I no longer have to even think about the answer to this question… Coach for sure!!! I will never tackle a race without a coach again. Now is the time of year when athletes are planning their 2016 race schedules and setting their goals. I believe that if you are serious about your goals you should hire a coach. Hiring the right one is the key. Here are some things to consider:
- How much of a budget do you have? Be realistic about how much you can afford to spend. And realize that having a coach may save you money in that you end up at your race, healthy and prepared. instead of injured and eventually DNFing.
- You get what you pay for. Be wary of very inexpensive plans. You may be getting a generic plan that you could have found online. Coaching can range from $100-$400+ a month. If you want an individualized plan and the ability to talk to your coach on a regular basis be prepared for at least $150-$200 per month.
- How much interaction do you want? Some people need very little coaching and others need more. Only you know the answer to this. You may not need someone in your geographical area. Online interaction can be very effective.
- Ask your friends if they have a coach. Especially those who are meeting their goals. Referrals are the best way to find a coach.
- Ask to talk to some of the coach’s other athletes. Ask them about their experiences good and bad with the coach.
- Be realistic with your time budget. Make sure you are realistic with yourself, your family, and your coach about how much time you truly have to commit to training.
- Commit to at least 6 months to a year. It takes time and you really need to trust and listen your coach. You have to make a commitment to them after you have made a decision. Of course, if you know right away that it is s bad match, get out right away. But, you really need to listen to your coach. They do this for a reason.
- Do your job. Your job is to do your workouts and provide feedback. Do that and everybody benefits!
I am starting my third year with Jen Mathe from One 10 Performance and Nutrition. She has helped me achieve Ironman times I really never thought I could. I think with her by my side I can get to Kona one day. There are many reputable coaches out there and probably as many shady ones. I recommend Jen with all my heart (even though I hate her for single leg drills on my bike). If you are serious about your training, find yourself a good coach. Your time is worth it!
I have been lucky enough to be sent several pairs of shoes from Saucony and that has allowed me to essentially run in many variations of a neutral 8mm drop shoe (my preferred type of shoe). I am currently running in 4 different shoes that fit this description; Triumph ISO 2, Ride 8, Echelon 5, and the Breakthru (the new ones are out now).
I like running in all of the shoes but let me highlight the benefits/use cases (yes, I work in IT) for each shoe.
The Ride 8’s are the most versatile shoe of the bunch. I have been running in this line for a while but this is my first review of the Rides. What I like about this shoe is that it is an excellent balance between support and and structure. Some times a supportive shoe can have too much structure to it and overpower your foot so it can’t do what it does naturally. This shoe DOESN’T do this! It is the entry level type shoe that I think most runners (who prefer a neutral 8mm drop shoe) would be successful in. It is a durable shoe (the uppers are well constructed and and the soles are great).
The Breakthrus are a lighter weight version of a neutral 8mm shoe. I have tried to run in the Kinvaras before and tit just wasn’t a durable enough shoe for my running. Now that my running form has improved a bit, I can run in a lighter weight shoe. This shoes has become one of my favorites for shorter (3-7 mile) runs and runs that are speed or tempo based. It has excellent support in the midfoot thru the heel. It has a nice roomy toe box and the uppers are impressing me with their lightweight construction yet they are still pretty durable. This is an improvement over my experience with Kinvaras in the past. You need t be a fairly strong runner to run in a shoe this light weight, otherwise you may not do well with the lighter support.
The Echelon 5s are not my normal running shoe. They are designed for runners that need extra support and room custom orthotics or insoles. They are a very roomy shoe with extra support and cushioning but still are not as big and clunky as some of the other cushy shoes out there (think Hokas). This would be a great shoe for someone requiring extra support in a neutral shoe. I use this shoe for longer runs. Even with the roominess of the shoes it runs well for me and I don;t have any issues with rubbing that you might expect in a bigger shoe.
