What are the Pros/Cons to having a coach?
So far I have not found any cons to having a coach. A coach is exactly what I need. My training has not changed a whole lot in the past 3 weeks in terms of mileage, but my thoughts going into each run are different. With my super busy life, I never planned that far ahead for my workouts. Sometimes I would figure out how many miles and at what effort I should run as I was driving to the lake to run, or warming up at the track. Sometimes I would add an extra run for the day just because I had the opportunity to run again. So going into a run knowing exactly what I need to do has allowed me to relax, and it has given me confidence in what I do each day. Having a coach has also given my husband confidence in my training. I have a habit of pushing myself past my limits, beyond my breaking point. So, of course, my husband worried when I had only myself to come up with a training plan.
My coach also knows what pace I need to run for different workouts in order for me to be faster on race day. This helps me to not over train in the weeks leading up to a race. I have 3 races in the next 3 weeks and it is nice having guidance on how to get to each one fresh, strong, and ready to run fast.
Can a low mileage program with plenty of quality miles be effective in training for a half marathon?
Yes, as long as you develop your aerobic system as well. If I could only run 3 days a week to train for a half marathon, I would do 1 tempo run, 1 run with hills (possibly hill repeats with no walking), and 1 long run. Each week I would increase the mileage on my long run day, and I would do some of my long runs on a trail. One possible tempo run could be 2 miles easy, 4 miles at 10k pace, 2 miles easy. Closer to race day, the tempo could be 2 miles easy, 8 miles at half marathon pace, 2 miles easy. On the days with no running, I would make sure to do at least 40 minutes of exercise. Jumping rope, yoga, swimming, or cycling. Something to get my heart pumping. For a low mileage program, I would still aim for 35-40 miles a week.
Any questions that you have about Training/Nutrition/Racing can be entered in Comments. I will answer them in the next Wednesday’s Questions and Answers Post. Thank you KM and EL for your questions!