Coaching and Training Philosophy
Here are some details about my philosophy of coaching and training. I'm always happy to have an in-depth chat about this, so please feel free to schedule a meeting!
Empathetic, person-centered coaching blended with effective, science-based training to help athletes of all levels balance short-term progress and long-term athletic development.
My philosophy of coaching is simple: unconditional support to achieve fulfillment in running and life - whatever that means to you!
Got big goals? Great - I'll help you reach your wildest dreams and hopefully beyond!
Just want some support in building the habit and staying consistent? No worries - I'll help.
Regardless of your goals, I'll help you find your 'why' and learn to love the process and purity of running.
I view my coaching role as purely a navigator. I'll show you a good path and give you pros and cons of various decisions, but you are still the captain of your ship, and I'll support however I can!
I never make any artificial limits, 'levels' of coaching or anything like that. However I can help you, I will! Communication, training plan adjustments – it's all unlimited. Need to text for urgent plan adjustments? Do it! Want to have an in-depth Zoom chat prior to your big race? Let's go!
I'm also happy to chat about anything that you think will help you. Some things I've talked about with athletes: gear, nutrition, exercise physiology, long-term planning. motivation, psychology, how to get more involved in the running community, nutrition basics, how to get a sponsor or ambassadorship, how to quit your job and become self-employed... and lots more.
First, and most importantly: I do not write training plans – I coach athletes.
That statement seems loaded doesn't it? It sure is! I wrote a whole article on it, but you can also just read the summary below.
Here's the difference. A training plan implies that you know how a training block will go prior to it beginning. That's simply impossible, and research shows that pre-determined training isn't as effective as adaptive training.
Effective training adjusts for not only your fitness level and new knowledge about your strengths and weaknesses, but also other stresses in your life and your overall recovery level. It doesn't view life as a barrier to good training, it adjusts to best make use of those changes in your life.
Here are a few obvious examples:
Let's say you just bought a house and need to move next week. But in the plan, it was written in as a build week. Is that realistic? NO! Make it a down week to accommodate for that life stress. (Even good stress is still stress).
Okay but now you have a vacation coming up, and you happen to be going to Colorado (you live at sea level). Great - that's now an aerobic build week! Lots of easy volume is the name of the game. Run, hike, bike, whatever. Just get the heart pumping and start making red blood cells.
Now, your most stressful period at work happens to coincide with when you "should" be running one of your peak training weeks prior to your race. Should you still do that? Almost never. We can nearly always accommodate so that not only does training fit with your life better, it is better training.
Second, training depends more on where you are now than where you want to be.
It's easy to make this mistake. I see a lot of runners structure workouts based on their end goal, and working backward.
"If I want to be running x:xx marathon pace by this date, then I should be able to run x:xx pace for workouts on this date..."
It almost makes sense, right?
Unfortunately, it's wrong.
Training is about giving your body specific physiological stressors to promote adaptations. If you are basing training solely upon your goal, you're actually getting fewer benefits, because you're not aligning with those internal physiological variables. You also risk injury or overtraining.
In addition, training is non-linear. You can't simply draw a line between where you are and where you want to be. A true training progression is not only curved, but also needs to have ups and downs. That's how the body adapts!
Your body doesn't care about pace or distance.
Good training isn't based on distance, but rather time. Now that's not to say your plan can't have distances written down – just that whoever is designing training is thinking about the time that run is taking you rather than the distance.
It also shouldn't be based on pace – you can read why here.
To that end, I write the overall training plan based on whatever the athlete's preference is: miles, kilometers or time. But workouts are always given as effort and time ranges. For example, no athlete does 400m repeats. For each athlete, that workout would serve a totally different purpose. Instead, athletes might do 1min fast/1min easy repeats. Or 90sec fast/1min easy. Or endlessly more complex (and fun) workout variations. A bonus of this method is that you can do the workout anywhere and any time and know that you're getting the most productive workout for your body and goals.
Finally, true fitness improvements are made over years, not a single training block. This means regardless of what race you have next on the schedule, we are always working on improving your fitness via science-based, proven training. Running is running, and while specificity is helpful, if you choose specificity over actual fitness gains, you will end up being less-prepared than you could be.