The Everyman: Get A Coach

Working with a coach will lead to better performances on race day — and who doesn't enjoy that? Photo:

Working with a coach can provide huge benefits to endurance athletes.

“I felt the pillow!”

I uttered these words after swimming one lap (50 yards) in the pool at my gym the other day.

My new swimming coach broke into a smile and said something to the effect of “Great! Now go do it again.”

I didn’t really hear her. I was too absorbed in my own sense of accomplishment.

I had felt the pillow.

There isn’t really a pillow in the water. What it means is that I executed a better pull, which is the power phase of the swimming stroke. In layman’s terms, the more pillow you feel on your hands as you bring them toward your body, the further you will propel yourself forward with each stroke. That equals better efficiency and faster swimming.

This being a running blog, I won’t bore you with the other details from my swim session. But I want to reiterate something that was published on this website two weeks ago: 5 Reasons To Hire A Running Coach.

There’s a wide range in the level of coaches out there. I worked with another swim coach earlier this year and she made some good, high-level changes to my swimming. My new coach is fine tuning everything and I’m confident my swim times will drop in the triathlons I compete in next year.

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There’s no way I could have done any of this on my own.

So go out and get yourself a coach.

If you’re a marathoner trying to break the 3-hour mark or a running rookie looking to finish your first 5K or 10K, a coach can offer you a lot of help. As endurance athletes, many of us think we have it figured out. Our running form is perfect and we have race nutrition and hydration down to a science. Sound familiar?

After one or two sessions with a coach, you will most likely realize these are false claims. There’s always room for improvement.

A coach can tweak our form, provide workouts and training plans, help stave off injuries, assist with rehab, and a host of other things.

If you’re unsure of where to start, check with your local running shop. They’ll either point you in the right direction or perhaps invite you to a group session at their store. A certified running coach offers a free running clinic about once a month at my local store.

As winter descends on us and cold weather starts to envelop the northern half of the country, now is the time to work on your form and fitness before you start training for your first race of 2014. Working with a coach is a great option.

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