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On Training with a Coach [Guest Post]

June 25, 2018

On Training with a Coach [Guest Post]

When we put together our Picky Oats Kickstarter rewards last year we knew we wanted to offer more than just the usual shirt and trucker hat swaggy fare. One of the options we came up with was three months of personal tri or run coaching from our in-house pro coaches. Thailyr worked with our co-founder Steph Bruce and had a major breakthrough race, so we asked her to share a bit about her experience training with a (virtual) coach for the first time. A good read for anyone considering upping their game with hired help. Bonus! Steph chimes in with her top three marathon tips.

Take it away, ladies!

I never quite understood the true value of a running coach until I was fortunate enough to have one myself. Through my Picky Oats Kickstarter pledge I received three months of coaching from Picky co-founder Steph Bruce, perfect for my training leading up to the LA Marathon - my goal race.

My past training plans were always found online or in a book, the paces arbitrarily chosen based on what I thought I could do, not necessarily what I was capable of running. (If I’m being honest, I probably had yet to give myself enough credit.)

Working with a coach took away the stress of feeling like I was doing too much, or too little. Steph evaluated my workouts and paces each week and based the following week’s workouts off of the fitness I had at that moment. I could put all my extra energy into doing the hard workouts instead of spending time stressing about what type of workout to do and when.

Besides receiving the actual workouts each week, one of the best parts about having a coach is the knowledge and experience they bring to the table. Marathon training is a mental game and there were times when I wasn’t sure I was fit for it, like when I got the flu just over a month out from race day. Steph was there to assure me that even some of her best performances have come from training cycles where less-than-ideal situations had occurred.

My previous PR was a 3:39 and with the fitness I gained over my training cycle we agreed that I could pace between 7:45 and 7:50min/mi on race day, which would have me finishing between 3:23 and 3:25. I ended up finishing with a 3:21 and blew my own damn mind. I knew I had a performance like this in me, but having a coach helped build the confidence I needed to actually go out and do it. I’ll forever be thankful for the ability to work with Steph for my marathon PR and BQ (Boston Qualifier) and will always remember her sound advice the night before:

“Even if it doesn’t feel good, even if it never feels good, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it."


Steph's Marathon and Taper Tips

1. DON'T DOUBT YOURSELF. The days leading into a race and even race morning can be a whirlwind of emotions. You've done all the hard work and now your mind is telling you, you're a fool. Don't listen. Look back at the days you were scared mid workout, but you believed and found your pace.

2. THE RACE IS THE REWARD. and should be perceived as a celebration rather than dreadful event. Remember you signed up for this (or maybe a crazy friend or coach made you). Races are our opportunities to push against something meaningful and worthwhile. It's our chance to feel truly alive, and that we're risking something to find the outcome.

3. IT ALWAYS HURTS. Expect the race to hurt. We don't train for it to feel easy, we train so we can tolerate it.

Steph Bruce Marathon Training

Steph Bruce, professional runner + coach

[Running with the Bruces]