"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Coach as Adversary

I was going to write a certain post and then found Carilyn Johnson had just done it, only better (here). The relationship between coaches and their athletes is dependent upon personalities and finding the right match isn't easy. For example, I'm the coach of last resort - you don't want me if you want a cheerleader trying to build your self-esteem, you come to me because everyone else has told you what you want to do is impossible.

I divide athletes into groups according to how they're probably going to annoy me. The vast majority of people seeking coaches simply want to contract out the mental work of training: "Just tell me what to do." These I ignore completely. There's the constantly and easily bored group, which I fob off on others. Then come the "I'll run all day, as long as I don't have to run fast" group (sound familiar, ultrarunners?). Then the "I'll work like a demon, as long as it only takes a few minutes" group (which is where all the fads like Tabata workouts come from). Then there's the type you have to force rest upon, the ones that if told to run 12 miles at 8 minutes per mile, run 15 at 7.5 min./mile and then tack on another 5 slower miles, even though they needed an easy day. Anyone that doesn't fit into one of those groups I'd probably enjoy coaching.

I've reached a point in my own running when being coached by someone else for a bit seems like a good idea. I sent out a few inquiries, most of which were ignored or politely dismissed. Then I asked an old friend if he'd be up for it. His response? "Not for love or money. I don't need that aggravation. You're smart, competitive and stubborn, which has made you a good runner, but every time I suggest something, you're going to argue it to death. You try to "win" the workouts. If you did anything I suggested, it would just be to prove me wrong. You're uncoachable."

Yeah, that's what I was thinking, too.

1 comment:

Carilyn said...

Thank you for the link, Steve. And I do think those of us who like to coach have a hard time being coached. :)