Why I Hired A Coach

I’ve always been an active person. For as long as I can remember, I was running, playing basketball, throwing a football–doing something. In that aspect, I’m a natural athlete.

BUT, I’ve never been really good at any one sport. I could do most pretty well, but excelling? Yeah, no.

There were times when I wished I was the star, the go-to one on the team, and I think maybe I did have it in me to be that person. But I knew I was the reason I wasn’t.

Self-doubt is a killer.

Basketball was my sport in high school. I was a gym rat and lived and breathed basketball. I went to every open gym and practiced my shot, and I had a very good shot (still do 😉 ). You’d think I was the star of the team.

But, when it came to game time, I would always choke. I would get so nervous that I would often pass instead of shooting.

When I started running a couple of years ago, I knew that I wasn’t the best/fastest runner out there, but I also knew that like with basketball, I could get better if I practiced. I’ve seen myself become faster as time has passed and my confidence has grown.

Yet, with qualifying for Boston being “the big game,” I’m nervous I’ll choke. Again.

I knew I needed help if I wanted to qualify for Boston. Not so much because of the time needed, but because of the belief needed to achieve it. For me, qualifying for Boston isn’t so much about running the actual race, but believing I can actually get there.

My coach is Susan Loken and her coaching tag line is Believe Train Become. When I was recommended to her and saw it on her website, I fell in love with it, and with her, instantly.

“The first step in achieving any goal is to believe – believe in your purpose, your potential, and your ability to succeed. That is the basis of BTB Coaching.”

I have trouble with believing– believing in my potential, my ability. I wanted a coach who could of course help me get faster, but I also wanted a coach who could help me see that I CAN DO IT.

Hanson’s Marathon Method certainly helped me make a breakthrough, and I considered using the plan to train for St. George and my BQ. But the confidence I had going in to NYC Marathon and the confidence I had post, wasn’t enough to make me feel like I could do it on my own.

I wanted a coach who would challenge me, not by giving me a prescribed pace, but to ask me, “What. Can. You. Do?” Because I have a tendency to sell myself short.

Before the DBacks Race Against Cancer 5k, I asked coach how I should run the race.

5k Race
Run Race by feel
-Mile 1 at 85% effort
-Mile 2 at 90% effort
-Mile 3 as fast as you can go

But, but, what pace?!? What does Run Race by Feel mean?!?!

You know what? Had she told me to run XX pace, that’s what I would’ve done. And I probably would’ve never tried for a sub 7 minute mile (and I wasn’t really trying, I was just running as fast as I freaking could because that’s what she said to do in mile 3, LOL).

This morning’s track workout was a doozy. It was a Ladder Workout, different to the ones I’ve done before (by distance: 400, 800, 1200, etc). This was by time…and by effort. Again, I wanted to know WHAT PACE I SHOULD RUN. But coach didn’t want me to worry about my watch, she wanted me to start at half marathon pace for 5 minutes, and try and go faster on each interval.


The picture below was the second set–5 minutes/30 seconds RI (Rest Interval), 4 minutes (30 sec RI), etc.

For SIX MINUTES I ran under a 7 minute pace and for ONE FULL MINUTE, under 6!!!! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could run this fast. That is the gosh darn truth.

But it’s not so much about the times, it’s about how I didn’t hold myself back. It’s these baby steps I know will help me face St. George head on–without fear.

It’s early on in the training, but I know that having a coach look after me, helping me tackle paces I’ve never done (and safely), while also helping me *believe*, will get me that BQ ticket–and something even more along the way ❤

–Have you worked with a coach before? How was your experience?

–Do you tend to hold yourself back? How/what do you do to negate self-doubt?





25 responses

  1. Awesome!!! Good job!! My high school soccer coach was a running NUT.. He would make us run sprints and long runs, just run run run. Beating some of his challenges that I beat are still some of my favorite accomplishments! What an inspiration coaches can be 🙂

  2. I don’t work with a coach. I have been part of organized training groups that had coaches but never one who specifically wrote out workouts for me. I don’t really follow plans either though- I guess I basically coach myself and have a bunch of friends and training partners who hold me accountable. I can see why people have coaches and it looks like a great set up for you, plus I love the motto/slogan of her coaching!

    I think running intervals, workouts, and races by feel is the way to go. Different paces feel easier or harder depending on recovery, the course, the weather, and well… life. Giving each interval a number to hit can be defeating if you’re say, one second off, and then you feel bad about it even though you gave a great effort.

    • The mental aspect of running has always been tough for me and with a big goal like Boston, I felt a coach was the way to go. You’re absolutely right about getting/feeling defeated by paces. There are so many factors involved with running and workouts that a pace can’t dictate whether a run was a good one or not.

  3. I am so excited for you! Sounds like a fun time workout – I love it!! I am also really glad you decided to go a different route than Hansons. I think having a coach will keep things fresh and interesting for you. I know that as Hansons plan went on, I’ve just gotten incredibly bored of doing the same thing week after week. It’s so monotonous and I can’t wait to spice things up too 🙂

  4. Good for you! I use to work with a coach–I saw a lot of improvement in my times and consistency. Best were the corporate track workouts with all his other runners. Still trying to find a replacement coach … that one seemed to have landed himself in the clink.:)

  5. I’ve never worked with a coach directly but I think that following your journey over the next few months might encourage me to consider it should I ever seriously attempt to get in the BQ ballpark 🙂 Curious, is your coach online or local to the Phoenix area? And, that is fabulous on your splits and paces!

    • I don’t think I would’ve hired a coach if I wasn’t attempting a BQ. She’s local, too!!! I kind of wanted one local so it worked out, although I have a friend who has a distant coach and that has worked really well for her too.

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