Disclaimer: I received a 6 week coaching plan from Ekiden Coaching to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
I have been running, for maybe 6ish years, and all this time, without a coach. This includes 3 ultras, 19 marathons, over 35 half marathons, and like 2039480923 5ks (so maybe not that many.)I have used online plans, read books, and most recently have been winging my training. I mean who has a plan to run a marathon a month?
Well – maybe a coach….so that is why I was excited to give this a try. I was really slipping with my winging it method. I wasn’t sure if I should be tapering, training, or recovering. My thoughts, if you are a good coach, you would be able to get anyone to reach their goal.
My one big hangup for having a coach is the cost. Why would I pay someone for something I can find online or read in a book for free? Heck – even ask a question on twitter and you’ll get an answer – for Free.
Now that you have my background on coaching, lets get the background on Ekiden Coaching. You can read all about them on their webpage, but to summarize… the group of coaches behind Ekiden want to “bring a great human coaching experience to every athlete, not just a training plan.” That’s right there is a group of coaches available based on your need.
How does this work? All you have to do is go to ekiden.com and either click the “sign up and start training” or fill out the quick form to start a conversation about getting fit with a coach that works for you. You can also read more about how it works or what pricing level works for you. Plans start as low as $49 per month.
Now – from here I can tell you about my experience. I first filled out a form, it had general questions, but what I remember is that it asked about my goal – which I put to run a marathon a month. I also remember having to submit my last 6 months of races, and for me this was a lot of work as I needed to include my times too.
It was also suggested to create a Strava account. If you don’t know it’s a place where you can load your training logs, it would make it easy for the coach to see what you are doing. I was like, ahhh another app, do I need this?
I then had an Ekiden account. This is through the Ekiden Coaching system. The account has your training, a place to message your coach and an option for help or support. I noticed I had a training plan before I had a coach. (not sure if this is standard procedure)
The training plan that was in place did not take into account my upcoming race schedule, but why should it, I never submitted that. Since it did not have my race schedule, I wasn’t too happy, the plan was not going to work for me, it was a lot of zone training (Jack Daniels method) and speed work. I just wanted to complete a marathon a month.
I fretted a bit more, and then received a text message through their system setting up a phone call from my coach. It really wasn’t the best phone call, but I said I would send him my race schedule and look for a plan based on that, I was willing to try this zone training method. I even went to the calculator provided to know what zone would be what, and my slow marathon times wouldn’t even compute. I think I had to knock it down to a 27 minute 5k to get some numbers.
I also questioned the system, as I knew I was reviewing this. Do people get matched with a total stranger that doesn’t have their goals in mind? I was frustrated as how this would work for me?
I kept checking my training plan, and I received the automated text messages in the mean time. It was the original training plan, and they were not translating to text in the order that the wording would make sense, so I was getting even more confused.
Finally, I had some adjustments to the plan as I had run a marathon in there. I also thought it was strange there was no follow up on how I was feeling.
Well there was a reason there was no follow up… I was reassigned coaches….. The new coach, Coach Jenny, and I got along a lot better and considered my race schedule immediately and gave me a plan to reflect that. However, I did get a lecture about racing too much. Yes, I am always running a race; but no, I am not always racing those races; in fact some are training runs for other races. Also, this year my goal is a marathon a month.
Ahh, finally things were falling into place and the system was actually working the way I believe it’s designed. Your coach initially texts to set up a time to call, then you can communicate through the messaging system (which sends texts to your phone.) Then once you have worked out the details with your coach, you will receive messages with your training, usually the night before. This message system also works good to just tell your coach what’s going on, or if you have a conflict.
I did make sure to ask Coach Jenny about the pairings with a coach, since my experience wasn’t great. I wouldn’t want to be paired with a stranger that didn’t know what I really wanted. She said that once you go through the original survey and forms, you would then get to choose between the coaches available. Which sounds like a better option.
I have been training using Coach Jenny’s plan with no problems. It even includes rest days, mobility days, yoga or biking. Knowing what workout I need to do really takes the guess work out of it. The plan also give you blue dots when you do the workout and red dots when you don’t, so coach knows!
I did tell her my legs were toast after the Runner’s World Half and Festival, so she adjusted my plan for that, but maybe a day too late…could have switched the recovery run and rest day, but I live to tell you about it.
I think if there is a current frustration, it would be when a week of training isn’t loaded into my plan yet, but a quick message to Coach Jenny and it’s taken care of.
To answer, will I stick with a coach?
I think I would only pay to have a coach if I had a super specific time goal and was lacking motivation to do it myself.
However, I wouldn’t mind giving Ekiden a try again. I really like that a coach pushes you and knows how to get more out of you. (like I think I will run 3 miles and the plan is for 6 miles.) There are also cross training activities that you might not do without a coach telling you. I also like that it takes the guess work out of your training, you just log into your account or check your messages and see what workout you have to do.
Also if I ever did this again, I would prefer to pick my coach, not get matched with a stranger that wouldn’t work with my goals. This can be the hard part too, as a relationship doesn’t necessarily develop until a training cycle is over.
Also I think I have answered, can I be coached? I think I am coach-able, I just think my specific goal was a littler trickier than others. I still believe a good coach will get you to accomplish that goal. I still have a week or two left with Coach Jenny and the big test will be 2 marathons a week apart. ( Milwaukee Running Festival and Madison Marathon)
*I also really like Strava, and have left Dailymile*
You can also join Ekiden as a coach – http://www.ekiden.com/coaching
If you are ready to be paired with a coach, Ekiden is running a special : Get a free month of training when you purchase 3 months, use code BibRave16 http://www.ekiden.com/