Even a seasoned runner needs support from a coach
Leah Mele-Bazaz is a runner and freelance writer who lives in South Jersey. After a five-year hiatus from competitive running, she had a major life event that inspired her to run a marathon. Below is Leah’s story as a longtime runner making a comeback from heartache and disappointment and returning to the lifestyle and fitness from her younger years.
As an aside, Marc asked Leah if she wanted to contribute to his blog after her touching and inspiring story she shared on Kelly Roberts’ blog.
Here’s Leah’s story:
I had a fantasy in my head that I would still be able to define a jog as a 7-minute mile pace, and perhaps I could do a marathon comfortably with 9-minute miles. This fantasy was shattered during my first 5k – I signed up without training. What a bad decision. I was in a lot of pain and I struggled to run the race in 26 minutes, a horrifying time compared to what I used to run in college.
After that performance, I had no idea what kind of time I could run for the marathon distance, but my goal shifted to “just finish”.
I bought a cheap 20-week marathon training program off Amazon. I was no longer the fit, fast runner I once was and I didn’t feel like I was worth investing in a more expensive plan. I wasn’t trying to qualify for Boston, all I had to do was finish the race.
The program had me running five days a week with heavy mileage on the weekend. I started noticing that by the second month of training, my body hit a new level of fatigue. My running pace for my long runs plummeted, I even started walking from the fatigue and muscle pain. Even for my short runs, my times turned questionable. I began to doubt if I could even finish the marathon in the allocated time limit. This “rock-bottom” moment inspired me to start looking for an online running coach.
My number one priority was to have a professional look at my current running log and help me come up with a sound game plan to reach my marathon goal. It was also important for me to find a coach, despite being online, to check in with me and have a level of care similar to what I experienced when I was a collegiate runner.
I shopped around for a few online running coaches, signed up for a few trial plans, until I ended my search with Marc Pelerin. I was impressed with how responsive and reasonably priced Marc was compared to others. With Marc’s training plan, my level of fatigue diminished and I’m much happier with the variety of training runs including my ability to cross train.
Compared to my original training plan, which had heavy mileage every weekend, Marc’s plan is much more practical and I’m able to confidently hit my long runs with substantial time for recovery. I also like how interactive the program is, I can email Marc if I need changes or modifications to the plan.
With the marathon date creeping closer, I’m much more confident than where I was when I first started this process. I feel lucky that I didn’t get injured from the generic plan I bought from Amazon, and I only wish I realized earlier on that although I’m back to being a “beginner” runner again, that my training was still worth investing in!
Beginner or pro, you can benefit from having a coach guide your running. It’s a great idea to look into a few coaches and see how they respond to questions you have about how they coach. If something doesn’t seem right, it’s probably a red flag that they won’t work well with you.
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I am a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners. Click for more information!