So recently I have been nagging my girlfriend to get into running as I think she would enjoy it and it is a nice mix of her usual workouts. Little did I know that I would be helping her try and pb a 5k on the 20th of August! Excited and nervous at the same time lads! Shall I tell you how it has gone thus far? Expect this to be a little series up until the 20th as… Well, why not really!
I haven’t been on this side of running or in fact, had any coaching in my own running before so why I accidentally (on purpose) persuaded Victoria to get into running and to sign up for a race I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
Where to start?
I had found out that she had run 5k twice before, both times she had to walk and run and finished at around 39 and a bit minutes. So for my sake, let’s round that up to 40! So I tried to remember what I was like as a slower runner and what I did to improve. Remembering the nightmare I went through on my first attempts at running, I threw all that ‘knowledge’ out the proverbial window and decided I would teach her in a way that felt smart to me.
Knowing that she has at least travelled that distance in a race meant that I knew one thing… She had it in her legs to carry her the 5k. That is a great thing as a couch to 5kers can take awhile to progress and we have 4 short weeks to get to a target. I have a have a time in my head that I know she can do in a race scenario and I won’t tell her until the finish line. I want to know from her what she thinks she can accomplish. She informs friends that she is in safe hands as not only do I run marathons, I have completed a few ultras too. I hope her faith has been put in the right pair of hands!
The first run
We get to the Waterworks and it is a lovely evening. Not too warm and not too cold. A nice Summers night for a run. Initially, I thought of having us try for a certain time, but as we walked up to the park I heard her talk about how she would be happy finishing 5k without stopping and how she wasn’t sure if she could even do that. This new info caused me to alter my goals for the night and I think that is something a coach would do for their client or trainee, if someone has a certain goal that I know she can do easily, then I am going to try and boost her confidence and get her safely across the first run without stopping. Forgive me if any running coaches just yelled and threw their monitor out the window!
We start off at a nice calm pace and I knew the pace was slow, but I didn’t care, I want her to get to the end of this 5k and feel comfortable. This is the first run and I think running it without being breathless or exhausted is my sole purpose tonight. Finish and then we can progress to a faster run and let that confidence grow. We loop around and I check my phone, just under 14 minute a mile pace. Slow yes, but necessary in the long run. I am almost using this as an examination of her. To see how she is feeling and coping with it all. Happily, she is grand and we are able to chat as we go around the park. I inform her that she should be able to talk and hold some form of conversation. She takes this in and I keep filling her head with little things to keep her occupied and to educate. Running isn’t just about putting on some shoes and running hard out as you can… Well, it can be on occasion!
We finish off the run and it ends on a successful 42:35 (On her fitbit we had to keep going for distance and ended up 44:48, I trust mine more… For obvious reasons) She is deeply disheartened by this time as it was slower than what her previous race times were. I remind her that her aim was to finish a 5k without stopping, which she did with ease.
The post run work
We chatted for a bit at home and I tell her about the way I set goals for times or distances. She doesn’t feel that working that way will help her. This makes me think how coaches have to be flexible to the runner, some will take certain things positively or negatively. So being able to be flexible is key. I ask her, by the end of August, what does she want to have achieved in a 5k distance. She says she would be happy with 34:30 and ecstatic with 32:30. So I know what I have to do, and now I just need to work out what way will work best for her. I am confident of these two times so we will see how she does at running a bit faster! I can only hope that she has chosen someone decent to help her get those aims! Expect an update next week! Until next time.