Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I'm Getting Schooled... Part 1 of 5 (My New Coach)

Recently I did something that I have never done before in my 13 years as a runner:  Hire a running coach.  This has been a long time coming.  While I have slowly improved on my own thanks to gained experience, increased workouts, and self education, I have long wondered if I've been living up to my potential.  My wife thinks she has that answer, which I won't repeat here.

I want to be able to focus on the different aspects of my new journey, so I'm going to divide the topics up into 5 shorter posts.  This first one will be an introduction to my new coach, and how it all came to be.

I had 4 barriers to hiring a coach.
  1. Ego.  Freud had one and so do I.  In a nutshell I thought, "I've been at this a long time, I know what I'm doing and getting better."
  2. Cost.  Maybe the biggest issue.  Not only was I concerned with my monthly budget, but I didn't want to be self-centered by taking money away from the rest of the household.
  3. Who to hire?
  4. Is he going to laugh at me (à la Adam Sandler)?
After lots and lots of thought, here's how I resolved those 4 issues:
  1. I'm ready to try training differently (hopefully smarter), and I want a new perspective.  Worst case, I stagnate for 6 months, then go back to doing what I think is best.
  2. I got the go ahead from my wife to enlist a coach, and I budgeted for it with a portion my tax return.
  3. After overcoming the cost and ego parts, I researched and asked for a few recommendations on a good coach for me, and then came to a consensus with myself.
  4. I'm used to getting laughed at.
So I contacted a local coach/personal trainer named Nathan Wadsworth.  Nathan went to a Division I college (my Alma mater) where he was an all-conference track star and graduated with a Masters degree in Exercise Science.  His career highlights that stood out to me include a 21st place Boston Marathon finish in 2007, a 57th place finish at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials that same year, and a 2:21:51 Marathon PR.

Maybe I should note at this point that he isn't giving me any incentives to mention him, and it is too early in my training to know if any of his advice is paying off.  However, part of my reason for blogging is to educate and pass on information, so if any local runners are needing a trainer, he is an option to consider if you're in the Wichita area.  Also I/Nathan should note, if he wants to give me any financial incentives, I'm open to the idea.

Considering all the years I procrastinated getting a coach, I was counting down the minutes until my first appointment.  I first met with Nathan on April 19th for a one hour consultation.  We discussed my running goals, and where I was at fitness wise.  Part of the plan was for him to customize a training plan for me, so I went through the trouble of writing down various race paces I was capable running along with other training I had been doing for reference.  By the time the hour was up, he had another client arrive, but we had a good understanding of each other, and I had fun talking to an elite runner about our sport.  We agreed to meet the next week to start my "education."

I was interested in doing Lactate Threshold workouts as a regular part of training, but since I wasn't sure what my threshold was, we scheduled a Lactate Threshold Test for the next week, and that is where I will pick up in part II of this little series. 

Go To:
Part 2 of 5 (Lactate Threshold Test)
Part 3 of 5 (AlterG)
Part 4 of 5 (10k Training Plan)
Part 5 of 5 (Coaching Costs)


Johann said...

This is a very big step and I hope it works well for you. I've always just done my own thing and always just run on my own plan. I will follow this with interest.

Terzah said...

I am so excited for you, Jon. I'm thinking of doing this, too. Budget is also the biggest issue for me (well, that and the stupid back thing). I'm very excited to follow the series and, from what I hear from others who have hired coaches, expect that this will pay off for you in the form of some big breakthroughs.

Robin said...

Sounds like a great idea! Can't wait to hear how it goes...

Michael said...

That's awesome. I would LOVE to hire a coach. I know there is so much I could learn and that I would push myself so much harder if I had someone out there to help me. Maybe someday. I hope your experience is great!!

Meghan said...

Hey - it can't hurt so why not! I anticipate you are going to learn a lot from him and feel better as a runner/athlete :)

Being Robinson said...

this is awesome. i've heard of nathan before. i'm interested to see how it goes for you. good luck!

Anonymous said...

Sounds great, can't wait to hear the next installment~

The Slow One said...

Oooh! I can't wait for more. I am very curious how this will play out. Thanks for posting!

Nelly said...

Definitely curious to hear more about your coach things as it goes on. I've been recently debating about whether or not to hire a coach - I've been weighing whether or not to get a online style coach via Runcoach
http://runcoach.com/ (my sports doc recommended this site)

OR whether to go with a real life personal coach that is located in the bay area. The main thing I'm considering is that the real life coach is approximately 5x more expensive than the online coach. I may email both groups and see what works the best.

Trent (Scott) Lorcher said...

I see one major problem with this plan: you'll have to change your URL if it works and since nottooslowforboston.blogspot.com is already taken by someone, ironically way too slow for Boston, you might have to fire him.

ajh said...

Good for you. I think this is a great idea and worth trying. I did worry with my swimming instructor as to how foolish I would look but I realized I needed to get over that as that is what she was there for. Good luck.

Char said...

It's quite exciting to do the running thing scientifically. The lactate threshold test should give you some good starting information. I don't think it's an awful lot of fun though. I'll be reading your posts with interest over the next few weeks.

On the Right Track said...

Oh my goodness, i am so excited for you for some reason. i can't wait to hear how it goes and how you feel about having someone else "train" you! I will be anxiously awaiting your next post series for my reading enjoyment so to speak...YEAH!!

and on a side note...i loved the "rebel" statement you made to me...I try to hide it...but it's so true ;) shhh!

Jill said...

Good for you! Having been a running coach for several years, I can tell you it's very rewarding on the coaching side to see athletes meet their goals. I hope he's able to help you reach your goals!!