Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Yoda to my Luke

My running coach is like the Luke to my Rey in Star Wars
No, we don't know how it works out yet for them.

Maybe he's the Obi-Wan to my Anakin. I guess we just have to see how it works out for me.

No matter what the outcome, I know I wouldn't be where I am at this moment - that is, healthier, happier, and hopeful for the future - if it wasn't for the guidance I've received from my personal Jedi Master, Coach Garret.

Everybody needs a coach. I don't care if you're an athlete, artist, academic... whatever you are doing, if you are looking to achieve a certain goal, perfect your craft, or just you know... want to find health, happiness, and hope as I did... you need someone who can help you see yourself as you really are, free from the desires of others.

Your coach doesn't need to be an expert. A peer can help you see beyond the clutter of your daily life and gain a clear perspective of where you want to go, as long as he/she has no vested interest in what your outcomes are and has some knowledge and experience with what you are trying to achieve.

Here's what my coach has done for me:
  1. Pushed me to leave my comfort zone - Garret first introduced me to the Maffetone Method. It was a drastic departure from the way I had been training - and, therefore, meant following it was taking a real risk that I wasn't going to achieve my sub 2:00 half marathon goal. But he reminded me that changing it up was a calculated risk - after all, my way (harder/faster/longer) hadn't been working.
  2. Offered guidance and answers - I read everything I could get my hands on with this new approach, but it left me with so many questions. He answered when he could and helped me find my own answers when he couldn't.
  3. Helped me set realistic goals - when it became apparent I wasn't going to achieve my goal, my coach helped me realize I had achieved so much more - finding the path back to health - and that even if a sub 2:00 half isn't in the cards for next month, I can get there for the next one.
  4. Challenged things I believed to be solid truths - for example, when I was ready to throw in the towel because I believed I could not run at a lower heart rate, he pointed out some key insights from my running data (cadence, stride length) that helped me see where I could improve.
  5. Inspired and encouraged me during perceived setbacks - that little voice that tells me I'm not good enough, I don't have the ability, I can't do this... was much quieter after consulting with my coach.
So how do you find your coach? I was lucky enough that he found me through the blog when I was at a critical low point in my training. But I don't think you need to put out an extremely personal daily journal that shares all of your hopes, fears, dreams, and shortcomings to get yourself a coach. 

Maybe you already know someone who fits the bill - all you need to do is ask them for help.

Or start looking online for a professional in your area. If you are concerned about budget, find out if there's a way to barter. You will find the value a coach can provide to be worth your time and/or expense. 

Of course, if you need a recommendation, I know a really good one and will be happy to put you in touch.

Today's exercise: Rest. Travelling.


  1. I really enjoyed reading your post. It is clever and candid! =) I totally agree about the importance of having a coach or mentor in our lives, and it is so fabulous that you found one who inspires and encourages you to be your best self. It definitely helps to have someone suggest and implement more realistic goals. That's one area I always love receiving constructive feedback and support in. Best wishes with all your training! How's is going?

    1. Thanks Aarika. My training has not yielded the specific outcome I was looking for when I started. But through consultation with my coach I can see I needed to walk before I could've run. Almost literally!