Why does anyone run? There’s no single answer to that question. Some run for health benefits, or to loose weight. Some find it beneficial for overcoming stress in their lives. Still others simply enjoy an excuse to get together for some old fashioned camaraderie with friends. And finally, there is the individual who loves to be alone with nature and their own thoughts. In all the years I have run, I have enjoyed all of these benefits to running, but if I’m truly honest with myself, I enjoy the competition. Whether competing against other runners, or just trying to beat my own “personal best” at a given distance, there is a great joy that comes from accomplishing the goals that I set for myself.
As a coach, I have learned to keep an open mind. There is no single magic bullet for winning races or growing your abilities. As we all come in different shapes and sizes, so should we all train differently to achieve our goals in running and in life. I take many different approaches on how to train individuals. Any coach that tells you that he knows everything, or he has the single, perfect training plan for everyone, has missed the boat. We all don’t work the same , train the same, learn the same, or even respond to the specific rigors of training the same. As a coach, you have to take the time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals who have come to you for help, and then build a custom training program that suites that individual the best. That’s how to accomplish goals, and continue to build excitement and confidence in the runner.
Learn to listen to your body. For a solid six years or more I used to go out and train hard every day, twice a day, five days a week, no matter how I felt, no matter what the weather was like. I ended up injuring myself, and then compounding my injury by trying to “tough it out” through even harder workouts. I ended up derailing my running career for an extended period of time, and because I could no longer compete, I was miserable. And when you can’t run, you end up with a lot of time on your hands to think. I understood that training consistency was key to improvement, however, we also need to pay attention to warning signs, and when to back off and take a rest and recovery day. Many people believe the best results only come when you push yourself harder than you should… basically, beyond your limits. I am here to tell you that you don’t achieve greatness from grinding yourself into the ground. Improvement comes naturally when the body gets a balanced program of hard work, nutrition, rest, and recovery. When you’re body is regenerating and repairing itself…that’s when you become strong and more fit. I learned this the hard way…so you won’t have to.