Thursday, November 20, 2014


"A coach is someone who tells you what you don't want to hear, who has you see what you don't want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be."
~ Tom Landry

Back in 2007, when I started training for my first marathon I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.  I had never run longer than 12 miles, I'd never eaten or drank anything mid-run, and I was still wearing cotton tees and soccer shorts for workouts.  Somehow I'd missed the memo that explained how pretty much everything had changed since I'd run in college.  Upon completing my first marathon, I realized I had a (pardon my French) shitload to learn.  The single cup of coffee and half of a Pria Bar that I'd eaten the morning of the race lasted until about mile 16.  After that, I started hallucinating and hearing weird voices.  Lesson one, must eat more food on race day.  This spring, I'll be running my 11th marathon.  Holy crap!  Where did the time go??  Over the years, I've done a lot of research and tried several different training plans to both improve my performance and to make the whole experience from day one to race day more enjoyable  With the knowledge I gained along with a boat load of training, I have been able to bring my marathon time down quite a bit.  Obviously, I'm thrilled about that.  But over these past few years, as I've ramped up both my effort and my mileage, I've started to feel the need for outside support, for tips beyond what the magazines offer and, to be totally honest, for some simple words of encouragement to help lift my spirits when the training gets rough.  Last year, I started working with a coach.  Up until that point, I had always figured that only elite runners had coaches.  I was a working mom and running was just something I did on the side.  Why would someone like me use a coach?  To which I now would answer, why not?


I coach both high school girls and grade school girls (ages 7-12).  Running, in particular, can be really hard.  Especially for the younger girls.  They don't say it, but I know these kids appreciate coming to practice and not having to think about what they are going to do.   They just want to go.  And having a coach enables them to do this.  I have also seen the impact a few words of encouragement can have.  It's powerful stuff.  So, why would I not give myself the same option if it was available to me?


After my 7th marathon, I started to poke around and see what my options were.  Turns out, there are tons of running coaches out there and they work with athletes of all ages and abilities.  So, I decided to go for it.  I chose to work with Lowell Ladd of 2L Coaching.  I liked the fact that he was an experienced and competitive runner but also a working dad with 2 kids.  My relationship with my coach is pretty basic.  I follow his training plan, I log my workouts so he can check them out, and once in a while I check in via email or phone if I have specific questions or concerns or for a pre or post race discussion.  It's the perfect system for me, given my schedule.  No, I'm not an elite athlete.  But, I take my running pretty seriously.  I find that I'm always in need of some help, both mentally and physically.  And my husband, bless him, can only do so much.  That's where Coach Ladd comes in.  Here are some key reasons I like working with him.  Along with my workouts, he provides:

~ encouragement
Way to rock the workout.  It would certainly seem that your body had a lot more in it than you realized.  Sometimes the mind helps and sometimes it gets in the way.

~ pre/post race support
After today’s miles, the hay is in the barn and all you have to do is go out and crank out 26.2 on Sunday.  Easy enough, right?  I am sure you will do great.  Just relax, get through the early miles with as little thought about it as possible, and buckle down the last 10K.  Good luck!

~ accountability
Have you done today’s tempo run yet? Just wondering how that goes/went.  I know you were chewed up early in the week, but hope that the day off Wednesday allowed your legs to spring back.

~ freak out management
I know you were not sure about getting in much running this week, but the two runs Tuesday and yesterday were a good way to make sure you won’t lose fitness this week.  I hope you are enjoying extra time with your girls.

~ reassurance
You really rolled a strong 15 today for having to do it in the hot weather.  It certainly seems like you are in a good groove with the marathon training especially for it being summer and far out from the race.  Let’s keep it rolling!

As a runner, I have changed a lot since I started working with Lowell.  I have a new appreciation for the sport and for my own body and what it can do.  I work hard because I can see the results every time I race, regardless of my place or time.  I want to push myself because I know someone other than myself is expecting me to.  I like that.  It works for me.  So, yeah, I have a coach.  Go team!

Listen to this:
Ride - TV on the Radio  


  1. Isn't coaching and being coached at the same time kind of crazy? You can't ever slack off. You give your kids this hard workout, and then when it's your turn you have to practice what you preach. Same thing with races- my comments to kids that I coached would come back to haunt me!

    1. Yes!!! Living in both worlds is nuts. I literally ran a 5k in the snow bc I'd told my girls to stop complaining the day before in the pouring rain. Works both ways....good and bad!! Another great reason to be coached.

  2. Interesting, I've never had a coach. I don't consider myself 'fast' enough to have one, but I do like the encouragement idea!

    1. I can't recommend it highly enough. Just think, I coach ALL of my high school girls, and their abilities range from a 12 minute mile to a 5:05. No joke. And I give each one the individual attention they should have. If your goal is to improve on your own performance, then you can make it happen with a coach, no doubt! Plus, you could always go with Molly from PieceofCake (see above), I bet she'd be a fun coach! :)