At the weekend I ran the West Palm Beach marathon, it was my 7th marathon, but this article is not about me, it’s about one of the people who is part of the local running group I train with at the Delray Beach Running Company.
At the running club they train people to run their first marathon, which as I can tell you is a daunting task. Running 26.2 miles is not an easy task, neither is the 6 months worth of training that you have to go through to get yourself ready.
For the West Palm Beach run there were 4 ladies looking to complete their first marathon and they had all been coached by Megan. What I like about Megan is that she isn’t just someone who coaches from the sidelines and tells you want you need to do, she also goes on the journey with you.
So when these 4 intrepid marathon virgins ran on Sunday Megan was there running with them, she not only coached them through their training, but she was also going to coach them through the race itself.
Here we are at the start with Megan giving the ladies some final instructions.
The training had gone well and the ladies had completed long runs of 18, 20 and 22 miles, as well as many shorter distances, so the confidence was quite high.
However on the day of the race, the weather was unseasonably hot, normally the temperature at 6.30am at the start of the race would be in the low 60’s or maybe even 50’s, but on this day it was 75F and it was only going to increase throughout the day.
Running in that kind of temperature makes the race so much harder, you dehydrate quicker, you need to drink much, much more water and you need to run slower otherwise you will just burn yourself out – as I found out the hard way.
The ladies were aiming to complete the race in around six to six and half hours, but with the increase in temperature it was now looking like it would be closer to six and half to seven hours. This was potentially a problem as the time limit for the race was seven hours, if you finished the race after that it didn’t count.
Can you imagine running for seven hours in temperatures of 80 degrees only to find out it didn’t count? It would be devastating.
As the coach, Megan was determined that the ladies would be successful and she set a pace for them that she felt they could handle, one which would get them all home with enough time to spare.
But as the race wore on and the weather got hotter and hotter, and one of the ladies started to struggle, her pace dropped and it started to look, with six miles and nearly 90 minutes of running left, that it wasn’t going to be her day.
She started to drop behind her friends, but Megan wasn’t prepared to let her fail, she ran with her, cajoled her, encouraged her, threatened her, badgered her, bribed her, she did everything possible to keep her going.
The rest of the running group were anxiously waiting at the finish line, we could see the clock ticking slower and slower towards 7 hours.
Megan continued to push even though the pace was dropping, and finally with just 2 minutes to spare, they crossed the finishing line.
She’d done it, she’d achieved her goal, with a time of 6hrs and 58 minutes.
On her own, she would have probably given up, conceded defeat and quit. Yes, it was tough but her coach knew she could do, she kept pushing her towards the goal until it was completed.
This is why it’s important to have a coach. To have someone who believes in you, who knows what you’re capable of, and who keeps pushing you until you achieve your goal and reach your full potential.
If you want to achieve your full potential, get yourself a coach, but make sure you get one who has been there done it and will accompany you on the journey.