THE BLOG
03/22/2013 10:12 am ET Updated May 22, 2013

Running With Two Olympians As Coaches

No one enjoys having a part of their life that is working perfectly fine to just randomly change. I know I don't. Sometimes, even if the change is painful, good can come out of it, but only if you're willing to accept the change. I had a shocking and slightly painful change recently in my running life.

For those of you who haven't read previous posts by me, I am a pretty serious runner. I run the mile, the 1000m and sometimes the 4X400m relay. I have been running for about three years now, and have since set school and even league records. When something big happens within my own little world of just running, it's massive for me. My high school coach got to know my weaknesses and me very well. He told me he was going to get me to break school -- and possibly state -0 records, when suddenly, about a month and a half ago, he was fired. All of my track teammates and I freaked out because he knew our strengths and weaknesses, what we needed to work on and how we should work on it. Once it was clear -- that we, the athletes, had no say whether or not he would be rehired. We thought that we would at least meet the new coaches. Both coaches run the 800 meters in about 1:46, which is beyond ridiculous. One of our coaches is a Ugandan Olympian named Julius Mutekanga who, for his times in 2012, is in the top 10 runners. He also qualified for the World Indoor Championships. Our head coach, Scott March, just graduated from Adams Collage in Colorado and can run 800m in 1:49. Scott also qualified for the Olympics.

Knowing this, I really wanted to know my new practice schedule because it was almost guaranteed to be far more intense than I was used to. Originally, we only had practice twice a week, but on those two days I would have to run a mile three times or workouts along those lines. With my new coaches, I had practice five days a week. Mondays and Fridays are from 3-5 p.m. at the reservoir where we run about 2-3 laps. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, practices are from 3-6, where we go to the armory, where I run about one 800m with full recovery, which is about five minutes rest, then some 200m sprints to finish. Wednesdays are easy from just 3-4 and it's usually just about two laps around the reservoir.

I have been doing this workout for only two weeks, but I can feel how much stronger I am already. I actually learned a life lesson from this whole experience, which is that while I would prefer my old coach who knows me and what I need to work on, change happens, and sometimes it's for the better. If I stayed as stubborn about changing coaches as I was in the beginning, I would not be nearly as good of a runner as I am now. The last time I ran the mile, I ran it in 5:17, and when I told Scott about it, he just looked at me, and plainly asked, "Why didn't you break 5:00?" Both of my coaches are super serious, and they won't take anything but my absolute best after seeing my potential as a great runner, which is what I look for in coaches, because without that ambition for their athletes, coaches are essentially useless. Even though the change was hard and I would still have preferred to keep my original track coach until the end of the year at least, this change was entirely beneficial for me. This change was only good because I decided to accept it, instead of fighting it.

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