Why did you decide to get a running coach?
Because my running had stagnated. I had been doing the same things for years, kept getting injured, and was starting to lose motivation and enjoyment. Some friends convinced me to go to one of the Full Potential running camps in Portugal, where I was impressed with the approaches of all of the coaches and their commitment to supporting runners of all ability and experience levels. I had some really interesting chats with Ben in particular about his coaching philosophy and, once I got back home, decided to give coaching a try. I figured that I didn’t have anything to lose and everything to gain!
How long have you been coached?
I’ve been coached by Ben since 2017.
What do you enjoy most about the coaching?
Having a varied programme of sessions to keep me motivated. Having someone else think about how to fit it all together so that all that I have to do is show up and run. Not only receiving expert guidance through the training programmes but, almost more importantly, receiving support with the psychological aspects of running and performance as well. And, of course, being able to have a laugh about it all.
What have you achieved?
My main goals were to enjoy running again and to be able to run without getting injured, and I’ve certainly achieved both of those. The sessions that Ben gives me are varied enough and challenging enough that I never get bored, and his structured but flexible approach to training has meant that my slightly wonky biomechanics have coped well with the demands of increased mileage. I’m now able to manage higher weekly mileage than I ever have and I’ve been able to run even ultramarathon distances without injury. I wasn’t particularly concerned about improving my pace – I’ve always been a solid middle of the pack runner who finds enjoyment and fun more motivating than speed or races - but an unexpected side effect of training with a coach has been that I’ve gotten faster. I’m still middle of the pack, but now I’m upper middle rather than lower middle, which has made me surprisingly happy!
What would you say to someone thinking about signing up?
I would say that coaching is not just for elite athletes or super-speedy club runners, and not just for younger people. I’ll be 60 this year and I’m faster than I’ve ever been and am enjoying my running more than I ever have. No matter what your goals and abilities are, a good coach will help you to achieve the first and maximise the second. (Thanks, Ben!)