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What is a Running Coach and 9 Reasons You’ll Want One

run-grizzly-bears

I’ve been telling friends and family since February about my business plans. The first question out of everyone’s mouth, without fail, is, “What is a running coach, anyway?” And every time someone asks this I think to myself, “Good question. I should really come up with an elevator speech answer.” Sometimes that is what I say out loud.

A better response would be to say that a running coach is someone who advises, supports and helps you reach your running goals. “Running goals” might sound like a fancy term but often is means to simply start running, learn how to enjoy running or run injury-free. I do this over the course of 8-16 week training cycles and through customized training plans. All coaching is personalized, one-on-one and virtual (i.e. via email). You can read more on how exactly that works on the FAQ page.

Now most people don’t actually ask the logical follow up question, but I imagine it goes something like this. “I don’t get it. I can lace up my shoes, walk out my front door and put one foot in front of the other. Why do I need a coach for this?” Even those that are wise enough to realize they need a training plan are probably thinking, “I can find a million of those online for free.”

Okay, fair point. It’s totally reasonable to experiment with free training plans and ask Google if you have a question. There is no shortage of information available on the web for both new and experienced runners. In fact, I’ll include plenty of tips and anecdotes on the blog here for free. Please take advantage of it! If you subscribe you’ll get an email about once a week with real content.

That said, there are a number of reasons why you might want to hire a personal running coach:

  1. You hate running. You have friends that love it. They talk about the “runner’s high.” You’re pretty sure they’re lying. You have no interest in running unless you’re being chased by a bear… Except for you secretly want to be part of this club so every once in awhile you give it another shot. But it never works. You can’t breathe, your legs feel like led and you finish feeling sloppy and discouraged. Guess what? It doesn’t have to feel that way. You have no interest in running unless you're being chased by a bear...find a better reason. Click To Tweet
  2. You can’t seem to stick with it. You’ve had some success with running in the past. You got over that initial hump and started to understand what the fuss was all about. Maybe you ran a 5K and felt like a rockstar. But then you got busy or bored or both and for some reason unknown you can’t seem to get back into it.
  3. Actually, you have about 500 reasons why you can’t go for a run today. And you need someone else to help remove those barriers.
  4. Injury. Every time you try to run your knees hurt or your feet hurt or you get shin splints. Maybe that hasn’t always been the case. Maybe you used to be the person who hated running or had a million excuses and then you finally got it. FINALLY! You were pumped and motivated. You were getting stronger and faster and more confident! And then BAM. Injury after never-ending injury and you can’t figure out how to break the cycle.
  5. You’re overwhelmed by all the information. Sure, there’s a lot of free training plans out there, but how do you know which one is right for you? Maybe you get sick and miss a week. Do you pick up where you left off? Make up the skipped mileage the following week? (Hint: NO!!! Don’t do that!) Should you stretch before you run? After? Or not at all? Should you buy insoles or run barefoot? Maybe you wish there was someone you could ask that would consider your unique, personal history and situation. Maybe you don’t have the time to filter through all the information and would rather rely on one source you trust.
  6. You’re ready to try a new race distance. Maybe free online training plans worked well for you when you first began running and carried you to the finish line of your first 5K. But now you’re ready to tackle a half marathon and need a little extra help developing a hydration/fueling plan or dealing with a new basket of problems like blisters and emergency “bathroom” breaks.
  7. You’re tired of feeling like running is punishment. Pop culture tells us running is about buckling down and putting in the work. Pushing ourselves to the limit so we can lose weight. So our ass looks hot in a pair of skinny jeans. And yeah, running can be hard. There’s a time and place for hard. Rising to a challenge builds strength and confidence. But there is also a time and place for ease. Yes, even with running. When we turn down the pump-it-up jams, take off our watch, let go of expectations and settle into the rhythm of our breath and our feet, running can be a meditation. It is for me. I’m telling you friends, this is where it gets really, really good. When we let go of expectations and settle into the rhythm of our breath and our feet, running can be a meditation. Click To Tweet
  8. You’re a human being. You make mistakes. Sometime you miss a workout. Sometimes you accidentally run farther than you’re supposed to and get hurt. Sometimes you feel like a warrior and sometimes you’re convinced running was meant for everyone except you. Sometimes you need someone who will listen to you, acknowledge your humanity and remind you that it’s okay. You’re okay. You can do this. That’s right. YOU.
  9. You realize that you’re worth the money. Whatever it is you hope to accomplish or feel you need help with, the reality is it’s nice to get some extra personalized attention. And the truth is you’re worth it. Your health is worth it. Your self-esteem and happiness are worth it. You are deserving. Right here and now, exactly as you are in this moment.

