Often times each week I’ll post links to various articles that I have personally found interesting. Some weeks it will be 5 articles, some weeks it is 10…it varies. This week I’ve found a couple of articles that have really spoken to me. So much so I’ve given them there own post. (See Healthy Foods from yesterday) and now today. I haven’t been compensated I just found them interesting and they got my wheels turning.
I read an article the other day about a coach turning away an athlete for “doing too much”. It really struck home with me. I haven’t read an article that made me think that much in a while. Although I’m not being coached right now I’ve always wondered about this general thought process. I will fully admit that one reason I don’t want to be coached is I don’t want to stick to a rigorgous plan. I don’t want to chage to less mileage and more speed work. I have enjoyed running long, easy runs and getting faster. I’m not saying a coach would create a plan to do so, it’s just one factor I have thought about.
Could I run 70 MPW with a lot of speed? No, I would get injured. That would be too much. One reason I think I’m able to run higher mileage is because I do run at a much easier pace.
Do I want to run 50 MPW with a lot of speed? No, not really.
One reason I am not ready to give up high easy mileage for lower faster mileage is I’m still improving. What I’m working has caused me to improve with running. I worry that if I decrease miles (while even adding speed) I’ll end up with a stress fracture, injured or slower. Obviously change will be good for me eventually. When I stop improving, I will look a lot harder for a coach. (This is just one of the many reasons I’ve stayed away from being coached).
But going back to the article it really made me think. How much is too much? When I was in college and had a coach, he never pushed me to the point I felt overworked. I was getting better as a runner and it felt natural. I was succeeding in running and never felt a reason to do more. I enjoyed running and enjoyed improving.
It seems lately a lot (myself included) of people have been injured. Whether it’s a stress fracture, a muscle injury or something else, injury is in the air. A lot of injuries are due to overtraining. One thing that has always bothered me is someone blaming an injury on others. Well X,Y,Z made me run more. When I read the artcle I couldn’t help but nod. Coaches are not there to overwork you. They give you a plan and if you do more you aren’t following their plan.
For example: In college we would be assigned a run to do. Run 5 miles easy one day. My coach wasn’t breathing down my neck running with me.
If I ran 5.2 miles he wouldn’t know until I did.
If I ran 4.6 miles…he wouldn’t know that I did.
The goal was to run 5 miles easy. My easy pace was 8:30-9 minutes. He expected me to stay in those parameters. If I ran 5.9 miles at a 7:30 pace…I was working harder than I needed to be. I was taking away from a workout or race when I should be pushing the pace. I wasn’t following the plan and was setting myself up for injury. It wouldn’t be his fault if I had gotten injured. The plan was 5 miles at 8:30-9 minute pace. Not 5.9 miles at a 7:30 pace.
It seems harmless enough but to do that for a year it begins to build up. Doing it for even half of your easy runs you’ve added over 300 extra miles.
300 miles at a faster pace.
300 miles that is breaking your body down, not recovering.
So I guess long story short, coaches are there to help you. As someone who has been coached by a great college coach and ran solo for a while I can relate to both. I can relate to thinking your way is the best way.
Questions for you:
Do you follow your coaches plan?
I followed it almost to a T in college. I often wonder if I had a coach with low mileage if I would find myself adding more mileage. (Which would be dumb especially if we were doing speed work…I would probably be the PITA athlete…)
If you aren’t coached, do you like your workout routine?