5 Reasons You Should Hire A Running Coach

I’m back! I was in South Carolina for 9 days (Myrtle Beach) and it was great. Although I was working throughout the trip, I took time off from blogging…I wouldn’t have had time anyway. Most days were spent on the beach, and evenings were spent exploring, dining, etc. It was really fun!

Anyway, being back means getting back into the grind of marathon training. Unfortunately, I only ran 3 times (total of 10 miles) while away. The humidity killed me and on one run I could barely even finish 2.5 miles. I just ended up giving up and enjoying the break.

Now I need to get back into it ASAP…Chicago isn’t as far off anymore! As some of you know, I’ve been working with a running coach, and wanted to talk about why it may be beneficial to work with a running coach yourself. I’ve touched upon the topic in the past, and wanted to add in some new insight.

5 Reasons You Should Hire A Running Coach

Workouts Aren’t Set In Stone

When you follow a plan found online or in a book, it lays out every workout for you which is great. But what if you can’t do that workout that week or want to change things around? Sure you can just pick another workout from a different week of training in the book, but how do you know if it is really beneficial for you and where you are in your training?

While I was away, I tweeted at Marc saying that I didn’t want to do the tempo run workout he had listed for me because of the heat. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hit those paces so I asked him if there was another workout I could do.

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He responded quickly with a new worokout I could do and we were able to move around the training plan. He knows what my goals are and prescribes workouts based on those goals.

Tough Love

I wrote about running by effort a few weeks ago, and a Twitter exchange with Coach Marc. He basically told me I need to stop worrying about pace while running and go by effort. When you have a running coach, you have someone who will (hopefully) tell it to you like it is. 

When I used to complain about running in the rain, he’d always respond with “Are you going to melt in the rain?” Ha! I don’t mind it as much anymore. The only real thing I actually didn’t like about it is the sopping wet shoes and socks but whatever.

A running coach should be able to “be real” with you, whether it’s you complaining about weather conditions, you having doubts about a workout, or you not wanting to run, etc. I’ve heard it all! Whenever I want to skip a run, I immediately think of what I would tell Marc…I can’t just say “I didn’t feel like running today” so I just suck it up and go for a run.

Working Through Problems Together

Marc and I have gone back and forth for years (literally since 2010) about my shin problems. I have consistent shin pain that never goes away no matter what I do. So it has become an issue of just managing the pain and trying to avoid it. He always sends me helpful information or links he might find online, and whenever I can’t do a workout or run, I am able to tell him it’s because of my shin pain. He will tell me to take it easy or go cross-train instead, or offer different options depending on when in training we are (such as don’t run the planned 5K race this weekend or take a few days off to ice and stretch).

A good coach will help you work through your issues, whether it’s injury related or something else. I would do this with my clients when I was a personal trainer as well. If they had some recurring issue, I’d always think of them when I came across articles that could potentially help them. Plus, if nothing else, you have someone to vent to about your running problems! I’m pretty sure my friends could care less about my shin pain/don’t understand why I keep running if my shins hurt :)

Piecing A Training Plan Together

Marathon training (or any training) isn’t just about the running. A running coach will help you put all the pieces of the puzzle together, that includes cross training, strength training, core, drills, etc. Marc has sent me videos of warm-up drills to do before runs, and schedules in XT and lifting into my schedule so I know when to do what. It’s not just a guessing game.

Answers Your Questions

If you have a question about a training plan in a book, who are you going to ask? You can try to tweet the author (The coaches who wrote Hansons Marathon Method actually do a good job of replying) or searching online or contacting other people who have done the plan, but you might not get the answer you’re looking for.

When I have a question about something, I usually just tweet to Marc and he responds in a timely manner. Such as yesterday:

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If you have a random question, it might not be found in your training book or it will be hard to determine the right answer. Having a running coach means you  have someone who you can ask anything related to running, and they should be able to help OR they will work to find you the answer.

All in all, it’s been great to have someone to help me create my training plan and someone to talk about running with. You know you’re in good hands with Coach Marc since he has been running forever. He ran in high scool (and recently was inducted into the South Jersey Track Coaches Hall of Fame) and ran collegiately at Villanova as well. He also currently coaches high school and track & field. So yeah…you know he’s pretty knowledgeable about running and training!

If you want to learn more about his coaching services, head on over to his website! He also offers other services such as video gait analysis and training logs (which are great).

Do you have a running coach? Would you ever consider hiring one?


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Give The Gift Of A Running Coach!

We’ve seen all the holiday gift guides for runners and fitness buffs…and probably added a lot to our own wish lists, or at least I have :)

Well, I have another great idea you can add to your wish lists or gifting lists - a running coach.

Hire A Running CoachPhoto Credit: Minchioletta via Compfight cc

As you all know, Coach Marc helped me train for the Philly Half, as well as train to get faster in general and work towards a 5K PR. It was great having someone who would write a specific training plan for me, and also provide accountability and support. Because really…if you know someone will be checking your training log to see if you ran that day, you’ll be less likely to skip that run.

