Over the years, we’ve all been so fortunate to have coaches in our lives who have helped guide us and given us such great advice along the way! Here’s a great sampling of lessons we’ve learned –
Every coach I have had in one way or another has uttered some version of “enjoy it while it lasts” or “Just wait until you’re my age” that every youthful runner brushes off until they are old enough or injured enough to understand. After a decade of more painful runs than painless runs and doing everything I can just to run, let alone compete, I understand. While “Enjoy it while it lasts” isn’t going to make it onto any inspirational poster, I think what we mean when our hobbly bodies envy the bulletproof is not to take it for granted. I see people upset when they set a new personal record because they didn’t break their old record by enough (I used to be one of those) and runners who give it their all on the day and still end up in tears (guilty). Disappointment after not reaching a goal is normal, but I hope if we find ourselves at future start lines prepared to test our limits we can find the composure and gratitude to take the results, good or “bad”, and remind ourselves that every single run is a privilege.
When I was in high school, one of the assistant track coaches gave me a form tip that really helped me “kick” at the end of an 800M race. He showed me how to raise my hands a bit in order to “close the acute angle” of my elbows. This shortened the “lever” of my arm swing, so that I could pump my arms faster in order to get my legs going faster. It seemed to work….and I loved it!
– Craig (You can get coached by Craig at the weekly GBRC track workouts!)
(For kids that are looking to run in college) – When I was on a recruiting visit to a campus, the coach was really honest with me and told me to “make sure you pick a place to go to school that you would still enjoy WITHOUT running” – so essentially making sure the running program wasn’t the only thing drawing me to that university. Super important advice because as we know…the whole running thing doesn’t always work out.
– Kaleb (WWU track & XC runner, too!)
“You need to spend a lot of time running slow if you want to be able to run fast.” OR “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” This is a piece of advice that encouraged me to feel comfortable putting in a lot of slow miles during training – it does not all need to be fast (in fact, it should not be!). This increases your overall running economy which has its place in training and increasing efficiency as a runner. In addition, this applied to the other little things like weight training and stretching, encouraging me to focus on moving really well and being deliberate about the movements that I am doing. If you move poorly/inefficiently, you increase your risk of injury and set a limit on your growth potential.
– Chris (He’s a Squalicum XC & Track coach, too!)
I’ve learned a lot of little things that have really helped me to gather this great database of things to call on when running races. When it came to racing, my biggest lesson was in patience. My high school coach Kevin’s goal was to have my last mile/ 1000meters/ 400meters, be the fastest I had run the whole race and that took great discipline and patience to get to a point where I was able to execute a tactically sound race!
– Conner (He’s a Sehome XC & Track coach, too!)