Runners' Voice

The Pace Setter Question for May was kindly thought of by Brad Lewis: How do you plan your training? Do you use a coach? Who do you use? How much do you pay?

Tom O’Grady
Re coaching: I plan my own training. This worked very well for me when I graduated from college and I was able to gradually lower my times with consistency. I worked out with ARE in 2011 doing the (then) Wednesday night workouts. It was helpful to have people to run with. I decided to use a coach beginning in 2012 with the intention of the coach helping me improve my half and full marathon times. I used Scott Bassett. I had previously met Scott in person and we got along well. I paid him monthly to coach me. It worked very well having someone hold me accountable for workouts and making sure I reduced my mileage after peak efforts. I worked with Scott through the end of 2013. I was very successful with him because he knew I was very knowledgeable about training and he incorporated my feedback into the plan. I decided to stop using a coach at the beginning of 2014 primarily because I simply did not want a super structured plan anymore. I think coaches are helpful if you find one that is a good fit. And it can take some trial and error before finding someone who does work.  In the fall I decided to get my USAT Level 1 Coaching Certification and recently went to the Jack Daniels VdotO2 coaching clinic. I decided to do this because of my interest in running and to help runners achieve their goals. I would consider using a coach again in the future but my running is going well. If I do decide to be coached again I would use a coach who would respect my knowledge of running and play more of an advisory role. The transition to this role in coaching - athlete relationship should come naturally as a runner progresses from a beginner and advances with more experience.

Karen Bertasso
I’ve used a coach since 2013–the best thing I’ve done. I’ve gone from a 3:07 marathoner on my own to 2:45 (so far!) with a coach. I’ve had 2 main coaches, and still have great communication and relations with the first. He was very supportive of me trying someone different after 4 years and still allows me to bounce thoughts or questions off him. I firmly believe any good coach will have this level of maturity and support for any athlete, past or present. Both are well above my caliber of running, well educated, communicative and overall great individuals so I fully trust them.

Scott Mindel
I coach myself so I kind of structure my marathon cycles similar to ones that worked in the past. I am always integrating new workouts into my routine in order to do some workouts with others.

Sally Drake
I don’t use formal plans but stick to a general pattern that I’ve found over the years is most sustainable, flexible and minimizes injury and fatigue. My typical week includes of 5-6 days of running with one long run (distance depends on what I’m training for but for the last two years it’s up to 10 miles) and one tempo run. The other days are 3-6 miles at easy or moderate pace. Always a least one rest day, better if two. I do not use a coach.

Bob Irwin
FINAL.BobIrwin.jpgNo coach. After 30 years of running if I can’t figure out what works for me, I should stop. I plan my training for consistency. I like to race 1 mile to 1/2 marathon. If I am going to race shorter stuff I tend to make my repetitions shorter at my projected race pace. For a mile, for example, I do 8 to 10 400s at projected race pace, with 1 to 2 min recovery.  As a race gets closer, I aim to make recovery shorter.  For 5k to 10 training, I tend to do mile repeats at race pace. If I am building for a half marathon, I do more tempo runs at half pace for example.  I tend to year round run 20 minutes at half marathon pace. An example is on my fall week training it would be 10k paced miles on Tuesday 4x 1 mile with 2 min recovery.  On Thursday or Friday depending on what my resting heart rate is I will do a tempo run. Then a long run on Saturday or Sunday, again based on heart rate. As I have gotten older, I tend to pay attention to my resting heart rate closely. If I am more than 5 to 8 beats above my normal, I will not do a workout until it drops. I also tend to do strides 2 to 3 days a week after runs like 6 x 20 seconds.

Colleen Schermerhorn-Murray
Currently, I am training for Ironman Lake Placid, July 22, 2018.... as you can imagine this is taking a great deal of training and preparation. Yes, I currently use Andy Ruiz as my triathlon coach. Andy carefully plans my training on a weekly basis and will submit my plan to me using Training Peaks. This software is connected to my Garmin and all my workouts are loaded for his evaluation. My week will consist of swim, bike and run workouts that are tailored specifically to each athlete. Often, he will make adjustments depending on how I am feeling and take all factors into consideration. The workouts are very specific, and honestly I could never do this level of training on my own without a coach.  The cost is invaluable and I know it’s going to produce my best possible goal.

FINAL.EricMacKnight.jpgI make a color coded spreadsheet. I add the New England Grand Prix, Adirondack Grand Prix, New England Mountain Series, a couple routine annual races and some possible dream/stretch races along with a fall marathon. I select two goal races. I pick a race that is late spring typically (this year is Ribfest 5 Miler on June 17th). I use my old teammate and old roommate Jeff Goupil as my coach. No fee for his coaching.

