2-photoAnyways, a dreadmill run is better than none! I followed up my indoor adventure with some strength training — a lot of which involved silly balancing drills on this thing called the Bosu ball.1-photo_1You can find FORTY-ONE drills to do on this amazing apparatus in this article. Happy balancing!

I’ve picked up the strength workouts a lot over the past few weeks, and will be going strong until spring race season kicks in. This is all part of the “periodization” plan my coach has lined up for me. A while back, I wrote about how much I loved having a running coach, which is basically a running-specific personal trainer. A handful of people have asked me what “having a running coach” really means. Here’s the scoop (I’m sure other coaches have different packages or plans, but are probably similar):

  1. Initial phone consultation
  2. In-person running consultation
  3. 12-week daily training calendar with runs, strength workouts, and rest days included
  4. Spreadsheet of strength training routines
  5. Weekly recaps from me + feedback from him that cover: workouts done, overall feel of the week, long run, speed, and schedule changes/questions
  6. Race goal and pace emails
  7. Open track workouts for all trainees to attend (not held during the “off”/”strength” season from November-January)
  8. Weekly email updates/tips to all trainees
  9. Access to a 80+ page “training notes” document written by my coach — basically a mini running Bible
  10. Nonstop support whenever I have a question, freakout, etc.

Another related question that comes up: what is my training plan, exactly? Here’s what it’s looked like so far (This probably varies quite a bit among different trainees, though):

  1. Spring/summer (while training for a marathon): run five to seven days a week, with one speed workout (typically track), one long run, and one mid-week longer run. Plus two run-specific strength training workouts.
  2. Fall/winter (the “off”/”strength” season): run four to five days a week, with one (casual) speed workout and one long (but not too long) run. Plus four to five run-specific and general strength training workouts.
  3. Taper and recovery periods are incorporated for races and especially hard training weeks.

And the last question I’ve gotten: Does it work? The answer for me is yes. Because:

  1. I’ve PR-ed in the marathon, the half marathon, and every other race I’ve done this year (without getting injured!) :)

And that’s how it works! For me, at least.

I feel like there aren’t enough pretty photos in this post, so I’m going to randomly throw in a panini…prosciutto_pesto_panini_0046The other night Anthony and I were feeling fancy with our sandwiches. Lettuce, cheese, tomato, turkey — plus a slim slice of prosciutto and a smear of pesto! (Inspired by this sandwich recipe which we made the other week)prosciutto_pesto_panini_0043Random: do you cut your sandwiches in half, or like to eat them whole? Anthony and I have very different opinions on this topic.

Hers:prosciutto_pesto_panini_0052His:prosciutto_pesto_panini_0050-001Stay dry out there!

  • Would you ever hire a running coach?
  • Sandwich: halved or whole?!
  • Last time you slipped and fell in the snow/ice?

Of interest:



15 thoughts on “what does “having a running coach” mean, exactly?

  1. 1. I’m too cheap!
    2. Always whole.
    3. Sunday…on a trail run in Oklahoma City. No injuries! We ran 2.5 miles out on the trail carrying decorations and pomegranate liqueur spiked apple cider so we could decorate a random tree in the woods as a present for runners brave enough to run in this horrible icy/snowy weather!

    BTW, you’re getting what we had in Okc last week. Stay warm!

  2. I wish I had a running coach, but they are easy to expensive. Plus I’m still kind of a beginner at running and I think I should wait until I’ve got a few more races under my belt.
    As for sandwiches, no preference.

    • I debated hiring one for more than a year; but once I quit the gym and canceled my CrossFit membership, the cost didn’t seem so high anymore. Some coaches offer tiered rates and referral discounts, which is also great

  3. I would like to work with a coach for a season or maybe up to a year to see how much I can improve with their guidance, but a huge part of running for me is coming up with my own training schedules and planning everything myself. So I don’t know how much control I’d be willing to give up, hehe.

    • Thanks! I’ve got quite a few: a Sony DSC-TX10 (outdoor/on-the-go); a Panasonic Lumix (fits in your purse but high-quality too); and a Cannon Rebel (DSLR)