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Long term athlete or flash in the pan?

Here's a shot from the lowest-effort 100 miler I ever ran. It's the Mohican 100 in 2003; I was coming off my PR of 24:32 in 2002, so this time around I kept it casual and brought it home in 25:32 (or something close to that).

What I can remember on that day was the frame of mind I held, how easily my body moved, and how relatively fresh I was at the finish.  Got done, went home, and mowed the lawn.

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this...and it's about coaches.  Please understand I'm not against coaching and in 2012 I'm designated as a "coach" supported runner on the Brooks team, based on my work with the Appalachian State University running club. But now that my disclaimer is in place, I have some points to make.

I listened to an Endurance Planet podcast a couple of weeks ago, where the host stated every workout must have goals and deliverables. Most runners pursue coaches to attain better results.  A coach will help you design a plan that is about faster, longer, better, smarter. That's great while the racing fire burns deep in your soul...but what happens when the years roll by and you're no longer the fast gal/guy off the start line?

I started endurance sport in 1983 and most all who competed when I commenced with racing are long gone.  Fact is, most people I raced with 10 years ago have moved on to other things.  Most hit their peak, win a few age group awards, and fade out for good.

There's a few of us hanging on, making the most of each season and savoring the sport.  It's not about results or having someone tell us what the next brick workout should be. Instead, we let our training weeks unfold as seems natural, following the ebb and tides of our lives.

Coaches can lend great advice and input, but in the end, make your own decisions. You'll be a flash in the pan if you let results rule your life.  Or, you can take the long view and keep on keeping on.  Your choice.


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