No Category selected Surely the coach knows something I don’t

    Surely the coach knows something I don’t


    It can be tricky to choose a marathon training plan.  There are so many great ones available out there that there is surely something for everyone.  And if not, there is so much information available that you can probably create your own.  But this time around, I decided to invest in a training plan that was designed just for me.

    I thought about it for a long time before entering my credit card.  I read a lot, and asked for advice.  However, the whole trial-and-error method hasn’t been working for me.  I’ve tried it twice, which doesn’t seem like that many trials, but they were both errors, and when you’re talking marathon training, an error of this type means shooting half a year.  In my case, I shot a whole year the first time after deciding to wait until fall to attempt my second marathon.

    I have no illusions that the questionnaire I filled out gave the coach a complete history, or that he custom-designed every workout like none other he’s done before.  But it was nice to know that he was sort of starting where I was at, and taking into account my habits, likes, dislikes and weaknesses.

    So far I can say that it is wildly different than anything I’ve done before, but I guess that’s the whole point.  After all, as Einstein points out, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    I wouldn’t say this plan has taken me out of my comfort zone, because I am not terribly uncomfortable.  No, it’s more like it has removed my comfort zone.  I don’t know how these workouts are supposed to feel, so I have no expectations around when I might get tired, where I might start to struggle – I just do them.

    Of course, I do have some questions in my mind, some hesitations and doubts about the volume and intensity, but then I remember the whole insanity thing and try to forget it.  My goals, successes, failures and training history were all taken into account when this plan was designed. Besides, I remind myself that if I was just going to ignore the plan and do what I wanted to anyway, I could have done that for free!

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    A runner for just over four years, Karen has already completed a marathon, two half marathons and a variety of 5k and 10k races. She describes her first marathon - the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last September - as "a nightmare." However, she met a very interesting person in the process - a man named Sydney who was running his 152nd marathon! Although the race didn't go as well as planned for Karen or Sydney, he showed her that no matter how experienced a runner you are, you can still have a bad day. "Does that mean we shouldn't bother to prepare, or maybe just shouldn't bother at all? Of course not!" says Karen. "In the end, it is what we make it." We like her optimism!


    1. Looking forward to hearing the results of how easy your customized plan is to follow and whether it is successful in getting you closer to your goals.

      I’ve been wrestling with the idea of an getting an online coach after my marathon in LA to help me get closer to a BQ. I would really like to have a plan that says 4:30m/km pace instead of just tempo or 4:00m/km for each odd km with 5:30m/km resting pace instead of just interval. I’m never sure if I am doing my current plan right.

    2. I have an online coach and it was the best decision I ever made. I have a custom “made for me” running plan that gives me paces and distances to help me achieve my goals. The paces are adjusted as my body progresses and improves. But just as important as the coach is the coach’s method of training. Do your research!

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