Sunday, August 16, 2009

Never Been Coached

Thanks for all the insightful comments on my last post. I’m sure I shocked some people with that one. Yes it’s quite uncharacteristic of me to speak of running as if race PRs is all I’m after and to speak of early retirement as if it’s happening tomorrow. But not to fear blogosphere, for there are many more marathons to complete and race finishes to cross and runners to meet and running-related experiences to explore before I hang up these running shoes forever. Besides I think all the people I’m coaching to run their first/second marathon (not to mention some of my bloggy friends!) would probably kill me if I suddenly decide to drop out of the running scene right now. All I was trying to accomplish in that last post was to be refreshingly honest and record my momentary musings on the conditions of my eventual retirement from running, even if it’s a little uncomfortable to think about right now. It was also my way of hinting that in the distant future, if I should ever decide to drop off the face of the earth and not run and not blog, and just…disappear, I want you all to know that I’m okay, and probably in a good place both physically and emotionally and not to worry about me. (In my mind, I’m imagining it to be like it is portrayed here at the end of this clip from Good Willing Hunting – no goodbye, no see ya later, no nothing…) Just FYI.

Speaking of running and coaching, I’ve just been recruited by a couple more blogger friends this week to be their marathon advisor/coach for their upcoming fall marathons. Apparently, word is getting out that I’m some sort of marathon guru that really likes helping people achieve their long distance goals. Silly people. Whatever gave them that idea I’ll never know. Haven’t they read my race report from Boston? Don’t they know I’m already considering retirement? But since I’ve got a reputation to uphold and am pretty good at what I do, I decided to throw them a bone and help them out. Besides, I’m still holding out hope that my “Pay It Forward” campaign will soon sweep the country into a running frenzy so complete that my doorman will have a bottle of Gatorade ready for me to run and grab every morning at 5AM as I pass through the lobby and there’ll be a different person every day for me to run with in Queens (seeing as how there were NO runners out the day before on a perfect Friday afternoon!). Well, that is my dream anyways.

But I do think that I’m pretty unique as a runner and a coach because unlike the majority of people who run my kind of pace at races, I’ve never actually been coached myself. I never ran during high school or college and didn’t join a running club until April of last year. And since I can count with 1 finger how many runners I knew when I started running 5 years ago (and he wasn’t back then as yet a marathoner) everything I knew about running I had to learn on my own – some via books, magazines, and online sources, but mostly through trial and error. So most of the principles I teach and preach are really the aftermath of experiments I’ve conducted on me. Some lessons came to me early. Others are taking forever to sink in. Either way, they are all a part of a bigger process of learning, experimenting, and self-discovery. In the end, I think that concept epitomizes the true essence of running for me and explains why I love coaching even though I’ve never been coached myself.

Marathon Training Update:

Because of my 5 mile race, I got a little distracted by the speed last week. I’m back to my “running longer, running slower” plan this week. 53 miles planned; 55.7 miles ran. Highlights included a 11.5 mile run with 5 miles at tempo pace of 6:22 min/mi on Thursday, and 20.5 mile long run yesterday with friends that incorporated Summer Streets, the Brooklyn Bridge and an outer loop of Central Park. I kept the pace slow for the first 14 miles (~8:30 min/mi pace) and pushed a little for the last 6 miles (7:19 min/mi pace). All in all, I’m pretty comfortable with where I am in my training so far. Five weeks in, two 50-miler weeks and 20-milers complete with no injuries to report. I’m anxious but excited to see how I’ll handle the rest of this crazy schedule. Here’s my updated grid for those interested.


The Happy Runner said...

I bet the fact that you've never been coached works in your favor. You don't have any coaching baggage!

I think it is very cool that more running bloggers are turning to you for coaching!

Jamie said...

I think it's great you are starting your own running pay it forward! And some of the best coaches never coached before :) all have to start somewhere!

Great job on the training so far - looking awesome!

NY Wolve said...

Even if you can't coach everyone, never fear, there are those of us who pay attention and learn also. So thanks for that!

Running and living said...

I have learned so much from reading your blog and the comments you made on's like virtual coaching. I am still benefiting from this exchange, even though I am no longer a beginner. Sometimes we get stuck in our heads, and it's a comment or a blog post that makes us question things... Glad you will keep running and racing in your life. Ana-Maria

X-Country2 said...

I have faith in your "pay it forward" plan! Good luck!

bill carter said...


It just seems like you are getting faster and faster. Make sure you take care of that super fast body of yours and it is going to be a great fall season packed with PRs.

Best of luck my friend!

B.o.B. said...

Glad you are still out there working it! It's awesome that you are paying it forward. Trainig is looking good. I love a slow, long run myself.

aron said...

you are awesome and an awesome coach! Just from all your "coaching" advice you give me on all my questions, I know you are great. I have learned so much both from your blog and from your answers, and I REALLY appreciate everything :) thank you!

Michelle said...

I am glad to see that you are going to be around a while longer Lam, I may need your coaching advice someday!!! SOON perhaps??

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