The case for a coach and speed work

I’ve had a triathlon coach for the past few years. She’s awesome. Great plans, really cares about the athletes she coaches, very responsive and accessible. I’ve only used her plans for triathlons and I’m wishing I hadn’t waited so long.

Ever since my first marathon I’ve had a goal to break the 4 hour mark. My time that race was 4:17:49. My best time prior to the Green Mountain Marathon was 4:14:53 the first time I did the Disney Marathon – a 9:44/minute mile pace.

Before Green Mountain I always just followed a plan I picked up in one of the Tri magazines. Heavy cross training with the core long runs on the weekend. They got me to the finish line but never prepared me for a PR.

Determined to break four hours this year I asked Suzan to help me out – Thank goodness. The plan had a much heavier run focus with cross training still in the mix. Also more speed work and track work than I’ve ever done – what a difference. Her help led me to a new PR by about 25 minutes – a full 1 minute per mile faster than my best time!

So, while long slow distance may be at the core of your training plan, don’t leave around the speed and track work. And go hire Suzan.

Vermont City Marathon – 4:17:49 – 9:50 min/mi
Disney Marathon – 4:14:53 – 9:44 min/mi
Disney Marathon – 4:19:51 – 9:55 min/mi
Manchester Marathon – 4:30:28 – 26.2 mi – 10:19 min/mi
Green Mountain Marathon – 3:49:31 – 8:46 min/mi (first marathon with Suzan’s help)

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