Wednesday, December 19

Running Education: A Coach and a Team

In the throes of illness last week, I missed the informational session for the Training Academy run by Elite Runners and Walkers (Robinson Twp and Monroeville, PA), but my friend Eleanor hooked me up with the details and the contagious energy of the group while we drove to and from Columbus this past weekend. I was excited about the prospects of learning about running so I could be good at it. But I wasn't *quite* sold.

Last night was our first meet. After driving around the local high school's enormous campus searching for the track (which I had incorrectly assumed would be lit), I finally found my friend's car and parked next to it. Each of us in the small group is training for either the Pittsburgh Marathon or the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. It was hard to stand still because it was pretty chilly and kind of windy.

Our coach arrived. We talked about the program and how it worked, and then made our way to the exceptionally dark track. Somehow it seemed that the darkness got a little darker there. We walked quickly to warm up, and I found a few small patches of ice. That made me nervous... Coach taught us some really excellent stretches, most of which I had never even seen before. Then we ran around a few times. I was being extra cautious and I'm not fueled by lightning, so I was trailing behind the pack. We decided it was too dangerous to do any timed running there and made our way back to one of the myriads of parking lots.

Then the goal seemed simple. Run for ten minutes. I ran behind the group until we returned to the starting point and had to stop. Passing a half dozen idling diesel school buses in addition to running in the cold air sent my lungs reeling and I couldn't catch my breath. That was a little upsetting. But at least I'm being honest with myself. I want the coach to know where I am. Really. And to help me develop a plan to improve from that point. So while I was a little down about my performance, I was at least feeling okay about being real with both myself and the coach.

After everyone finished, we discussed lots of other aspects of the program and I began to see the merits of being involved in something so well organized. I get a coach, a training plan, education, and personal interaction. Not bad for such a decent price. Definitely cheaper than a semester of college (which is about how long the program runs).

I'm treating this as my investment in my future. My education as a runner. I'm hoping to learn enough and improve enough that I can take these lessons with me for the rest of my life (even if I end up going back to the program again and again, which is what they say many people end up doing).


  1. Hey, I just saw the announcement that you joined team Oiselle. Welcome!

  2. Hi! Thanks so much! I am beyond thrilled to be part of the Oiselle team. You all are such a kind and welcoming group!


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