What is your background/qualifications that led you to coaching?
I grew up swimming and just dabbled in running in HS and college. It was after college living in NYC that I joined the New York Road Runners Club and took running classes. After 5 years in the city I moved to Boulder, CO for grad school. While in school I participated in every study conducted in the Exercise Science program. I learned a ton from the faculty and students. You can't help but learn about the sport living in Boulder surrounded by professionals. I was more focused on triathlons in Colorado, but did plenty of road races as well. My training was completely unstructured. Other than 3-4 miles at the same pace 4 times a week!
Years of experience coaching? Years of experience running?
It was after moving back to NY that I got into coaching. It started with teaching spin and coaching a Y triathlon program. I got certified as a USA Triathlon coach and started working with athletes of all ages and abilities. I've been coaching since 2006. People often ask how long I trained for my first Ironman, and my answer is a lifetime. It is the same with coaching. I draw on my years of swimming (age 8 through college) and sailing both as an athlete and instructor (age 9 through college). I draw on the experiences my boys had in various sports with many different coaches.
Do you have a personal coach, why or why not?
I don't, but I really should. I need someone to kick my butt. I did have one for a bit in Colorado and then was coached for a year by a professional triathlete. As many people know, just because you do well in the sport it does not make you a great coach. I typically resent that, as I was an accomplished sailor and thought I was a great instructor!
What distances do you specialize in/PRs in those distances?
I don't really have a specialty. I do believe it helps to have raced a variety of distances. I love telling people about my first marathon (NYC) in 1996. I had never eaten, walked, or gone to the bathroom during a run before and I did it all! I made it to the finish line on handfuls of tootsie rolls and chocolate kisses grabbed at the aid stations.
Do you program unique schedules for each athlete, or have pre-written programs for specific distances/time goals. How do you program around your athlete’s schedules?
Every athlete is different and so are their plans. I use a software program called Training Peaks. Since I coach a lot of triathletes, I have over 1200 workouts loaded. I have aqua jogging, VASA trainer, rowing, strength and more. I ask each athlete to complete a questionnaire to let me understand their goals (which we also talk through) along with their schedule. I then develop the program so that it fits into their life.
Do you specialize in coaching specific distances and or surfaces, i.e. road or trail?
I focus on road runners although I do have some folks who dabble in off road as well. I'd love to see more people get on cross country and trail courses. I'll give a plug for the October Cross Country Classic put on by USATF. It is on the iconic Saratoga Park cross country course. An October event that might have you running on a beautiful fall day or traipsing through the snow. Either way it is a blast to race the course. Plus you have all summer to get up there and get some trial runs in.
Do you prescribe cross-training as a part of your training schedule?
As a triathlete absolutely! I am always trying to bring people to the dark side. I encourage people to go cross country skiing in the winter and play tennis in the summer. Doing sports that have you moving laterally are great for your running.
Do your athletes have the ability to contact you as needed? Or are check-ins planned on a weekly/monthly basis?
I don't set limits on check in - athletes can text, call, email.
What is your first step when an athlete comes to you with pain or injury?
I play doctor. Just kidding. I will give some feedback and then refer out based on the issue. I've seen a lot of injuries, so often it can help give better information/way to describe to a doctor.
Do you offer free consultations to your prospective clients?
I charge $50 for a consultation. People will get more than enough great nuggets to justify the meeting even if we decide not to work together.
What medium do you deliver your plans in?
Training Peaks. There is a free option or athletes can choose to have more data by paying a monthly fee.
What is the address of your coaching website/Best way to contact you?
Hislop Coaching email@example.com and Hislop Coaching on Facebook.
Ed. Note: In addition to being a fitness coach at the Southern Saratoga Y, she has been the co-director of the Freihofer’s Run for Women for decades.