Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Are You Coachable?

You are marathon training and out for the 12-mile run scheduled by your coach. It is a beautiful day, your friends are running 20 miles and urging you to continue with them. Peer pressure isn’t just for teenagers!  So, do you abandon your coach’s plan and run the 20 miles with them?
    Or, your running group starts out the workout at a faster than prescribed pace.  So instead of running 8:30 pace you see 7:30 on your Garmin! Do you slow down?
    In a magazine, you read a 5K track workout that says will help you run faster. Do you change your weekly coach prescribed track workout and do the one that is in the magazine?
     When working with a coach and deciding to be coached you really need to ask yourself, “Am I coachable?”  Will you follow the plan that you agreed to with your coach? You need to decide in fairness to yourself and your coach.  After all, if you consistently rearrange the coach’s plan, how will you know if the plan is working if you do not follow it? What is the purpose of having a coach if you do not work together to create a plan that you can follow to reach your goal? So trusting and following the plan are big parts of being coachable.
     Another facet of coachability is being open to learning and new ideas. If you think you know it all or only want to do things a certain way you will not learn from your coach. Sure, it is OK to ask questions and try and understand but it is not OK to doubt. You need to have full confidence in your coach and the agreed upon plan. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, your mind is very powerful so if you doubt your workouts your performance will suffer and so will your training. 
     Communicate with your coach and be honest. All of us want to tell our coach we hit our pace or that workout felt good. This cannot happen all the time. You are not a bad runner or failure because you had a sub par workout. If you are feeling sore, feel an injury coming on or if you just did not hit the workout-prescribed times, you need to have a thorough and honest debrief with your coach. All the feedback and information you can provide will only strengthen the plan and relationship you are building. The stronger your athlete/coach relationship is the more likely you will see success in your running and accomplishing your goals. A good coach will use your feedback to adjust your training plan to keep you on track to be successful without overtaxing your body.  
     When it comes to athletic training, patience really is a virtue and good things will come to those who resist looking for a quick fix.  Don’t get annoyed if you don’t think things are happening fast enough.
    I am afraid that patience is not one of my virtues and I am constantly working to remain patient and understand that even minute improvements in my performance take time.  Don’t expect one workout to bring instant results.  Remember, you and your coach are in it together for the long haul.  Trust, respect and communication between athletes and coaches are what lead to successful performances.

"Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead." 
Kara Goucher 


  1. I totally struggle with this with my coach. I want things to happen right now and he always preaches patience. Good news is I normally listen to him because he's normally right but it's still hard. Although, making me be patient is one of the reasons I like having a coach so much

  2. Having a coach will improve your running. Keep up your training. Thanks for your response.