Taking the first steps into coaching

Coaching is something that I always saw myself going into when I was older and less able to run as far and as often myself. I thought a younger person wouldn’t be able to gain the respect and trust from the older and more experienced runners, who had been running for a lot longer than myself. I have only been running for a couple of years but in this short space of time I have found myself getting more and more interested in all aspects of training and developing as an athlete. I basically spend all of my free time reading and studying the different training methods and I have been completing my speed sessions with a variety of running clubs which I feel has helped me to see a number of different ways to plan and structure training sessions and how the different sessions stress your body and help you to improve. I have also worked hard to change my diet and improve my core strength and flexibility which has improved my running efficiency.

My first steps into coaching came about, when I went to one of my running clubs monthly meetings. As the meeting progressed a number of points were addressed and then came up the topic of training nights and how they have been going. By all accounts the number of people attending training sessions had dropped off since our previous coach left and the structure of the sessions had been varied. At that point I should have kept quiet and let the meeting move on to the topic I wanted to talk about.


I put my views across and stated why I didn’t attend the training and what I would do to get people interested in coming back to the training sessions again with the view of getting a good training group back together that would allow everyone to enjoy, help and improve their running. All the reading and studying up must have sunk in as I must have sounded as I knew what I was talking about. The response from the other members was for me to start taking the training while doing my coaching qualifications. This soon got me stuttering and backing down. I had my own ideas and strong views on are club training sessions but I wasn’t sure if I could commit the time to take training and get the required qualifications. So it was left to me to have a think about and let them know what I thought and ask any questions I had.


A couple of weeks passed before I came to the conclusion that it was a good idea to complete my coaching qualifications. I finally committed to take the first steps and booked onto the Coaching Assistant Course. I decided I would put together a plan of the sessions I enjoyed doing for September to try and get people involved and enjoying training. One of the key changes I proposed, was to start using the local track. I think this will be a massive advantage for everyone wanting to improve especially through the winter months.


The sessions I set for September were –

10 min warm up and cool down on all session

  • Week 1 – Pyramid Session 2,4,6,8,8,6,4,2 (min) all off 2 min walk @ 10 mile pace
  • Week 2 – Track Session 8 x 800 @ 5k pace
  • Week 3 – 1 mile @ 10k pace followed by Hill Reps x 8 with jog back recovery

The first club training session I took was on the local trail were we did a pyramid session. I asked the club secretary to email the time and location of the training session out for everyone to see. I also advertised it on the club’s Facebook page to try and generate as much intrest as possible. I was really unsure if anyone would even turn up, being one of the youngest members of the club I thought people would just think what does he know and do their own thing. I asked my wife, who does a little bit of running to come along so at least there would be one person there and we would just go for a run together if nobody else turned up. To my surprise the car park was too small to accommodate us, as we filled it up with a total of 17 runners and the new club mascot Daisy the boxer dog turning up to take part in a pyramid session. There was a good buzz around the training session with everyone working really hard but having loads of fun as well. We were having so much fun that the dark caught us all out and a few people had to sneak off early as I let the session run on a little too long but nobody seemed to mind that they were going to be home late.


I was really happy that people turned up and enjoyed what I had planned. If I can make my wife enjoy running, never mind doing speed workout, I must have done something right. I have now passed my Coaching Assistant Course and looking forward to completing my Running Coach qualification in the New Year.

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