Of course, a coach is not a coach unless she has clients, so maybe I am not a coach just yet.
At any rate, this weekend I went to a RRCA two day course in rocking Hartford, CT to become certified as a RRCA running coach. Why, you ask? And if I was to become certified as a coach, why a running coach and not a triathlon coach?
Excellent questions. Well, the truth is that although I have been tossing around various career ideas, becoming a running coach was not at the top of this list. I love running, I think about running almost all day every day, but still I hadn't seriously considered it as an option. My friend Kristina, however, (aka Marathon Mama), had been considering it, and asked me if perhaps I wanted to escape the domestic bliss of my life for a weekend to attend this course.
My first reaction was Nah... I'm not ready for that.
But my second reaction was, Hmmm. Why not? Get away? Spend sometime with my uber cool, super smart, super fun friend? See if coaching is something I might want to do?
So I agreed.
We started out Friday night, got some dinner (and wine, of course), and headed two hours west to our snazzy hotel. Okay, it wasn't snazzy. But it had a treadmill and it had free coffee available in the morning, so it was snazzy enough for moi. We were both wiped out upon arrival, not because it was particularly late, but instead because we had 1. had wine two hours previously, and 2. because Kristina had done some super crazy 20 miler with like 19.999 miles at marathon pace that morning, and I had gotten up at 4:45 a.m. to complete a brick that was supposed to be done on Saturday, but obviously couldn't be because I planned to attend this course all day. So although we are wild and crazy women, and although the strip of highway our hotel was located on looked ripe with potential with its seedy, airport bars, we reigned ourselves in and hit the sack by like 9:30 p.m. Oh yeah, we play hard.
The next morning I got up--and drum roll please....
of course. on that snazzy treadmill.
The treadmill was fine, but it was a fucking sauna in that minuscule, so-called fitness center. There were no fans, no air-conditioning, and the windows were tightly sealed. Oh Mama. Luckily, a short recovery run was on the docket, so I was fine. One interesting aspect of that run was that I was facing a mirror. I watched my legs run for 45 minutes. I like my legs. They look pretty strong. However, my gait is a little fucked up. I think one of my legs could be shorter than the other.
Onward. We went to the course. There were about 30 people there, and we were to meet in a tiny, tiny room. Uck. The instructors introduced themselves, and then we sat and listened and took notes.
Like 8-6:30 p.m. all day.
Actually I found it all very interesting. I like school, I like lectures, I like taking notes and I really don't mind sitting on my ass all day, as long as exercise preceded said sitting. The instructors were knowledgeable and good presenters, which helped. I especially like the section on exercise physiology. There were some interesting folk in our class. It's curious the cross section of people interested in becoming coaches. Curious--and scary.
After our marathon-length class, Kristina and I got dinner, had wine, (of course) and surprise! Hit the sack early again. I tell you, we are just wild. I got up early again the next morning to drumroll please....
of course. on the snazzy treadmill.
Are we getting Groundhog Day here or what???
This workout was a little harder then the day before, and involved 10 miles of running and several miles at marathon pace. I had to ring out my shirt when I finished. It was nasty. I was sweating so much that my inner ears pooled with sweat and my headphones kept falling out as a result. I had to wipe down that whole minuscule gym when I was done because my sweat had flown everywhere. Luckily, I was the only individual partaking in the awesomeness that was this fitness center, so no one was showered by my sweaty excretions. Kristina, lucky for her, was running outside.
The second day of the course was much like the first, except that it involved a little group work, so that made the time pass more quickly.
Because I know you are currently riveted, and want to know exactly what pearls of wisdom and insight I have now that I am a running coach aficionado, I will highlight some key points of my learning:
1. Don't take ibuprofen. Like ever. Or you'll die. Think hyponatremia. Think renal failure. Think holy shit I can't believe I took like four on IM day. (I am being facetious, but really, I DID learn that it is so, 100% not a good plan to take Ibuprofen on race day--or any day you work out. Not only is it dangerous, it doesn't help block the pain or prevent muscle damage in a way that will allow you to complete your workout or event more easily.)
2. Jesus, why does everyone insist on running slow miles AS THE ONLY way to train? Okay! I DO get it from a physiological stand-point. I get it's the best way to build an aerobic base. But there is more than one way to skin a cat, and long slow miles day after day with only a teeny tiny dose of possible pace work after like a thousand weeks of base is fucking BORING!!(And not terribly effective in getting you a PR, I will add.) Is it so WRONG that many of us want to run hard on some days--and not just LONGGGGGG? and not just at a heart rate just above one's sleeping heart rate? I repeat, Jesus!!! IT MAKES ME NUTS. Have these people read Jack Daniels, Matt Fitzgerald, Brad Hudson? It's not all Mark Allen my friends! Sure, that dude knows his stuff, but his way is NOT the only way!
3. Wow. You have to handle couch-to-5kers with total kid gloves. At least according to these folks.
4. Don't stretch after you run, even if it hurts so good. You could rip muscles fibers because your muscles are tender and fatigued.
5. I want to try the Nike Free shoes-- a little at a time. This is not because they were advocated for in this course. It's just because I thought about this a lot when I was spacing out.
6. Kristina is quiet in class. I, on the other hand, am obnoxious and raise my hand all of the time.
7. I am prejudiced against people who don't aim to run fast, but just run for fun and fitness. I am also prejudiced against people who run long slow distance and advocate running long slow distance, and who have run long slow distance for years and are still really fucking slow.
8. Runners think triathletes are vain, pompous, too competitive, too focused on image, and too Type A. Runners also feel it is just fine to say this to a triathlete's face. OH YEAH???? So what--maybe that IS true. BUT We are still cool. And smart. And interesting. And colorful. And vibrant. And full of energy and verve and drive.
I refrained from saying that runners are also just jealous of because triathletes of both genders are fucking hot compared to their running counterparts. This is, of course, not always true. Kara Goucher, for example, is unbelievably hot. But triathletes have fantastic fantastic fantastic bodies compared to runners. There is simply no debating that. So there.
9. I think I would be a good coach. I really do.
10. I pee more than the average person. I had to get up like 10 tens during the class.
That's what I learned. Some other stuff too, but that is the best of what I learned. Hope my learning somehow benefited you.