Ever wondered how a Running Coach might help take your running up a gear? We Run client Kate shares her experience.
So Kate, What’s Your Running History?
I’ve always tried to keep fit, and I took up running as part of my normal exercise regime. I’ve been exercising for about the last 12 years, and normally I run maybe once or twice a week. In the last few months I haven’t had a gym membership so I’ve just been running as my main source of exercise, so I thought I should probably get some professional advice.
What Led You To Get in Touch With We Run?
I’ve always enjoyed running, just for fun though. Mainly just for exercise and fitness, but then we had a company running event; we were doing a 5k and 10k race. I decided now’s the time, I wanted to step up my training and I actually just didn’t know where to start. I know that there’s a lot of online training programs, but I thought I’ve been running for a while now, I’m not a beginner, but I’m not really an intermediate runner yet either. So I wanted someone to look at my running form and tell me what I need to do in order to improve.
“I wanted to step up my training and I actually just didn’t know where to start. I wanted someone to look at my running form and tell me what I needed to do in order to improve.”
What Was Your Goal?
Really just to finish the race and not come last! Even though I’ve been running a while, I’m not very good at it, so I just wanted to finish without embarrassing myself! I guess I was thinking I would have liked to finish it in under 1 hour 20 minutes.
Had You Tried Other Resources To Help Improve Your Running?
I’d looked at online training programs, which give you a set mileage to do each week. For me though, it wasn’t distance or endurance that was the problem; it was speed. I felt like I could cover long distances, but I’d just go very, very slowly. There are lots of articles that tell you to do things like fartlek training and all those things, but I didn’t feel like I was able to enforce that myself. I needed someone to actually tell me “This is what you need to do!” I also wanted help with improving my form, which it’s difficult to do on your own because you can’t see yourself and where you’re going wrong.
What Were The Sessions Like?
The sessions were really good. I was quite apprehensive at first, but Coach Andrea put me at ease as soon as I met her. She’s such a lovely person, and has such a nice personality. I think we started off by just having a chat about my running history and my goals, she asked if I had any previous injuries and things like that. Then at the beginning of each session we’d do a warm up, different dynamic stretches, and then each session was different. But Coach Andrea would always prepare something for me to do in my own time, so whatever we’d done in the session, she’d encourage me to practice it myself before our next session.
“There are lots of articles that tell you to do things like fartlek training and all those things, but I didn’t feel like I was able to enforce that myself. I needed someone to actually tell me ‘This is what you need to do!'”
Any Apprehensions Before You Got Started?
I was a bit worried that she’d take one look at me and say “Oh, there’s no hope for you – there’s nothing I can do!” But she was so encouraging that that wasn’t a problem at all. I felt like she always had a good word to say. Even if I felt like I hadn’t made any improvement, she always had a positive thing to say about the training session. That was really helpful because I’m not naturally a very positive person, so I wouldn’t have picked up on the things that she had. That positive reinforcement was very helpful.
What Did You Value Most From The Sessions?
I think what I’ll take away the most is that I’ve actually had a professional running coach look at my form, and have coached me over five sessions, and they haven’t said I’m a lost cause! In that way I kind of feel validated, and I feel like I can continue to improve. I think going forward when I’m doing my own training, I’ll keep that in mind – it’s something I’ve accomplished, a feather in my cap. Onwards and upwards!
“I felt like Coach Andrea always had a good word to say. I’m not naturally a very positive person, so that positive reinforcement was very helpful.”
Did You See Improvements?
Definitely. Within the first ten minutes of our first session, Coach Andrea picked up that I had hypermobility in my knees. It was actually causing me quite a bit of pain in my right knee, and I had no idea how it was caused. She picked up on it straight away, and after the session sent me an article on hypermobility and gave me some tips and pointers on how to improve it. That was a theme throughout all five sessions; she would constantly be correcting it, and I therefore became more conscious of it. This extended in to my normal everyday life; I’d be correcting my posture whilst making a cup of tea!
Also, Coach Andrea looked at my running style and suggested that I look at shoes that better support my ankles, because I overpronate. She gave me advice on buying running shoes, which was really useful because I’ve never known what kind of running shoes to buy, it’s always been a bit random.
So Improvements That Extend Beyond Running?
Definitely. For example, after learning about my hypermobility, I did quite a bit of my own research, and found that it can actually lead to other quite serious problems which might require physiotherapy. So knowing this has had an impact on my day to day life; I’m conscious of it and try to remember not to bend my knees backwards.
“Within the first ten minutes of our first session, Coach Andrea picked up that I had hypermobility in my knees. It was actually causing me quite a bit of pain in my right knee, and I had no idea how it was caused. She picked up on it straight away.”
OK, So How Did Race Day Go?
Well having expected to run it in around 1 hour 20 minutes, I actually finished in 1 hour 6 minutes! I was really happy. I was nervous on the day, but Coach Andrea had prepared me for all eventualities, so it was fine. I was running with some colleagues of mine, which was really good because of the thought of doing it as a team. Even though we weren’t running the race together, it was still nice to know there were people waiting at the finish line for me.
The race itself was very tiring! But the whole time I was just remembering things from the sessions, and advice that Coach Andrea had given me; tips and what to think about. Somehow it worked and I finished it!
I was quite surprised with the time I managed to run it in; I wasn’t thinking about the time whilst I was running it but at the end I was really happy. I kept thinking of things that Coach Andrea had taught me, for example she would say if I feel like my legs are getting tired, I should focus on the movement of my arms, keeping correct form in mind, and the correct swing of my arms. All of that helped to take the focus away from how tired I was feeling!
She also taught me to remember all of the positive aspects of my training sessions, which was so good; I remembered all the positive reinforcement she’d given me, encouraging me that my form had improved. All that stuff spurs you on.
So, What’s Next?
I think I’d definitely like to try another 10k, but maybe not for a little while! I’d like to see if I can improve my time. I wouldn’t be so bold as to aim for one hour, but if I can shave a couple of minutes off I’d be happy.
What Would You Say to Someone Thinking About Getting Running Coaching?
To have the one-to-one attention; that’s not something you can get from an article on the internet, or a podcast or online training plan. The fact that you have someone’s undivided attention, and they have so much experience in the field; you know that you’re in safe hands. I was also keen to get coaching to help prevent injury – I’d never run 10k before and was conscious that I might injure myself. So I’d also recommend coaching for that; preventing injury is important.
“To have the one-to-one attention; that’s not something you can get from an article on the internet, or a podcast or online training plan. The fact that you have someone’s undivided attention, and they have so much experience in the field; you know that you’re in safe hands.”
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