I am training for another half marathon, hoping to hit 1:45 this time around. That means having 5 minutes off my current PR. Why this is possible: my last half was a pretty hilly course, so my time on a flat course (which is what I’ll be running) would be at least a minute faster. Why this will be difficult: I’ll have to take about 24 seconds off each mile and will be running a new course in early June which means heat and humidity. So we’ll see.
Let me also give a disclaimer: I am really not an elite runner. I’m not fast. I’m much faster than I was when I first started running, but I’m really pretty average I think.* But I think that anyone can benefit from some outside training to meet a fitness goal.
Anyway, to give my goal my best effort, not only did I sign up with a trainer at the gym (okay I actually signed up when I thought qualifying for Boston was a possibility) but I’m also using a running program that a friend of mine who coaches has developed for me. This same guy plotted out my last half where I took 7 minutes off my previous time. So I trust him; he has a good track record with me. My trainer at the gym is a former All-American from the University of Kentucky. His specialty was sprints, but his focus on glute and core strength is really what I need. I can already feel a difference in my running from working out with him over the past 3 months and becoming a regular in spin classes.
If you’re considering getting a coach, know what your goals are and do your homework. Ask for recommendations at the gym, from friends, at running stores. You may find the perfect fit for your goal, your needs, and your schedule. Even if it’s just for one race, mixing up your routine is very beneficial. As always, you can read some great tips at active.com.
*A quick google search just informed me that the average women’s finish for a marathon is around 5 hours, an 11:26 pace. My PR from October 2009 is 4:65, a 9:45 pace, so okay, I am a little faster than average!