In 30 years of coaching I’ve seen very few athletes, even veterans on the professional level, successfully coach / advise themselves. And while I believe athletes should indeed have a greater degree of autonomy & input into their training (veteran athletes know what they respond well to and what types of sessions they are passionate about) as time passes, it is the rare individual who can be objective about their own daily, weekly and annual blocks of training, regardless of age or ability.
In fact the greatest mistake we see as a coaching staff at ZAP is the simplest of all mistakes: pushing too hard on a day to day basis with no one to advise otherwise. Does this mean everyone needs a professional coach? Certainly not.
For most distance runners simply having someone knowledgeable about the sport with whom you can bounce ideas off of will go a long way. What questions might a club leader or someone who has been around the sport with experience answer ? …….
Is a 20 mile run 2 weeks into marathon prep too early ?
Is the calf sorenesss I’m feeling normal or should I back off ?
How many times should I race leading into my goal race?
How much slower will be sessions be amidst hot humid summer conditions as opposed to cool dry days ?
Am I better off with intervals or hills this week ?
These and hundreds of other questions are ones the coaching staff here at ZAP field each year. As athletes you are correct to be curious and ask them; however, with only a handful of exceptions – even amongst the very best – few do a great job of answering those questions about themselves.