Happy Hump Day and welcome back to the Running Coaches’ Corner linkup! Today is a super special linkup because today we’re celebrating Global Running Day.
For those unfamiliar with Global Running Day, the purpose is to venture out for a quick run and celebrate and enjoy our collective favorite activity. So if you haven’t yet run today and would like to participate in Global Running Day, put on your running shoes and head out for a quick (or long) run!
In celebration of Global Running Day, my fellow Running Coaches’ Corner coaches and I are sharing what took us from “runner” to “running coach.” Mine’s a bit of a long story so grab a snack, sit back, relax, and read on!
From the Couch to a 5K
I started running in 2010. I was overweight from my first pregnancy and very uncomfortable in my own skin. Everyone (plus Mr. Google) said, “it takes nine months to gain the weight. It will take nine months to lose the weight.” Nine months came and went. I was in the position of having to buy all new clothes to fit my new body and frankly, I was not pleased. It was a mental battle and I was not winning. One day I finally had enough. I was done being overweight. I had never been overweight in my life and I certainly wasn’t prepared to start then. I did some movement assessments to see where my body was at, and thankfully the stats are a lot better now than they used to be!!
I did the only thing I knew to do. I started running. In order to lose weight, I knew I had to burn more calories than I was taking in, and running would allow me to create a negative energy balance. I started running with intervals. I adjusted my food intake as well to accommodate my goals. Between the running and the intelligent eating, I began losing weight.
Once my weight goal was achieved, I realized I needed a new challenge. I was only running about three miles at a time, and even then I was doing mostly intervals. One day I challenged myself to run three miles straight through. Once I was proficient at running three miles, I slowly increased the distance until one day I ran six miles without stopping.
Running Changes Everything
I’ll never forget that day. I was so proud of myself. I started out un-athletic, unmotivated, overweight, and generally down about life. And then one day *poof* I could run six glorious, continuous miles.
Nah, who am I kidding. It wasn’t that easy at all. It took work – a lot of work – to get to that point. I struggled. I doubted myself. But I pushed myself. I pushed myself every day to accomplish my goals and I did accomplish my goals. Once I could run six continuous miles, I knew anything was possible. It would take me 4 years before I would sign up for a race of substance, but the fire had been lit within.
It was this sentiment, this perseverance – this knowledge that anything was achievable and attainable with proper training and dedication — that drove me to my current position as a running coach. I didn’t know it then, but it was just a matter of time before I would become a coach. There was a brief year or so when I seriously contemplated becoming a personal trainer – and to be honest that’s not completely off the table at this point – but ultimately I knew my passion was in running. It’s in my blood.
From Runner to Coach
When I signed up for my RRCA certification, I had no idea what to expect. I knew I’d be in a room for two days straight with the best of the best. To be honest, I was completely intimidated. But I knew I needed to be there. I took advantage of being one of the most inexperienced in our class. I asked all the dumb questions that these people knew the answers to years before this class was even scheduled. When the rest of the attendants just sat and listened, I wrote down every note possible. I befriended my table-neighbors and dug into their brains. I wanted to know everything they knew. When I walked away from that two-day training I was a little smarter, a little wiser. When I finally got the nerve up to take the test, I studied, had my ridiculous amount of notes by my side, and holed myself up for the duration of the test.
I aced the test. It was a proud moment for me.
At first I wanted to become a running coach as a source of income. I don’t do well in an office setting. I do well when I’m active and creative, problem-solving and hands-on. But as the years have gone by, I realized it wasn’t the income driving me. Sure, we all need a little extra cash, but it was much deeper than that.
Celebrate Global Running Day
When I started running I didn’t have anyone who’d been through it to support me or guide me. I didn’t have anyone advising me the best way to increase my running time, or to lend a helping hand when trying to figure out what to eat to lose weight and sustain my new, active lifestyle. I didn’t have that. I’m stubborn and determined enough that it didn’t matter much, but I also know I’m in the minority. Most people in the position I found myself in almost seven years ago aren’t nearly as determined and motivated as I am. Most people do need advice, motivation, and moral support. Sure, I had plenty of moral support from my husband (and believe me, it was needed and very much appreciated), but for some people that’s not enough. And even when it was enough for me, most of the time he didn’t have the answers to my questions because he wasn’t a runner (or a new mom!). Some people – a lot of people – need and appreciate the encouragement from an unattached third party. An unbiased opinion able to encourage them and push them in the right direction.
So for me, becoming a running coach wasn’t only a matter of time but a matter of… well, destiny I guess.
The telling moments that I made the right decision to become a running coach aren’t when I gain new clients. It’s when I lose them. Or when their goals change and I’m invited along for the ride. It’s when I see a former client post a photo of herself on Instagram proclaiming success at her most recent race. Or the moment when a former C25K runner becomes a two-time half marathoner, and continues to train her way toward her third. It’s when past clients take their physical fitness to the next level as CrossFitters, or perhaps yogis. It’s the excitement and nervousness I see in newer clients at our first day of practice. The nervous laughs and giggles, but the spark I see because they already want more.
The most rewarding part of being a running coach is helping my clients accomplish their goals and then witnessing the ripple effect of the impact I made on the rest of their lives — the eating right, the running for fun!, the competitive nature of wanting to do better with each race or distance.
I didn’t set out to influence and change people’s lives but I have to say, it’s one of the most phenomenal feelings in the world and I’m incredibly grateful for every opportunity awarded to me to be able to do so.
Running Will Change Your Life
Impacting someone’s life in a positive manner is well worth the hours poring over training plans, meeting for group runs, and crafting and returning countless emails and texts with clients. Becoming a runner – and now a running coach – has been one of the best decisions of my life.
Happy Global Running Day, everyone.
TALK TO ME!
For coaches: what inspired you to become a coach?
For runners: do you use a coach? (If you don’t, you should!)