Why I Train With a Coach

February 28, 2017

I’ve been working with my coach, Nichole, on and off for the past 3 years. We first started working together for a couple of months before I got pregnant, and then picked up again when I was 6 months postpartum.

Me, Nichole, and Nate (Nichole’s husband) when they came to visit AK last summer.

Nichole and I first “met” through our blogs. One fall, I traveled to Minnesota and then met up with Nichole for fun since she lived relatively close to my parent’s in southern Minnesota. It was during this time together that Nichole came up with the idea of running a sub-3 hour marathon. I did not (DID NOT!!) even for one second believe this would be possible, yet I could tell she was being 100% serious. She had this fire in her eyes and confidence in her voice that lead me to instantly trust her. No one had ever believed in me this way!

With my hip injury that’s been bothering me on and off for the past 8 months, I decided to take a break with Nichole until I was back to 100% before I resume working with her again. However, during this break, I have wanted nothing more than to be back training under her guidance. I have always appreciated working with Nichole, but now I appreciate her and her coaching even more.

Setting a 50-second PR in the 5K under Nichole’s coaching.

Someone asked me if I don’t trust myself to self-coach. Nope! Not at all. I actually like writing my own workouts and challenging myself. If I write a plan for myself, I will follow through on it, so it isn’t a matter of having someone to keep me accountable either. Instead, here are the reasons why I love working with a coach (Nichole in particular):

  • This person is my cheerleader, sounding board, and voice of reason.
  • She tells me when to lay low and when to push.
  • I love the structure she provides for my training. I don’t have to think about what workouts to do each day.
  • It is surprisingly very motivating working for someone else each day.
  • I’ve done the same type of workouts for 10+ years, so I needed someone to change up my workouts and challenge me in a different way.

I respect and trust Nichole in more ways that I thought I would. She not only ‘gets me’ in my running but also helps me work through other life decisions because we are so alike. This relationship wouldn’t work if I didn’t respect her as much as I do or trust her with every step along the way.


The intention of this post is not to sell my own coaching services, but if any of this resonates with you, and you are interested in working with a coach yourself, let me know. I love helping other runners, and I believe the value of working with a coach one-on-one far outweighs the free plans online or the somewhat-customized plan from a virtual coach. Find out more about my coaching services here or e-mail me: prcoaching.michelle@gmail.com

    1. Oh my goodness, thank you for the glowing post! I am so bummed that the weather played such a factor in your sub-3 goal. I feel both cheated (for you! We HAD that race! Yay, marathons…) and at a loss for how to help now. We have unfinished business!

      For those of you considering working with Michelle, I am certain she would be absolutely outstanding. Whether it be her or another coach, I am the strongest believer of how much a coach can help. I still work under Jerry, and our relationship is very much the same as what Michelle writes about above. I would never come close to the Trials without him. Now I would feel lost trying to get back to racing without him! Having someone you trust – completely – and that believes in YOU is really magical.

      Unlike Michelle, I would be lazy without a coach. I don’t know why! I am so structured and motivated in my-day-to-day! But taking a day off or running something more comfortable (I’m tired today, I bet I will run better tomorrow) always sounds good! I have a hard time holding myself accountable. On the contrary, I will not miss a workout, or not give it my all, for Jerry. I love him too much for that! Like we were for the Trials, we are two blue-collar, nose-to-the-ground individuals both dreaming big. We are in this together. That is more fun and meaningful than I ever thought possible.

      Plus, there is just st something fun about sending my coach a workout recap or picture after a hard workout I nailed. *love*

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