I think giving the runner in your life, whether beginner or advanced, a running coach, even for just a month, will greatly benefit them as a runner. Here’s why:

  • As I mentioned above, provides accountability and support. This is especially important for someone who may be just starting out and doesn’t know much about training specifics.
  • A coach provides you with a personalized training plan tailored to you. Marc asks you how many days you want to run, cross train, have off, etc. If you have conflicts or injuries, he will change up the training plan for you to suit your needs. 
  • Access to a knowledgeable source. Marc recently was inducted into his high school’s Athletic Hall of Fame! He won three individual Group 4 titles in track and the cross country and a Meet of Champions title in cross country. He then went on to run at Villanova University. This guy knows his stuff. Have questions about cross training? tempo runs? track workout paces? Recovery? He can certainly help!
  • Someone to go back to the drawing board with. Have you ever had a bad race and have no clue why? Having a coach means having someone to go back and look at your training to see what was lacking. Your coach will be able to create a new plan for the following training season based on previous races, improvements you’ve had, workouts, etc. You always want to be progressing your workouts, whether it’s running or lifting. Following the same training plan every year will lead to the same results.

I have progressed as a runner since I started in 2010. I know much more about running in general, and my body can handle different things now versus when I was first starting out. Having a running coach helped me navigate that time in between. It’s awesome having someone tell you exactly what pace to run track workouts or tempo runs in. 

So definitely check out Coach Marc if you need a gift idea this holiday season! If you know someone whose resolution will be to start running in 2015, this could be perfect for them. And if not, then take a look at Marc’s training logs – that is a great gift in and of itself! I gave a detailed look into the log here.

Have you ever worked with a coach?

What is on your runner wish list/what are you giving your fellow runner? I want new sneakers…or anything from lululemon :)


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 8

I can’t believe I’ve been consistently running for 8 weeks now! No joke, I had not really ran since last year’s NYC Marathon. My mom and I were just talking about how we can’t take an elongated running break like that again. Starting from zero seriously sucks. And we do really want to start working towards a BQ…even if it is years away ;)

This past week went really well! Here’s my training:

Monday: Planned – XT + strength training, Actual – nothing. Felt SO exhausted today. Ever have those days? No energy. Oops.

Tuesday: Track workout – 8×400 meters. We did a 1.5 mile warm up, then the repeats in 2:05-2:06. Last one was 1:57. Half mile cooldown. Felt really good. The last few were tough but I love track workouts. Track workouts > long runs, any day! I saw this on the bulletin board inside my high school and thought I’d share…I certainly need to read this on my lazy days:

 Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 3 easy miles. I also did strength training after which included squats, deadlifts, cable rows, tricep rope pulls, ANNNDDDD I did 3 unassisted pull-ups!! Sure I had to take a break in between each one but still!!!

Friday: Planned – XT Actual – nothing. Ended up going shopping with my mom…sue me ;)

Saturday: Planned – 7 mile long run, Actual – 6 miles. We explored a new park and it was absolutely beautiful. We just didn’t know it closed at 6 pm, so we got kicked out before we could finish 7 miles. 6 miles will have to do!

Sunday: Easy 3 miles. I was really dreading this run. I honestly debated on even going, thinking “Do 3 miles really matter?” Then I remembered my mom and I talking about how we need to be more consistent if we want to work towards a faster marathon next year. And I thought about other runners I see on Instagram and how they get it done. So I laced up my shoes and went. And surprisingly, felt awesome!! Isn’t that how it always is? You dread a run but then end up feeling unstoppable? Moral of the story: get out there even when you really don’t want to ;)

I’m excited to keep getting faster and fitter with Coach Marc! I think I’m running another 5K mid-October, then a 10K in early November before the half marathon.

What’s on your training docket this week?

Can you do unassisted pull-ups? If so, I’m jealous!! I’m working on doing continuous pull-ups :)


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Race Day Errors

We’ve got another great guest post by my running coach, Marc Pelerin, today! He’s super knowledgeable about running, which is why I invited him to write on my blog a couple times a month. I want him to share great information with you, whether you’re an experienced runner or just thinking about starting to run. Plus, he’s super fast, I mean look at these times:

  • 800 – 1:52 (2003)
  •  1,500 – 3:47.88 (2006)
  •  Mile – 4:08.53 (2004)
  •  3,000 – 8:19.68 (2004)
  •  5,000 – 14:17.99 (2006)
  •  8k (xc) – 24:07 (2004)
  •  10k (xc) – 31:08 (2004)
  •  10k (track) – 31:21 (2011)
  •  10k (road) – 31:26 (2010)
  •  10 mi – 52:13 (2010)
  •  13.1 – 1:10:19 (2010)

Read more about Coach Marc here.

Today he is going to talk about race day errors and how to avoid them. Enjoy the post!


Hey Super-Fans!

It seems that everyone these days loves to run – and why not – it’s so simple; requiring no equipment (save for shoes), and can be done anywhere. Because there are so many new runners out there, it’s important to go into a race prepared to run your best. Below are 3 of my top Race Day Errors and how you can overcome them!