The Triumph ISO 2s are awesome! I have tried to run in this line twice before and was not successful. The first time was in the Triumph 11s and I just wasn’t running well enough at the time and they made my calves hurt. Then I tried again with the Triumph ISO 1 which was a totally re-engineered shoe from the previous ones. I had a problem with the construction of teh upper. It had two different layers that were made of two different type of materials and they rubbed the top of my feet and gave me blisters. That is when you are very happy to bought your shoes from RoadRunner sports because you can return them after 30 days with no issues! Back to the 2s. THEY ARE AWESOME!! Light weight like the Breakthrus but more supportive. I found the last version to be over constructed and these are the perfect balance! They are one of the more expensive shoes in the bunch but I would pay for another pair for sure!
All of the shoes reviewed in this post were provided to me by Saucony. The opinions are all mine. I was really lucky to get to run in multiple versions of this style of shoe!
With awesome features comes slightly difficult set up sometimes. You would think that setting up your data screens for your Garmin Forerunner would be easy, but it can be a challenge. I will give you instructions on setting a data screen for a Forerunner 230 (my current running watch). This may not match your watch exactly but it might get you close enough to figure it out!
- Select the Menu for the Activity you are setting up your screens for.
- Use the runner button to select and the lap arrow button to go back. Choose Activity Settings.
- Use the up and down arrows to choose the Data Screens items.
- Select which screen you would like to modify. (the number of screens you can modify will be based on which watch you have)
- Select the Layout (how may fields you display).
- Use the up and down arrows on the left to toggle between the choices. You will see the layout change. Use the runner button to select the layout you want.
- Next select Field 1 to choose what data it will display
- The field types are in categories; Distance, Pace, Speed, Heart Rate, Cadence, Temperature, Elevation, and other. Choose the filed you want.
- Repeat for the next field.
- Select the type of field.
- Select the field you want.
Looking back 2015 was a pretty quiet year race-wise. I had started the year off planing to do epic crazy trail runs with Stuart. Unfortunately it became apparent, very quickly that, my heart was not into trail running after 15 miles. So I did an about-face and found a full Ironman to focus on, Iroman Boulder. I did manage a 50 K that I was really proud of but I needed triathlon and Boulder was the perfect race! I didn’t have the run I was hoping for but I had a great race and my quest for Kona continues!
I also worked on my diet this year. I did a Whole 30 challenge and learned a lot about how to eat healthy and still train. I managed to lose that 5 pounds you never think you will lose!
My 2015 ended a bit early when I broke my collarbone in October. I only missed one race, the Santa Clarita Marathon as a result. It was a much longer recovery than I expected and I am still not 100 % at 13 weeks post injury.
Here were my training totals for 2015:
So what is the plan for 2016? I am the kind of person that like to attach numbers to my goals. I need to know what I am working towards. I want to get to Kona some day. I actually think I can do it. But you HAVE to set time goals if you want to qualify. I just don’t it see any other way!
So here we go…
- April, Ironman 70.3 Oceanside: I just want a solid race. I have no goals for a PR since I am still recovering. 40 min swim, 3:15 bike, and sub 2 hour run would be awesome!
- July, Ironman 70.3 Vineman: I have done this race 3 times before. If my training is going well I would LOVE to do sub 5:30. My PR here is 5:32. 35 min swim, sub 3 hour bike, 1:50 run. Sub 5:30 would really be awesome!
- October, Ironman 70.3 Tempe: This will be a training race since it is 4-5 weeks from Ironman Arizona. I have no time goals as of now for this race. When I get closer I will set some.
- November, Ironman Arizona: My A-Race! My PR here was 11:48 in 2014. I am hoping to make some significant improvement on the bike. My goals are sub 1:10 swim, sub 6 hour bike, and sub 4 hour run. That gives me a finish time around 11:15, and based on last years results a 14th place finish. Not a spot to Kona but getting closer.
Once again I will be working with my Coach, Jen Mathe. She has done an amazing job and I can’t wait to see where she gets me this year! I am even racing against her twice this year! If you need a coach (I would never do this without one), check out Jen! She knows her stuff and is very passionate about sport!
Diet wise I plan on using the guiding principles I learned from Whole 30 to keep my weight down. I plan of eating a mostly added-sugar and grain free diet. It really works for me and I think it is sustainable.
Thanks, as always, for following along. Your comments and “likes” are really encouraging! The accountability that come along with doing a blog and being vocal about my goals helps keep me on track!