Back In the Spring of 2019 I was in the midst of training for the Rotterdam Marathon when my friend Dylan Wykes approached me and asked if I would be interested in joining his coaching crew at Mile2Marathon -- a team of professional athletes providing personal coaching to others. Initially I was reluctant. I was in the midst of a heavy marathon build and I was dealing with huge challenges in my personal life making me feel like this just wasn’t the right time for me to start this endeavor. I questioned whether I knew enough about the training process and if I would be able to give enough time to my athletes.
Fast forward through the Rotterdam Marathon and my subsequent injury and I started rolling the idea of coaching around more seriously. I love running, I love the running community and I love helping people reach their goals. My personal life was, and still is, a challenge, but I figured why not now? If I keep putting it off it may never be the right time. I should just jump in and see how it goes. I started with some fictitious clients so that Dylan could mentor me through the process, and I loved it. Learning about the athletes, their goals and their lives while developing a plan that works with their lifestyles was just the focus I needed.
No matter how fast of a runner we are, we are all working toward a personal goal. That might be to complete a new distance, to run a faster time, to be held accountable and consistent in training, to train with less chance of injury, to fuel properly, to add in cross training, to recover well, or to balance a work and personal life with training. No matter the reason, a coach can help you with that. I realized that my years of running under great coaches and my ability to navigate family life around that had given me a great deal of knowledge, and as a coach I could pass that knowledge on to others. I also recognized that if I didn’t know the answers I was part of a group of other amazing coaches at Mile2Marathon who had a great deal of wisdom to share as well.
I began working with a few athletes and now, eight months later, I have a full roster. My athletes are all women, and each one of them has taught me so much. Honestly, coaching has been a blessing, as working with athletes to achieve their goals has reminded me of all the things that I love about running, particularly the running community and the joy of helping someone achieve something previously not thought possible. The excitement I feel when an athlete achieves a new goal is one of the best feelings out there. I have also felt the sadness that happens when injuries, illness or family/work needs take priority, or the athlete just has an off day and their goal is not met.
Being a coach has reminded me to be joyful while in the journey towards our goal and to reinforce the importance of open communication between an athlete and a coach. An athlete needs to feel valued and heard in the training process. It has given me an even greater respect for the amount of work my coach has put into my development as an athlete. I am so glad I jumped in to this new role as coach as it is bringing me so much joy.