Not sure when is the right time to get a coach?
For me it was a pretty easy decision. I’ve been working away at this running thing for a little while now, basically making it up as I go. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a student of the sport and read whatever I can get my hands on. Lots of base running, a tempo run, an interval session and a long run each week, et voila! runner gets faster. Still, being self-coached requires creativity, something I lack. Maybe a 10k tempo run every Monday is not the best use of my time and efforts? Enter the professionals.
One of my new friendships forged on the many miles of the Sean O’Brien trail was with Kevin K, who is coached by Sage Canaday and Sandi Nypaver of VO2 Max Coaching (http://vo2maxproductions.com/). The timing was right and I was eager to hear how it all worked. Kevin was happy to oblige.
Since Sage is the course record holder at the Lake Sonoma 50 miler (in a staggering 6:14), and Lake Sonoma is my next ultra, it seemed like a natural fit. Not to mention that he’s also a two-time Olympic Trials qualifying marathoner, and a 1:04 half marathoner. Given my love of speedwork, his approach was a philosophy I could relate to.
Sandi is no slacker either. Not only does she have a slew of top ultra finishes to her name, but she also recommended I work a 10 minute ab routine into my training 2-3 times per week. You can see her demonstrating how “easy” it is below. Of the 10 suggested minutes, I lasted just six on my first attempt and experienced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) for two days after. Clearly, I have some work to do.
One of the first pieces of coaching advice I received was to take it easy on my upcoming “fun run” half marathon, scheduled for just a week after Sean O’Brien. We (me and my husband) signed up for the race because a couple of out-of-town friends were also entered. I knew I’d be feeling my first 50 miler on my legs and the point of going was to enjoy the run, not injure myself or set back my recovery by working too hard. Goal met. I had a blast. The race had significant elevation gain for a road race — about 1000ft — but after the 11,000+ ft I’d tackled a few days before, it felt like nothing. I came in third, and loved every second.