Lisa DiCocco
I plan my training depending on what distance I’m training for and my goal race pace. I’ve had a coach for several years now, and Ryan and I both have worked with Jaime Julia for over two years. I love having a coach for a variety of reasons (plus, Jaime is an awesome coach and friend), but the biggest reason I chose to hire a coach is accountability.  If I’m paying someone to tell me to run, I’m going to make sure to get my money’s worth and run.  Each athlete has different goals and expectations; Ryan and I are pretty independent, so we may not pay as much in comparison to someone who needs more attention. Plus there may be other factors a coach has to consider when determining how much to charge, such as the type of training requested, the level of availability and accessibility expected, whether the coach will be coaching the athlete in a variety of disciplines, etc.

Patrick Lynskey
FINAL.PatrickLynskey.jpgI am a USATF certified coach as well as a personal trainer so I can make my own plans and workouts but I tend to be more consistent if I have another coach planning them.  I have paid $25 a year for Team Utopia for years to get workouts from coach Bowles but I think I would pay more if I felt I needed it. The amount depends on how many hours they are putting in and if they are hands off or hands on regularly and how often you get to train with them. If you are getting in person workouts multiple times a week it is worth more than getting a spreadsheet once a month. 
I am ok with a spreadsheet at the beginning of the month but some need more in your face coaching.

Danielle Maslowsky
I got into running later in life. I was a stay at home mom after having my son Karter (08') and daughter Nola (10') and started to run to stay active. I found out fairly quickly that running is my therapy, my medicine, my daily dose of sanity and patience. After some time running, it’s seems I may have even formed a dependency. Running has become a priority just like taking a shower in the morning or reading my kids a bedtime story at night. In 2012 I was talking to an accomplished runner, Tom Dalton, about you guessed it – running! Tom looked over my marathon plan and gave me a few tips. This conversation continued over weeks and months and grew into a coaching relationship and a true friendship. My “coach” Tom is a constant source of motivation, support and he truly believes in me and sees potential that I didn’t even know existed. He provides a personalized training plan based on my current fitness level and takes the guesswork out of training and racing. Tom has pushed me beyond the limits I could push myself to.
The key to training is always planning ahead in anticipation of the already busy daily routine that comes along with motherhood. The best thing I can do for myself is to schedule a few runs a week with friends or a group. Running friends keep each other accountable, making sure we put ourselves first when we forget to do that on our own. The key to staying motivated is having a training plan and a set of goals. When I have a training schedule to follow, I have smaller goals to accomplish before I can achieve the bigger goal that lies further out. I can see and track my progress along the way. It’s a tangible fulfillment.

LoriJon Kingsley
Right now I'm training for a 100k. I have been coached by Colleen De Reuck's husband, Darren, for 10 years (Elva Dryer connected me with him).  My training schedule arrives via email as a weekly every Sunday.

Brittany Winslow
I just do whatever I feel like on that particular day. I don’t use a coach. Yep! I also stay in touch with my high school and college coaches, my boyfriend is a coach and most of my friends are runners so if I ever need advice I can just ask them...although I don’t always take their advice, but I probably should.

FINAL.MikeLangevin.jpgMike Langevin
I continue to join the Fleet Feet Distance Program with Coach Dale Broomhead each session to keep up with training. Two nights a week we train. One night is a speed workout the other is more distance work.



Kristin Zielinski
I typically structure my training around both a spring and fall marathon (or just two half marathons in the spring). This gives me enough time to transition between racing seasons feeling rested and ready to tackle new goals. Throughout each season I work closely with my coach, Mat Nark, to strategically insert shorter distance races into my training plan. This helps me to test my fitness and to re-evaluate season race plans as necessary. I have worked with Mat for 2.5 years and in this time I have been able to decrease my race finish times dramatically. While a running coach isn't for everyone and may be inaccessible for some for various reasons, I have benefited greatly from working with someone to structure my training for me and to discuss race strategy and the importance of certain types of workouts. Perhaps even more valuable is the strong focus on an encouraging and supportive team environment regardless of your ability level or goals. Tough workouts are better with teammates. I'll admit it - I don't listen to Mat all the time, but I am certainly a stronger and more efficient runner than I was 2.5 years ago and have stayed injury free.

Kristen Hislop
I am a coach. I used someone last year (an elite athlete) and I was less than impressed. Back to self coaching.

Allison Konderwich
I’ve been training with Mat Nark (Nark Running Strategies) for 3.5 years. He has personalized running plans and group strength training sessions and I use both- prices may have changed since I first signed on with him but I pay around $150 per month.

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