Pros, Cons and a Colossal Leap of Faith.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Coach

A few months ago, I hired a running coach.

Why? Because left to my own devices, I’m the girl who will bust her a** at the gym for 90 minutes every day and have no earthly idea if her workouts are getting her any closer to her goals. So this year, instead of employing my customary “let’s wing this sh*t and hope for a PR” approach, I finally determined I’d be much better off recruiting a supporting character who can help get me to my finish lines gracefully.

So far, here’s what I love about working with a coach:

  • He emails my workouts every Friday so there’s no question about what’s on tap for the upcoming week.
  • My a** busting time is way more strategic. Every workout includes intervals and drills – sh*t I never would have done on my own.
  • He is forced to listen when I need to complain. (This is so much cooler than you think; and it’s probably saving my marriage.)

Here’s what irks me about working with a coach:

  • I no longer get to choose a workout based on how I feel that day.
  • It’s a tremendous strain on my faith muscles. (Every day, I have to remember HE knows best.)
  • I’ve been literally choking on the word NO. (He says no to things like adding additional races to my schedule, upping my current mileage, etc.)

To be honest, we got off to a bit of a rocky start.

For one, I am a total a** hole. (So I take full credit — he’s a hell of a nice guy.) When I hired him, I told him what my goals were for 2014: A PR in Duluth, my first Sprint Tri and a respectable finish at my first half-Ironman. Based on what I said I wanted, he’s been busy building my schedule to peak at those three events.

But every time I get on the phone with him, I try to change the rules. I’m forever saying things like:

“Hey, my girlfriends are running a half the weekend of x. Can I squeeze it in?”


“I don’t feel like I’m doing enough in the pool, what do you think if I add x?”


“I know you think I need a rest day, but I don’t. What about shooting for x instead?”

After taking all the proverbial crap I could possibly dish, last week he finally swung back. “Brook,” he said, “You’re in this for the long haul. This process isn’t a sprint; you’re chasing a HALF IRONMAN.  The schedule I’ve built for you is progressive and periodized and each section builds on the previous. My role as your coach is to make sure you not only PEAK at each event, but that you make it to each race injury free.”

Ouch. (And he’s right.)

After he said that I backed way down and apologized. (For a moment, I thought for sure he was going to fire me.) I said, “B.H., you’re right. I have a type A, borderline anal, bat sh*t, high strung, off-the-chain personality, so I’m always going to push to do more, be more, have more, etc. I see your role in all of this as the guy who helps keep me ON the rails every last time I try to leap off.” (Note –we’ve been good ever since — I’m glad he stood up to me.)

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about faith.

I think every time you register for a race, you take a colossal leap of faith. Faith that you chose the right goal. Faith that you’ll be healthy enough to make the start line. Faith that you’ll finish. Faith that your everyday efforts will pay off. Faith that your training schedule is the right one for you. Faith that your family will only benefit from your efforts.

Faith that the outcome is worth trading your life for.

B/c at the end of the day, that’s essentially what we’re doing, right? We’re trading our time on the planet for the high the finish line provides.

Is it worth it?

For me, it is.

Because I believe faith is also where we find the most miracles.



P.S. I don’t care if you’re chasing your first 5k or your 10th ultra, it’s all a big f*ing deal. If you’re on the fence about a race, consider this a personal nudge from me to flex your faith muscles and go for it. Your life will NEVER be the same. (Pinky swear.)

P.S.S. Are you a member of the Sole Sisterhood yet? If not, scroll down for the deets. I promise, you’ll get hilarious, never shared here musings from me. Oh! And I’ll send you some super cool digital running swag, too.

Here’s a combination of videos I shot last week — just for you. No judging — this sh*t ain’t pretty. 🙂 


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