Do you ever look at runners’ Strava or Garmin Connect data and wonder if they are training too much or not enough? That is exactly what most runners do, too much or not enough. If you have followed my blogs since the inception, then you know I always say too much is not better than just enough. There is a point of diminishing returns. No more bang for your buck. Writing checks your body can’t cash. It happens folks, I see it all the time. It is hard to know when to say when because that is different for each person.
My programs are like other programs as they have endurance work, hills, speed, and tempo. Everything other than aerobic work is considered “quality sessions”. However, my programs are customized to my runners needs. Often, even they don’t know what they need, but when I see their run data, I get a good idea of what they need. When I get to know their true desires, motivation, support system, and personalities, I know even more. My main concern as a coach is that my runners get around injury and improve performance and/or health. I don’t want to throw everything including the kitchen sink at a runner that is new to me. But that isn’t set in stone. They may be able to handle it. Same with my experienced people, I may find it is best to pull them back. There is always a time and place to progress and regress my runner’s program.
This brings me to the story of Chris. She recently trained for her third marathon with me. I first met Chris more than two years ago when I went to give a seminar to a running group she belongs to, the South Bay Sole Sisters. At that time, she approached me to ask about a pain she was having while training for a marathon that was a couple month away. She ran her race and a few months later she sent me an email with the title, “I need a coach”. We started working virtually together and she ran a 20-minute personal best at her race! Within days, she was talking to me about running another marathon. I said, “Why do you want to run another one”? Her reply, “Well, I think I can do better”. After a couple of months, training for her second marathon with me started. She ran another personal best, this time by four minutes.
As you can imagine, it was not long before the words, “another marathon” came whispering out her lips. After another couple of months, training for her third marathon with me began, which she just ran last weekend. About three months ago, she had a setback, an on the job injury that affected her running. She sought therapy with a chiropractor and I gave her exercises. Long story short, I had her take a week off running and took away all quality sessions when she returned to running. From that point on it would be all aerobic work. I told her that she could still have an awesome race with just easy, aerobic training. But why take away all those workouts that can benefit her on race day? She believed she had a work injury and I believed that we could not ignore that maybe her body is tired. Maybe she needed more rest between marathons. I knew what she did in the previous two training seasons and I believed her training needed to be regressed, not progressed. I knew she still had good chances of having an awesome race with easy running because I know all the quality work she did to prepare for the last two races. She trusted me because I had already earned her trust by guiding her to improvement in the past and putting her safety above everything else.
As you can see in the attached photo, she did in fact have an awesome race with another 16-minute personal best and achieved her Boston qualifying time off the NEW Boston qualifying standards. These results are not by chance my friends. They are from experienced, one on one coaching with personal relationships as the pillar to success. No, I don’t do group training, I do individual virtual training and it is in fact a labor of love.
Congratulations Chris! Her story is awesome. I hope you feel inspired to share with your friends on Facebook.