As many of you know, I’ve been coached by an online coaching program called Runners Connect for the past year. Developed by former Hansons-Brooks member and 2:22 marathoner Jeff Gaudette, Runners Connect is an online coaching service and community. A team of coaches create a running schedule based on your goals and fitness level, you log your workouts and you can share them to the RC community.
The great thing about that is not only do you get expert advice from professional coaches, many of whom were or are elite athletes, you get a community of athletes that are all going through the same thing and cheering you on.
Because let’s face it, no one but other runners care about your run, what your splits were, or how many miles you ran. Your non-running friends and family are sick of hearing about your running, okay?
The Runners Connect philosophy is mainly based on the 80/20 principle or polarized training. You run 80% of the time very easy, and 20% hard. As counter intuitive as it may seem, running slow will really make you fast.
And I’m proof.
I started running in 2013 to get in shape for my reunion. I didn’t follow any particular training advice and just winged it on my own. The reunion came and went and I kept running.
I decided to sign up for a half marathon. I began to learn a little bit more about the process and ran the Asheville half marathon in September of 2013 in 1:55.
The next step was to sign up for a marathon, right? And not just finish a marathon, but qualify for Boston on the first try. I started researching online, trying to figure out the best strategy. There are so many articles and advice out there that it’s a bit overwhelming, so I found a free basic plan outline and stuck to it.
I didn’t understand the reasoning behind each workout and felt that the generic plan didn’t fit me at all. Even so, I finished my first marathon in the Spring of 2014 in 4:02. I was happy to finish, but it was not a Boston Qualifier.
I needed to do more research. Whenever I searched a particular topic online, Jeff Gaudette’s name kept popping up. He’s written for Competitor, Running Times, and many other running sites and I always found his articles to be well-researched and backed by science.
I wanted to know the reason why I was doing a particular workout and Jeff always had the answer.
I discovered a free basic training plan online that he wrote for RunKeeper and I used it to qualify for Boston at the Big Cottonwood Marathon in the fall of 2014 in a time of 3:38, twenty-four minutes faster than my first attempt that same year!
I was hooked.
I found that as I was getting fitter, the one-size-fits-all plans weren’t fitting me anymore. I’d been reading everything I could get my hands on, studying the science of the marathon.
But it wasn’t enough. I needed help to reach my potential.
So I signed up for Runner’s Connect. And with their guidance, I am in the best shape of my life.
So what’s the big announcement? I’ve been asked to join the team at Runners Connect as a coach!
Me, a running coach?!? I’ll be backed up by the “real” running experts, of course, but I am so excited to share my experience with others going through the process.
I will also continue to be coached by Runners Connect and member athletes can still follow my training and progress. I will be the first student to become a coach on their team and I couldn’t be happier about it! For now, it’s just part-time, but we will see how it progresses.
I have to admit, it is intimidating to join forces as a coach with such talented and accomplished runners and coaches, but my story of becoming a runner later in life is one of the attributes that they liked about me: I am relatable to so many of their athletes. I am just a regular person who fell head over heels for running and have accomplished so much in such a short period of time.
My hope is to encourage and inspire all of the athletes in the Runners Connect community to reach their running goals, no matter how big they dream.
If you are curious about the Runners Connect program, please comment below or direct message me. I’d be happy to help you become the best runner you can be too!