My Approach To Coaching
Every runner needs a good coach! I am passionate about coaching. It’s not a hobby, it’s a vocation, a lifelong commitment. To me, coaching is about the development of better athletes and better people, not the accumulation of accolades and success stories. Coaching is a giving process, and for me that means sharing a lifetime’s knowledge and experience of distance running. I see my job as a coach is to help athletes improve and to perform to their potential. I don’t believe in secret formulas, static training plans, or quick fixes. I’m a great believer in long-term development, and this requires balanced and adaptive coaching. So if you don’t want to blindly follow a generic program out of a book, or a computer-generated plan, and would prefer something created for you specifically, then read on!
Everyone is different! Not all runners respond well to the same type of training. My approach to coaching is to find the right solution for obtaining the best individual results, and this involves preparation, planning, analysis and support. I develop personalised training plans to suit the athlete’s age, experience, motivations, limitations and temperament. By assessing the current training schedule and work and family commitments, I will take the uncertainty out of deciding when, where and how to train. I will suggest the ways an athlete might adjust their routine to improve fitness, to get stronger and quicker, and to make the training count.
Every athlete need targets! Nothing sharpens you up more than having a clear objective. My training plans are progressive and goal-orientated. Whether you are a seasoned racer aiming to peak for a big event, an ambitious club runner aspiring to run a personal best, or a recreational runner with non-competitive ambitions, I will help you reach your potential as a runner and run at your best when it matters the most.
Training for running isn’t complicated. There’s a logical progression that yields measurable and meaningful improvements regardless of your starting point. Being systematic and progressive is the under-pinning philosophy of my coaching. And the major reason for this is all about making progress whilst avoiding injury. My training programs therefore integrate the key training principles used by all elite athletes around the world.
The principle of periodisation ensures that you stop training erratically, remain injury free, avoid over-training, stay focused, and get faster. You won’t run at your best all of the time. There will be peaks and troughs in your form. My plans will ensure that you get sufficient rest and recovery from training stress and peak for your target race. Constant reflection and analysis of the training plans is important. Are we doing too much, or doing too little? How does this fit with the aims of the year and of each athlete’s short-term goals?
Closely associated with periodisation is the principle of modulation. This implies varying the intensity of workouts to challenge the body with different stimuli to ensure that you are doing enough, to try not to put in more than you get out. Effective training isn’t always about smashing your body as hard as you can. Sometimes you have to be smart and back off a little. You don’t need to vomit and crawl off the track after every session, however tough that might make you feel!
Finally, the principle of specificity accounts for the unique demands of your event. Whatever the terrain or environment, I will ensure that you train at the right intensity and on the most suitable surface to maximise your potential over your chosen distance. Whether it’s finishing a 5km Park Run or competing in your first ultra-marathon, my plans will see you training with confidence and purpose.
My Coaching Service
Following an initial consultation you will receive a comprehensive coaching service including a personalised, interactive training program with full e-mail and phone support. Your plan will be sent to you in 6 to 12 week blocks in the form of a PDF document. Here you will find the details of each day’s training. I will be available by text, phone or email on an unlimited basis to answer your questions, deal with any unforeseen circumstances and changes in objective, and provide all the help you need.
Your plan will specify precise training distances and paces (based on your current level of fitness) for each workout to take the guess-work out of training and ensure that some sessions are challenging, while others permit recovery. If you don’t have a GPS device, you have the option of training according to heart-rate, or simply by how you feel.
Your plan will be flexible and adaptable. Personal coaching is a two-way street – it is a partnership, not a dictatorship! You will provide me with daily feedback by recording your training in a simple online log. Your feedback will allow me to analyse your training and, based on the outcome of each workout, modify your plan as you progress through each period of training. After all, the plan you receive is not set in stone – it is a work in progress. So it is important to keep me updated on how things are going. In this way I will ensure that you are getting the maximum benefit from your training and recovering properly.
My approach is holistic. I have acquired a wealth of knowledge in the field of sports and exercise science through many years of study and life as a professional athlete. I have come to realise that to improve your running, a balanced training program is just one piece of the puzzle. There are many other essential elements, including strength and conditioning, and nutrition. I will be give you guidance on these, along with advice on cross-training, injury prevention and resolution, fuelling for racing, and training at altitude. I will leave no stone unturned to give you all the support that you need.