One of my favorite things to do is help people realize they have a love of running. I like to take the nonbelievers and show them the sport. Anyone can run. Even the ones who think they can't.
Non-runners tend to get caught up on time. They believe because they can't run in a certain amount of time, they can't run at all.
Non-runners tend to look at the end picture instead of looking at the steps it takes to get there. They believe that runners have a natural ability and don't see that we were once like they are now.
It takes someone special to help the nonbelievers see themselves as runners. And that person is a coach.
It takes patience. A coach must help those runners to set reasonable goals and guide them there; every step of the way.
It takes modeling. A coach must support and run with them to show them how it is done.
It takes celebrations. A coach must be there to lend support, answer questions, offer advice, and celebrate the victories.
One of my friends, who last summer listened and believed me when I told her she could run a half-marathon, had a personal victory. She set a personal record at the 5K she ran today. And she did it without me at her side.
Since last July, my friend has put her trust in me and her doubts aside and trained and ran her first half marathon, first ten mile race, experienced her first season of winter running, and has been exposed to speed work. Each workout that I challenge her with, she fully accepts. She asks for advice from running gear to what to wear. And today, when the windchill in Michigan read five degrees, I knew she was up for a challenge. This was by far the coldest weather she had ever run in. I quickly texted her and went through what she should wear for this race. I was not surprised to see a quick response and questions that followed. I answered those and offered a little bit more advice. I know that in a year or so, when she has more experience under her belt, the questions will decrease but until then I am going to be there.
She set a goal but didn't share it with me.
After the race, I received another text. She finished the race under her goal time of 30 minutes, and she struggled to keep pace for a shorter run. But that will come in time. With experience. Today I celebrate with her because she accomplished what she set out to do. And she did it without me by her side.
I never asked to be a coach. It just happened. I don't coach for money. But I do it for the feeling of joy when once nonbelievers now see themselves as a runners.