Just when you thought you knew all about my running plans and upcoming races, there’s this post. I must be honest, I haven’t been completely upfront about everything in my running life and I’m finally ready to share and move forward. Since finishing the marathon, I’ve set new goals, joined a new gym, hired a macro coach and am officially back to being a self-coached runner.
I know, I know. One of the last posts I put up was a post as to why I hired a coach. But I made that decision and commitment over a year ago and life happens and people and situations change. The last few weeks of training heading into the marathon I could feel things changing between my coach and I and I knew that I’d be parting ways after I crossed the finish line. And I was okay with that; a little sad but okay. While this wasn’t news to members on my team, this was a little surprising to others because from the outside everything looked all hunky-dory. Yes, I did PR in multiple distances this past year and yes, I did meet an amazing group of people, many of which I call close friends now but there were some downs to those ups and for me, I couldn’t find the next “up.”
My previous post was personal as to why I hired a coach but this post will be a little different; I’ve come up with a list of reasons why any runner would want to move on to a new coach or become a self-coached runner. Important to note: these reasons may not apply to everyone and some people may tolerate certain things on this list that I can not. I’m also going to state that not all of what’s mentioned below specifically happened to me; I’m leaving out the details because well, I guess I don’t feel like airing my dirty laundry.
Pushing all personal interactions + details aside, here’s a short list of why/when it’s time to make a coaching change:
- Change in financials: I’m a believer in budgets and I’m also a strong believer in making things happen if it’s what you really want. But sometimes you just can’t make ends meet (pay bills, set money aside AND do what you want) and that’s okay; you then have something to work toward. Financials change for a number of reasons and whatever your reason, you just have to make it work. Hiring a running coach is a luxury that not everyone can afford, including myself at the current moment. Time to utilize the Internet, my past experience and that thing called the library… endless amount of FREE resources!
- Lack of communication: As always, communication is key in any relationship. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an elite runner, you should be able to talk to your coach, ask questions and receive the answers. And your coach should be able to reach out to you and get a timely response. If the communication is lacking, point that out with suggestions as how to resolve the issue. Just remember that everyone communicates differently and if you can’t find ground in the middle, neither party will benefit from the relationship.
- Lack of trust: Running can be very personal. Every athlete no matter their ability has a reason why they run and knows what their goals and expectations are. Running can also be a source of control; writing your own training plans gives you the power and hiring a coach takes that away from you. You need to be able to trust your coach and know that they have your best interest in mind when writing your training plans. Trust often piggy-backs off of communication: does your coach know how you’re feeling with the amount of miles and effort he’s expecting from you? Does he mistake your goals for another athlete’s? Does he communicate your goals and personal conversations to other athletes? You must have complete trust in this person not only because running can be personal, but because you’re paying them to establish this trait.
- Injury: Seems obvious, but if you’re constantly injured, well then something needs to change. Whether you tripped over the sidewalk during a run or you’re logging too many miles, a coach should take an injury into consideration and change up your training plans. The athlete also has the responsibility of listening to their body and backing off when needed, communicating this to the coach and seek alternative help (i.e. see a doctor or physical therapist).
- Stress: Stress and running, well sometimes they go hand in hand. Every runner needs to learn how to cope with a big upcoming race, weeks with increased miles (or the dreaded taper), and the normal aches and pains of the sport. But when you become stressed ALL OF THE TIME over running/pacing/your coach/teammates, then a change should be made. Runners can be a little obsessed, yes I’ll admit that, but acting like a crazy person is not normal. Ha! We typically stress over numbers the most, not who’s running with who and blah blah blah.
This change has been a big one for me, one that I’m still adjusting to today. It was hard walking away from something that a lot of people in my life were and still are participating in, but it was also hard being a part of because I was no longer happy. Luckily I’ve surrounded myself with people who love to run, with or without a coach, and are willing to let me tag along to help me reach my next starting line.