Sunday, April 10, 2011

Alpine Works

As I've mentioned a few times on this blog before, I have a strong belief that many runners try to incorporate too much structure and specificity into their running. I think most runners would benefit a lot from allowing for the possibility that in most cases their instincts are likely more valuable than what some other runner tells them they should do. I do think that we can learn a lot about ourselves (as runners or otherwise) from observing other people, but ultimately I think we learn the most when we are able to mostly tune out what others are doing and tune further into ourselves and further into the land that we run through.

This said, I do believe that for most people it takes some coaching (or more accurately, some guidance) to be able to more clearly understand ourselves, and to understand some of the more elusive aspects of running, such that we can more easily get to this place of trusting fully in our own instincts. I do believe in most cases we can eventually get to this place on our own, but I also believe that most people can get there a lot more smoothly with proper coaching.

Of the people I've met through the mountain/trail/ultra running community, Joe Grant seems to have an understanding of running and philosophies about running that are more similar to mine than anyone. This isn't to say he and I see eye to eye on everything that is running, but certainly we experience many of the key aspects of running in a very similar way.

I often have people ask me if I think they should hire a coach, and if so who would I recommend. For awhile my advice has always been, "you are your best coach. Just go out and run and figure it out for yourself and in the end you will be a much stronger runner (and person) than you ever could have been with any coach. As I've gotten to know Joe in the past 8 months (we both moved to the Boulder area around the same time) , and consistently learned things about running (and life) from him, I've often had the thought that he would be someone who really could coach runners in a way that would help them move smoothly to this place of being their own best coach. He has a deep understanding of many of the hard, tangible, more technical aspects of the sport, but also a deep understanding of the intangibles. I think he is someone who could teach runners in a way that would not in any way limit or restrict their own instinctual skills and knowledge.

Okay, now for the best part: Joe has recently launched a personal coaching business. Joe has become a good friend of mine, so maybe you're thinking this is just a shameless plug for a friend's business, but nope, I really do believe that he is the one runner I have met who I would recommend to someone who is looking for a coach. At the very least check out his website and decide for yourself. He's a great writer too, so even if his coaching services aren't for you I highly recommend checking out some of the intriguing content he has on the website.

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