To help lower the hurdle of money and as a Grand Opening special, I’m opening two Personal Coaching slots at a significant discount. First come, first serve. If you’ve ever wanted to take up running but you weren’t sure how to start or if you could let this be your personal invitation. There’s no better time than now.

I am also raffling off one 8-12 week Personal Coaching slot for FREE as a Black Friday special. You can enter up to 6 times by doing any or all of the following on or before Black Friday:

  1. Subscribe to the blog.

  2. Follow me on Twitter
  3. Follow me on Instagram
  4. Share this post on any social media platform. Be sure to tag me so I see it. You’ll earn a separate entry for each share.

If you already subscribed to the blog or started following me on Twitter or Instagram let me know if you’d like to enter the raffle. I’ll announce the winner early next week. If you purchase a discounted Personal Coaching slot and then win the raffle I will gladly give you a refund.

Still have questions about what a running coach is, how it works or whether it makes sense for your personal situation? Feel free to visit the FAQ page. If you can’t find an answer there, PLEASE don’t hesitate to Contact Me. Even if you choose not to hire me as your coach, I am still here for you. Let’s get to know each other a little better. Really, I mean it.

Namaste,

Laura

Photo Credit: Grizzly Bear Cubs by Denali National Park and Preserve is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Text added to original

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The Beginning of Greatness

GREATNESS-INSTAGRAM

I came outside the other day to find our 8 year old neighbor giving my 4 year old daughter fighting lessons. She was standing over a pumpkin headed man left over from Halloween and beating his leaf bloated belly with a lightsaber. When the demonstration was complete she handed the lightsaber, a third of a green pool noodle, duct tape marking the handle, to my daughter. She hesitated for a moment before giving the guy a few wimpy whacks to the gut.

I chimed in, “What are you guys doing?”

“I’m teaching her how to fight!” Our neighbor remarked enthusiastically, as if she were teaching my daughter an important life skill. Like how to do the dishes or wipe her own butt.

I played it cool, careful not to create unnecessary barriers with overly adult, patronizing language, “Oh, I see… And are you also learning how to resolve problems by using your words?”

“No.” Our neighbor half-smiled, as if I were telling a joke, which I suppose I half was.

“Maybe we should learn how to meditate instead!” I think she may have said more on the topic, but I was so relieved I didn’t have to figure out a way to put an end to the fighting lessons that I too quickly turned my attention to my daughter.

“Maybe you could teach her mantra!”

“No!” She shouted in horror, her fear of putting herself out there, of singing in front of others palpable. My poor girl. She takes after her Mama. She’s got the fear in her. We both do.

∗     ∗     ∗     ∗     ∗

For the better part of the last 10 years I worked as an engineer for a large company. Every year, as part of my performance review I received a rating: 1 (good), 2 (average) or 3 (bad). Not only did I feel like a number lost among the crowd, my worth was literally described as a number.

Employee #26,317, you are AVERAGE.

At first this came as sort of a shock. I was raised to believe I was exceptional. That I was meant to do great things. But over time I began to accept this label of average. I embodied it. I became angry with my parents for teaching me something that wasn’t true. For setting me up with unreasonable expectations. Not every one can change the world, after all.

