The other night I fell asleep thinking about how fortunate I have been to have truly awesome human beings requesting my coaching services. I wish I could take all the credit for them feeling stronger, getting faster, body composition changes, getting healthier and achieving small and big goals alike. But I cannot. It is the partnership of me and each runner as an individual, as well as the supporting cheer squad. It all adds up to something incredible. The growth of the Run With Gina (Rwg) community has been tremendous in a very short period of time. Some people want to compare my program to group training programs and it just is not the same, plain and simple, end of that conversation.
My program is based on several principles, some of which I have blogged about in the past, such as my brand of using evidence-based research as the foundation of performance enhancement and reducing injury incidence. I also subscribe to the theory of four ingredients for athletic success by former Olympian, Olympic running coach, exercise physiologist, researcher, and my exercise physiology professor, Dr. Jack Daniels. The four ingredients to success in the opinion of Dr. Daniels are; inherent ability, motivation, opportunity, and direction.
By the way there is not one college or elite level running coach that does not know Dr. Jack Daniels, his work and his contributions to distance training as we know it. Every book you can buy on marathon training should have his name/work somewhere as a reference. The four ingredients to success are not scientific principles Dr. Daniels is known for but have become guiding principles in how I work with my runners. Lets take a closer look at them and what they mean to Rwg.
Inherent ability; this is the genetic component. No matter what your talents are, there is a ceiling for your potential. I am not working with performance athletes, but I am working with people that took up recreational distance running and want to be the best they can be. It is my job to figure out where they are at and if their desires even match their inherent ability. If so, pave the road to get there over time and if not be truly transparent with them so we can find smaller goals to achieve and celebrate.
Motivation; athletes that use their inherent ability and those that may not have a high ability but keep working towards their personal best. The motivation of my runners is very high. Have you ever heard of the Hawthorne Effect, also called the “observer effect”? Simply put, it is the concept that behaviors change when one knows they are being observed. As a virtual coach, I have a proactive style. I am always watching what my runners are or are not doing via my coaching platform. They know this and complete more runs than someone might when they know the accountability from the coach is slim to none. I can honestly say that since the inception of my virtual half/full marathon coaching program, 97% of my runners have completed 90-100% of their run training in preparation for their races. That is pretty good statistics if you ask me, especially when sometimes my biggest competition is the couch and Netflix.
Opportunity; environment. The environment of the Rwg family is extremely motivating as well. I may be a virtual, individual coach, but the virtual family has provided more support and motivation to my runners and it is truly worth its weight in gold. There is A LOT of power in vicarious experiences. The proof is in the pudding with those that invest time in being their best. Naturally, it has others wondering what their possibilities may be. It has been incredibly awesome and humbling to watch the dynamic of the Rwg family evolve into something so inspiring.
Direction; coaching, training plans, and teachers. Ah, the last ingredient to success, the “direction”. Let’s get real, you can get a training plan online anywhere or from any group training program. What you won’t get is “my” training plan/coaching. Have you ever heard of pride of ownership? My name is on my plan, stickers, shirts, and hats. It is my brand. I take pride in what I have to offer others that goes leaps and bounds beyond just run training. I offer a mutually beneficial relationship built on honesty and trust. Skeptical about what a virtual coach can do for you? Only one way to find out. You invest in me and I will invest in you.