You’ve probably heard the phrase, “practice makes perfect”. Well I’ve found that this is not entirely true, especially if you’re doing it wrong to begin with.
But it’s just running, right? Put one leg in front of the other and keep going. You’ll get better and faster very soon, you’ll often hear.
Nope. The reality is, you’ll see improvement for sure, but after a while you’ll most likely plateau after, or end up injured like me.
Where I Went Wrong
There I was, an amateur runner, training for a marathon with a plan I found on the internet. It seemed to work well initially, but my body started to show signs of fatigue. I stared to skip sessions to recover but then pushed myself on the weekend long runs.
I believe this was my downfall. I did not have enough miles in my legs to be running the scheduled weekend distances. Seven weeks before the marathon my peroneal tendon really inflamed to the point I could not comfortably run over 4 miles.
To make it worse, no-one was able to convince me to hold back, readjust the plan or delay my marathon attempt. Heck, I’d put in all this work already, I was going to run it anyway.
If only I had used a coach to guide me through my first marathon. Someone who could provide a range of strength and core exercises to support my running. Someone who could adjust my plan based on my feedback (good and bad).
It was a few weeks after the marathon that Janell from RunCanvas Coaching reached out to me. Janell is a VDOTO2 certified coach (and also a fellow BibRave Pro), and offers coaching plans via the VDOT platform.
At the time, I had still some penance to endure in the boot, but I was convinced that this was the perfect opportunity to get me back on my feet. In exchange for some online publicity, Janell offered to coach me for an upcoming race. We decided to focus on a half marathon that I’m running on October 20th (Bull City Race Fest).
I filled out Janell’s questionnaire and was sure to provide all the details of my injury, expected recovery and what races I had in my calendar. Janell crafted the first couple of weeks of my training schedule, with full consideration of the injury included.
My biggest fear was pushing myself too hard and ending back in the boot, and to be honest, initially the plan felt like it was pushing me above my comfort levels. I just had to trust my new coach and run with the plan.
It’s safe to say that Janell knew what she was doing. With nearly two months of training complete, I can say my injury is healing very nicely. It’s not 100% yet, and I’m not back where I was fitness or speed-wise, but I still have 6-7 weeks before the race.
Aside from the running aspect of the training plan, I love how Janell incorporates strength training, with exercises specifically aimed at strengthening my peroneal tendon. You don’t get that level of detail in a standard plan you download from the internet!
Janell was also a very flexible with my many “life happens” moments. She was able to rearrange my training schedule as needed, to work around those unforeseen events that can get in the way of training.
I’m in no way a pro runner — not even close — but I want to get better at it. I used to think this could be achieved on my own, by simply running more and more. After this experience, I am now a firm believer in getting some help from a certified coach. I’ve seen it drastically improve the running abilities of friends, and as I’ve mentioned above, it has helped me get back on my feet with renewed confidence.
So without reservation, I have been recommending Janell from RunCanvas to all my running club friends. If you are looking for coach, look no further — speak to Janell today.