I’ve run off and on since 2011. Throughout that time I’ve run in college with a coach, out of college without a coach, as well as out of college with a coach.
During each time period, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I do believe personalized coaching is beneficial for many people. It takes finding the right coach, both someone who works well for your running style, as well as someone who you socially connect with it.
A few weeks ago, a reader asked me to write about self-coaching and how I liked that. Thinking out loud, all of my PRs have been set from self-coaching. Good or bad, it’s just a fact. I haven’t had a negative experience with any of my coaches. However, my schedule changes often, and I have found self-coaching to work well for me.
I’ve Learned a Few Things:
Self Coaching is Free:
First, I have a firm stance coaching should cost money. You are getting a service, that you don’t already have. To be honest, I’m less likely to even follow “free coaching” because I could do my own thing either way and not feel guilty.
You Know your Strengths and Weaknesses the Best:
First, running is a learning process. Your strengths and weaknesses change. When I lived in the Adirondacks, I was much better at running hills. Now living in a flatter area, hills are no longer my strength. If you ever are next to me in the last .1 of race, know that finishing kicks are also not my strength.
You are More Internally Motivated:
My goals, and wanting to run are for me. I don’t have to report to anyone, and I don’t have to “fear”, telling a bad workout, race, or anything else.
So How Do You Determine Workouts and Paces?
This is different for every single person.
Personally, I use a few different methods. In college, we used the McMillian calculator and could find appropriate paces for workouts from that.
When building mileage from a break (whether injury or just a break), I usually start with whatever feels good. My first run back is never more than a mile. From there, I add minutes to my run (not miles). It’s important not to stress the pace when increasing mileage but just the time on your feet.
I also think looking back at your history with the sport is essential. For me, I ran my fastest 5k and half marathon on “traditional training.” I went to the track and did workouts like 400s as well as tempo runs. That isn’t the case for everyone!
Many athletes run very low mileage with more core and strength. If that is how you thrive, that is how you thrive!
Running is different for each and every person. Many people thrive on a coach. Many people enjoyed more of a laid-back approach. As someone who spent years of high-intensity swimming, I no longer thrive on it both mentally and physically.
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Questions for you:
Are you self-coached?
What are you currently training for?