I felt unsatisfied and spent a tremendous amount of energy reacting to my work environment. I sat in meetings reviewing ergonomic data, not because anyone really cared all that much about my metacarpals, but because someone important decided metrics were the best way to avoid a lawsuit. And I felt angry. I watched as my friends worked 50, 60 and 70+ hours/week, time spent away from their loved ones, and for what? Out of a sense of duty, a fear of failure, because we all so desperately wanted to be seen, affirmed and recognized as something other than AVERAGE. I wondered how much of that time really did make a difference, and I felt angry.

But above all I felt angry at myself for settling. I don’t mean to say that the corporate world is bad or wrong for everyone. Who knows? Maybe one day, at a different time and phase of life, it will even become right for me. But my reasons for staying were all wrong.

On some level deep down under the surface I knew I wanted to start my own business. A business with values that truly aligned with my own. Values of love and connection, where an employee was seen as a whole person, beautiful and complex, with unique abilities and potential for greatness. A business that allowed space for creativity and innovation. A business with a mission of bringing people together.

A business with a mission of bringing people together. Click To Tweet

It just always felt like a pipe dream. Something I wasn’t truly capable of. Something involving too much risk. Of failure, specifically. Of loss. Not so much of the monetary sort, but rather of pride. I wasn’t capable of opening my own business. Failure would be so embarrassing. Surely, my co-workers, my friends and family would recognize this for the folly that it was. I made sure they didn’t find out. In fact, I was careful not to really tell myself explicitly.

Any energy left after anger and frustration I spent on guilt. I told myself that in order to be happy I needed to come to terms with the reality of my insignificance and be content with my situation. My job paid well and the work wasn’t especially bad. I formed real and meaningful friendships with my co-workers. I even married one and two more became bridesmaids. I was comfortable. Shouldn’t that be enough?

It only recently occurred to me that perhaps I should re-direct that energy towards believing in myself. As part of Yoga Teacher Training we were asked to commit to a 40 day meditation. So now, everyday, I bring my awareness to my third chakra, the solar plexus. Or in lay man’s terms, the gut. This is the place where we cultivate courage. I chant mantra. I meditate on my own potential for greatness.

And it’s working.

My 4 year old has learned one of the mantras. Maybe she’ll teach our neighbor. Who knows? Maybe one day she’ll be brave enough to wipe her own butt.

I’m also beginning to understand that contentment first starts from within. We must first be content with ourselves. Part of that is believing we already possess the talent, the skill, the ability, whatever you want to call it, to affect change in our lives and in the world. We are already exceptional. I am. You are. We are already capable of greatness. We are already exceptional. I am. You are. We are already capable of greatness. Click To Tweet

So here I am, opening my own business. This is just the beginning. I have lots of ideas about what to offer and where to go from here. I’m trusting that in time it will unfold in exactly the way it is meant to. My first step is simply creating this space. It is about fitness, but also so much more. It’s about authenticity and the love and support of community. It’s about honoring and treating our bodies and minds and hearts with the care and respect they deserve.

The fear is still very much with me as I embark on this new adventure. I humbly ask that you support and join me. In return I promise to do the same and support you as you realize your own potential for greatness.

There are 3 main ways you can help:

  1. Subscribe to the blog. You’ll receive a post, or article, once a week by email (completely free, of course). Posts will cover a range of topics including, but not limited to, running, yoga, nutrition, body image and emotional well-being. Next week’s post will cover all the reasons why you might want to hire a running coach and, “What is a running coach anyway?” I will open 2 significantly discounted personal run coaching slots at that time as well, so be on the lookout if you think you might be interested!
  2. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@realfittogether) and share this post and/or site on social media.
  3. Donate pics of your beautiful self running, practicing yoga or participating in other wellness related activities for use on this site and social media.

Namaste,

Laura

Photo Credit: Sunset by postscapes at www.postscapes.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Text added to original