Friday, December 2, 2011

The Coaching File: What Happened?

For those who wonder, "...what happened to track workouts?"

I've actively coached and/or run in Tuesday and Thursday evening track workouts for nine years, in Gulf Breeze, at Pensacola Junior (now Pensacola State) College, and at the University of West Florida. The local running community has changed a great deal since then; in 2002 there were one or two organized group runs and a couple of ad-hoc run groups, now there are at least a half-dozen social running and training groups. And this does not count the training plans/groups sponsored by the local running emporium.

I enjoy the interaction with runners, working to solve "the training puzzle" which is the individual runner's lifestyle, aspirations, strengths and limitations. And, to hear a couple of my alumni talk, I have had some success...mostly runners who showed with a work ethic, an eighty-percent-solution of a training plan and some self-discipline.

But I've some unfinished personal business, some opportunities which don't step on nearly as many toes in the local running community, and a small degree of guilt that I don't spend as much "quality time" as I would like with the ones I love most. The darkening days made the decision I hoped to never make that much more simple. I talked about the decision with my wife during a weekend race in New Orleans, then announced it not long after: November 22 was the last official track workout of the F.A.S.T. group.

I will still coach individual runners; consulting, laying out training plans, recommending workouts, reviewing form and the like. But these will be "easy jog on the beach" or "sit over a cup of coffee with a notebook" consultations. And the Sunday morning "Breakfast Club" runs are open to all. If you're there, beautiful. If not, that's okay, I still love you. But you're going to miss out on breakfast.

I won't again stand on the side of a track unless I hear demand for speedwork on a Saturday morning or a Saturday afternoon. If (a big IF) that happens you'll see it here, as well as on Facebook.