Since the beginning of February I had the pleasure of coaching Alexis as she trained for her marathon on May 3rd. I already mentioned how she did an amazing job in her race, but I asked her to share a little bit about her experience working with a running coach. I know that personally I always wondered how it would be any different to work with a coach than to just find or create your own plan. After becoming a certified coach I started to see how it can really be beneficial (I am thinking of getting a coach once I start training again) so I thought it would be helpful to have Alexis talk about how it was helpful to her.
Running with a coach completely changed my marathon training. I’ve been running competitively since I was in the 6th grade, so I graduated from college with 11 years of running experience dictated by a coach.It was awesome to have the freedom to run how I wanted when I wanted after graduation. I ran my first marathon in May of 2013, just a couple of weeks after my graduation. I had loosely followed a training plan for about 16 weeks, and I finished that first race in 4:11. I knew that was definitely not the time I was capable of running, but it was a great feeling to say I had finished my first full marathon.It took me 18 months and two DNS before I completed my second marathon in November 2014. A stress fracture in my foot kept me out of a spring race in 2014. I almost didn’t run the race in November either because my training had been so sporadic, but I decided to just run it anyway, and managed a 3:54. I was psyched to be under 4 hours, but again, I knew I was capable of doing a lot better.When I started thinking about a spring 2015 race, I decided it was time for me to take things more seriously. I knew that I could find tons of free plans online or use one of the many books I had on marathon training, but that just hadn’t been working for me. It was too hard for me to figure out what would cause injury or burnout, and I was really unclear on what paces all of my runs should be.I’m an avid reader of healthy living and running blogs, and Lisa’s is one of my favorites. She just has such an authentic voice in her writing, and I can tell that she cares deeply about running and all of the different things that go into it. When I saw a post about her coaching programs in January, I decided to reach out.Lisa could not have been more accommodating. She offered to give me a 4 week plan to start my training and then move on to personalized coaching for the last 8 weeks because that system better fit my budget. She was super clear about what paces I needed to hit for my easy runs, workouts, and long runs. And she even got me consistently foam rolling and strength training, all while keeping my busy schedule and injury prone body in mind.Lisa’s weekly plans for me were consistent but not boring. I also knew about what to expect, but things changed enough week-to-week that running felt fresh and exciting for my entire training cycle. She was great about responding to emails, and she was super flexible about adjusting days for me when something unexpected came up in my schedule.As my race approached, Lisa suggested that I go for a BQ in my race. I was psyched that she thought I was capable of that, and her confidence in me made me feel like it could be a real possibility. She was even kind enough to create and order custom pace bands for me so that I would know exactly how to run my Providence race.On race day, I barely had to think. I just had to do what Lisa had helped make me capable of, and I managed to run a 26 minute PR and qualify for Boston, something that’s been a dream of mine since I was about 10 years old.I cannot wait to run my 4th marathon in Boston next spring. I’m hoping to run a speedy half this fall to keep me in racing shape, and I’m definitely planning to ask Lisa to help me train for those two races as well! I really couldn’t have asked for a kinder or more thoughtful coach, and I am so thankful she was there to help keep me motivated, healthy, and strong for the last 12 weeks.