Tag Archives: Marathon Training

Everyone Needs a Coach

I strongly believe that everyone needs a coach; someone who instructs, trains and directs you to achieve a specific goal. Coaches can come in many forms such as parents, athletic coaches, financial advisers, health coaches or spiritual leaders.
I can’t deny the enormous benefits I’ve received from having several coaches in my life. As an entrepreneur, our business coach has helped us navigate the ups and downs of business ownership. Our pastor, who is our spiritual coach teaches, encourages and guides us along our faith walk. As a Chiropractic Physician, I coach my patients along their health journey; not only helping them through their pain crisis, but also providing them with the tools they need to express optimal health.

Recently I decided to utilize the services of another coach, but first, here’s why. About 12 years ago I completed my first race; the Disney Marathon (26.2 miles). I literally went from couch to marathon with very little training. To make a long story short, I ran most of the race in excruciating pain.  (Notice the huge “ice pack” bulge on my right knee in the picture below.) The recovery was also long and brutal. After I foolishly signed up for and completed a half marathon (13.1) the next year, I made the decision that I didn’t like running. In fact, I stopped running completely.


Fast forward to 2012, three years after relocating to a new area, I decided to give running another shot. I joined two running clubs as a way to stay active and meet new people. Starting slowly with low mileage seemed to be a better fit for me. I eventually ran my first 5K. Since then, I’ve run a variety of races including 7 half marathons. Although over the years I’ve grown to enjoy running, one prevailing thought remained; I had no desire to ever run a marathon again…even after watching many of my friends train for and run their first marathon.

At the beginning of this year, however, I started thinking about the possibility of attempting the marathon distance again (long story). The thought persisted and I gradually convinced myself to take on the challenge. I registered for the Disney Marathon again…why Disney?… I have something to prove :-).  Plus I hope to replace the negative memories associated with my painful  first race with  more positive ones.


Having had success with coaches in other areas of my life, I knew that if I wanted to also succeed at training and completing a marathon, I needed a coach. I sought the services of Coach Tia from Training In Action. The experience so far has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve been running consistently under her guidance and direction since July. I decided that during this process, I was going to be coach-able. Although I understand the anatomy, bio-mechanics and physiology of the body, I also understood that I needed to rely on her experience and expertise regarding running (and boy! is she an experienced expert having run several marathons and over 100 half marathons!!). I decided beforehand that I was going to follow her recommendations and stick to the plan.

She’s challenged my perspective on what I thought I could or couldn’t do… It turns out, I could do ‘it’ . So far, I’ve met or exceeded most of the goals that she’s set for me and have been injury free throughout the process. In fact, I’ve run my fastest 3 miler, 5 miler and half marathon…ever.  Although I still have about a month before completing this marathon, I’m becoming more excited and confident with each passing week. Having the right coach does that for you. All of a sudden something that once seemed difficult or unattainable, now seems possible and within reach.

Coaches are experts in their field. They have a wealth of experience and knowledge; and more importantly, they desire to help you to succeed. Set your goal and get a coach to help you achieve it.

  • Be coach-able
  • Follow the plan
  • Be flexible and open to change

If you’re already living your dream, become a mentor to someone and coach them through to accomplishing their goal.

In what area have you utilized the services of a coach? What was your experience?

My Top 5 Distance Running Tips…for newbies

A few months ago, I decided to sign up for the Lady Speed Stick Women’s Half Marathon in St. Petersburg, FL. This will be my fist half marathon since completing the Disney Full and Miami ING half over 7 years ago. Over the last month, I gradually increased the distance of my long runs. This past weekend, I completed my longest training run since I signed up for the half. I managed to eek out twelve miles; just 1.1 miles shy of the official half marathon distance. 
I’ve learned so much over the last few months, but there are things that I learned specifically from my longer runs. Unfortunately, most were learned the hard way (by trial and lots of error). In an attempt to help some poor inexperienced running soul like myself, I’ve decided to share the top five tips I learned when doing a long run…in no particular order.

  1. Keep your running shoes current and in good condition. Over time, running shoes lose their shock absorbency and may lead to injuries such as shin splints or knee and ankle pain. A good rule of thumb is to replace your running shoes every 300 to 400 miles. My shoes have endured over 500 miles since I purchased them back in March. They still looked fairly new, but I felt like I was running on the bare concrete…ouch! Not a good idea to wear worn out shoes on a long runs…or a short runs for that matter.
  2. Be prepared. Carry energy gel or chews such as GU . Most energy gels have no fat, fiber or protein. They are carbohydrate gels that  are absorbed quickly into the blood stream and provide the body with the necessary calories and nutrients to fuel exercise. I ventured out on a 12 miles with none. Needless to say, by mile 8, I was extremely fatigued and all I wanted was to take a nap.
  3. Have adequate hydration. Usually for long runs (8 or more miles), it’s recommended to begin hydrating 3-4 days before your run and have 4-8 ounces for every 20 minutes of running or as needed for thirst. I only took a 4 oz bottle with me, but fortunately I knew where all the water stops were. Which brings me to my next point…
  4. Know your route. Be familiar with the route you’re planning on running…or at lease run with someone who is. Know where there are areas that if needed, you can refill your bottle, get a drink or use the rest room.  Our route included the local YMCA and a neighborhood park that had both water fountains and a potty room.
  5. Remove your rings or not If you’re like me, after running for about an hour or more my hands swell up. I notice that when I’m wearing my wedding ring, the numbness and tingling in that finger is more noticeable than the other fingers. Of course, when I want to remove it, I can’t.  Hand swelling is a fairly common problem. The cause is unclear, but it appears to be a result of the way your body and blood vessels respond to the increased energy demands of your muscle while running or exercising.  

Here’s an extra tip for good measure. Run with someone with a slightly faster or slower pace than you  (at least to the point where they aren’t impeding your progress). The ladies I run with are faster than I am Their pace has helped to improve mine. On our longer runs, they appreciate my pace in the beginning of the run because it prevents them from starting out too fast and they can conserve their energy for toward the end of the run.

I still consider myself a novice runner and I’m sure there are tips that are equally, if not more important. So please, feel free to share your thoughts or tips. I’d love to learn from them.