I’m a running coach. A legit one. I’m RRCA certified and have an LLC: Bold Speed Ahead. I’m also fully insured with general malpractice coverage among other things. You’ll notice something missing from my page and social networks, though, that a lot of other coaches publicly and proudly display, like it’s a business model: personal records.
Some are of the belief that PRs should be presented by the same standards as an academic grade point average on a resume: If it isn’t worth looking at, don’t put it out there. I don’t really know if that’s the case. I don’t think there’s anything embarrassing about finishing an entire marathon that isn’t BQ time.
I have finisher times I’m not embarrassed about. I’ve won my age group a few times in shorter races, and my distance running PRs aren’t too shabby at all. The reason why I hold off on making them the highlight of my business and social networks is because my ability doesn’t matter – yours does.
I know; I know – off the beaten path a little bit. That’s ok; I’m always marching slightly off center from the proverbial “beat” called life.
When you’re in a position to inspire, coach, and teach others – it doesn’t really matter what YOU are capable of. It matters that you can show others what they are capable of and help them live up to their potential. No one is going to perform the same way you do; you are not going to perform the same way others do.
In other words, every body is different. Every runner is different. Every person is different. Some have natural ability that has not been tapped into yet. Others are perfectly content and enjoy running at a leisurely, conversational pace without the anxiety of tempo runs. Some come from high school Track & Field or other sports that enable them to run a 5k for the first time and win first place overall. Everyone is individual, and donning PRs constantly may set a standard that is unattainable, or too easy, for your athletes.
Plus – I’m the Hot Mess Express when it comes to my own training. Part of my job as a running coach is to experiment with different types of training and techniques. I spend three weeks at a time trying something new, and my training can easily end up all over the place. If I wanted to be routine, I wouldn’t have become a coach!
PRs are an accomplishment. They really are. But I don’t want anyone to look at me and say “I want to be as fast/faster/slower/whatever” than her. Runners need to internalize that even when they’re running competitively, they are truly competing against themselves. Against the pain. Against the mental anguish. Not against a coach’s PR.
As a former teacher, I have grasped that anyone in a similar position – including a running coach – has the amazing job of extracting potential from others. “Potential” is broad; everyone’s is different. With enough work, we can exceed our potential. I truly believe that. But for my athletes to take ownership of that concept, they need to first understand where they are, not where I am.
If you work with me on any level, be prepared to focus on you. Your PRs. Your goals. Your state of mind. Your ability. Your potential. It’s all about you, and that’s my focus as a running coach.