Seven years ago, as I prepared to train for Ironman Austria, I hired my first coach. I had my doubts about the relationship. Up until that point, I had trained for six marathons and a couple of triathlons all by myself andquite honestly, it was going really well. But I liked this guy and since he was already doing my sports massages it seemed natural enough to move onto the coaching level.
The problem is that I am not easily convinced that another person knows more about my body than I do. And when he started pushing me beyond my comfort zone, I was not ready. Physically, I am sure he was right. I was physically ready to push myself more than I had been. Mentally, though, I just wasn’t there.
By mutual decision, we split. He moved on to more willing athletes and I proceeded to DNF in my first attempt at Ironman. Still, I didn’t regret working on my own. I was just not ready to work with a coach.
Then through a series of events that started with my rupturing my plantar fascia and ended with my watching this video, I decided to give coaching another chance.
Five months ago, I started working with Coach Jeff at PRS Fit and I have not regretted the decision for one minute. The trick this time was simple. I put all of my trust into Coach. After speaking to him a couple of times, it was easy to do this and when he got me through almost two months of recovery without losing my fitness, I knew I was in the right place.
Having built up trust during those first months, Jeff has eased me into a program that is helping me to feel stronger and more able to meet my goals. But the best thing I have learned through working with a coach is that I can trust another person to guide my training. Reading all of the magazines and blogs in the world will never give me the experience Jeff has had as a coach. So I have to trust him.
And I do. Recently, as we were once again discussing the fact that this foot continues to be an issue, Jeff asked me for some video of my stride. After analyzing what I was doing wrong, he told me we need to change my stride. I am not sure that I have made it quite clear enough how rigid I am. I don’t bend and when it comes to my body, I am a purist. I have never been one for fads in the running world.
But I trust Jeff and I believe him when he says that changing my stride will help reduce the injuries that continue to plague me. This trust says a lot about Coach but I think it may say something about me as well. I hope that what it says is that in the past seven years I have grown and matured. That I am now smart enough to realize that I don’t have all of the answers. Maybe that saying about old dogs and new tricks is just a little backwards. Or maybe, I am not quite as old as I think I am.
The lesson I know I have learned though is that life is not static. Things change. We move on and what we were seven years ago is not necessarily what we are today. Seven years ago, I may have had the world’s best coach, but if I wasn’t ready for him, then it wasn’t going to work. Today, I am seven years older and I am ready to let go of what I thought I knew and trust that Coach Jeff knows more.