Wednesday, February 3, 2010


For most of my time in sport I have been self coached or have done whatever the group was doing. When I took my spot for the Boston marathon in 2008 I decided that I would need a coach, as I was thinking that since this is the biggest marathon in North America I couldn't go there and not run a good race.

So I contacted a couple of people and met with both coaches that I had heard good things about. The first coach (unknown to me) that I contacted had decided after that initial meeting that he wasn't going to coach via the internet anymore. The second coach (Kevin Masters) that I contacted ended up introducing me to Brian Torrance, who came my coach for that season and who then introduced me to Jack Cook at Fast Trax (for which I’ll always be grateful).

Since the birth of my son I've gone back to being self coached using books and ideas that I get from either the internet or from talking to people about running. So 2009 was a kind've mixed bag in terms of results. I started out slowly and to tell you the truth I was finding it very hard to combine running/working and our new baby then by year’s end I was almost where I wanted to be in terms of times for the marathon and half marathon. After the marathon in Dublin I decided that I wasn’t going to let the grass grow under my feet (so to speak) and that I was going to keep training, maybe not as hard as in the build up to the marathon but at least getting out there every day putting in the miles until February and then I would commit to running a marathon in the spring just see how it would go.

For me the worst thing about being self coached is it seems hard to commit to something that you read in a book, or if you’re like me you read six books and then somehow combine all of the training ideas into some sort of mongrel training plan that doesn’t always make sense or bring you to the fitness levels you expect or allow you to peak at the times you have in mind mostly because you second guess yourself all the time. The first training plan that followed successfully was one downloaded from runners world. It wasn’t bad, but it only had one day per week as a hard day and that alternated between intervals one week and a tempo run the other week. Brian’s training plan had a lot (for me) of harder stuff per week some of which had me reaching pretty deeply to complete.

Right now I’m kind’ve limited during the day as to how much I can do. Most days I run anywhere between 10 and 12K on my lunch and then run longer on the weekends once or twice a week I try to get in a second run (this depends on if I have to pick my son up from his day home or not). I guess this is how most people that have families and jobs train. But I wonder sometimes if I pushing a little too hard? For instance yesterday I ran a hilly 12K in 50 minutes and then today I ran a flatter 11K in 45 minutes, this usually happens as I try to train more by how the legs move than by strictly keeping to either a heart rate or a set pace.

This makes me wonder what the Kenyans are doing, not the top Kenayans but the men & women that are running my kind of times. Do they sit around in the evening watching the final season of Lost or do they even second guess what they’ve done in training for that day?

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