There is only one week left in my first season coaching cross country. We have had a fairly successful season so far – we haven’t come away with any team trophies yet, but my kiddos are seeing a lot of improvement in their times. Many of them have never run more than the mile in P.E. class and are now able to run 2+ miles without having to stop! They ran their first 2 mile race last week and most of them were running faster paces than they were in their 1.5-mile races!
I think the one thing that has surprised me more than anything this season is just how much I’ve learned about coaching runners from coaching them. I have a really great group of kids – a little rowdy at times – but for the most part, they are super hard workers who (sometimes) listen to what I have to say. They trust my training and are seeing the results to prove it.
But, that’s just it. I KNOW how to train these kids. I know what they need and I know how to program a successful training program to make these kids the best runners they can be. And while they trust me for the most part, they only get out of my training what they put in to it.
As a running coach, regardless of age and ability level, the hardest thing for me to TEACH my runners is self-motivation and discipline when it comes to their running. This is something I struggle with myself. While I am motivated to run (because I NEED it in my life), there are definitely days when I want to talk myself out of working my absolute hardest. I come up with excuses for why I didn’t hit my paces, or don’t need to do as many reps, or just simply not work my hardest during my workouts. So, sure, I might know that I need to run five, 1000-meter repeats, but if I don’t do the workout to the best of my ability, I’m not going to see the benefits a workout like that has for my running.
This has taken me a long time to realize and coaching middle school cross country has definitely helped me realize this. There of course is natural ability – I have several runners who are just naturally fast. I also fall into this category as I have been one of the fastest runners in most races since I was in middle school. Speed has come naturally to me, which is definitely to my advantage – and I have several runners who also have this to their advantage. However, they are the ones who feel like they don’t have to work as hard because of their natural ability. And while they are probably too young to realize the effects of this, as we age, it becomes more and more apparent. If you don’t put the work in, you’re NOT going to see the results.
My friend Stefanie just went through my 3-week HIIT for Runners program and was able to see amazing results. While she thanked me for coaching her and helping her become faster, I had to point out that all I did was give her the workouts I knew could help her. SHE was the one who deserved all the credit for all of her hard work. If she half-assed her workouts or decided to skip a day because she was tired or sore, she probably wouldn’t see the results she EARNED. Because that’s just it, she worked her butt of and EARNED those faster times.
As your running coach, I can definitely program the workouts I KNOW will help you become the runner you want to be. But, let’s be honest, YOU are the one who has to put in the work. Work your hardest and you’ll see results. Plain + simple. And if you are a runner who is self-motivated and ready to work your hardest to hit that next PR, but just struggle with what to do everyday to hit those times, LET ME HELP YOU! I’d love to program your next training plan, or even have you in one of my 3-week HIIT for Runners programs! If you’re ready to work hard, I’m ready to help you get those results!