1.  Going out fast

The longer the race, the more important it is to not go out faster than you’re capable of. The last miles of a half marathon or full marathon are hard enough, don’t make them harder by being flat out exhausted by the time you get to them. When you run too fast, too early, lots of not-so-good things come about. For starters, you put yourself in oxygen debt with lots of racing left to do. If you run your first half of the race a bit slower, you’ll feel great the second half, have great form, and finish speedy. It’s also not smart to go out fast because at the end of a race, you want to be the one passing people, not being passed.

2.  Trying something new

We all see that shiny new pair of shoes at the expo and think it’ll be a great idea to wear them for the first time. Don’t!  Whatever your race distance may be, don’t let race day be the first time you’re trying something. Whether it’s breakfast on race day, the clothes or shoes you’ll be racing in, or what you did the night before – try and keep to what’s tried and true and you know works. Blisters, chafing, and hangovers are not fun when you’re trying to race!

3. Not being prepared for the race

When you sign up for a race, know that to maximize your effort during the race, it takes much more than a few weeks of jogging to be considered “ready” to race. Do your best to log miles, cross train, and do strength training leading up to your race. When you show up to a race under-trained and under-prepared, you risk injury and poor race performances. If you’re not ready to run mileage, think about opting for a shorter race, or for putting in time to just train and hold off paying for races.


Do you have any tips or insider information that Coach Marc left off?  Tweet him @marcpelerin using #racedayerrors.

What would you add to this list?

Which of these are you guilty of? I always tend to start out fast in 5Ks!


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Philly Half Marathon Training: Week 1

So week 1 of getting back to running is in the books. My mom and I are hoping to run the Philly Half in November, though we haven’t registered yet. Should do that soon though…

Last week was a shock for my body. I haven’t done much of anything the past month or two because of vacation, and just lacking motivation. But it feels so good to have a training plan and end goal again. Here’s what I did last week:

Monday: Upper body strength training
Tuesday: Lower body strength training + 3 mile run
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off (was supposed to run but didn’t get back until late – oops)
Friday: Lower body strength training + 3 mile run
Saturday: 35 min. swimming 
Sunday: 4 mile run

Can we talk about swimming for a second? That is tough!! I have never regularly swam laps, and probably do so like 2 times a year, so I’m obviously not the best swimmer. My sister and I went and we did 4 laps with a kickboard, and then 4 laps freestyle…and I was spent! That’s only 400 yards!! Then I see all of you who did the NYC Tri yesterday swam 1500 meters…crazy! I want to get to that level eventually ;)

Yesterday, my family and I were in New York showing my uncle around the city. He is visiting from Paraguay and it’s his first time here. We went to the Brooklyn Bridge, Canal St., Empire State Building, and my dad and him rented bikes at Central Park while my mom and I walked around.

While they were at Canal St., I took advantage and got my run in. I figured I’d just run up 7th or 8th Ave. all the way to Central Park. Turns out it was exactly 4 miles!


While I ran, I took some Instagram videos of my journey:

I always love running in NYC. It’s such a change of pace for me from running on long, winding roads with nothing to look at but trees (I know, I shouldn’t really be complaining about this lol). Time passes by faster when I run in the city. Lots of people watching you can do while running!

I believe I will be running the Fifth Avenue Mile again this year, and hoping to break my PR of 7:03. We’ll see though…this week I felt so out of shape and sore. But I know it will come back relatively quickly.

Do you get really sore when you start exercising again after a long break?

Do you run in a rural, suburban or urban area? Which do you prefer?


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Training With Marc: “Training For a Marathon”

This is a series I started with my old running coach, called Training With Marc. Marc Pelerin is a running coach, and runs TrainWithMarc.com. He provides runners with personalized plans to help them achieve their goals. Oh and he was also an awesome runner in high school and in college…so he’s got a lot of experience! Visit his website for more info on the coaching he provides. I worked with him for over 2 years and was very happy with the results!

Hi everyone!  It’s Coach Marc and I’m back. This time I’m writing about what it takes to run a marathon.  We all know that 26.2 miles is no joke.  So what’s the best way to prepare?  Here’s my run-down for you:

1.  Be prepared to put in some serious work.  A marathon isn’t the same as a 5k – you can’t just go out and “do” one.  You’ve got to put in months (and sometimes years) of serious training.

2.  Remind yourself you’ll have to sacrifice a bit.  There are times you’ll want to go out and have drinks instead of get up for your long run.  Remember 26.2 miles is far.  Be prepared for early nights and early mornings!

3.  Visit your local running shop and ask questions.  Whenever I need a bit of motivation, I pop over to the Haddonfield Running Company.  Find your local store and get the right shoes for your foot type.  Buy some new running clothes and a good watch to start your training.  Don’t forget to hydrate – carry a water bottle with you!  Find out what other runners do and formulate a plan.

4.  Find a running coach who can create a plan to help you reach your 26.2 goal.  Not all coaches are created equal.  Find someone who you trust and who has experience working with runners of all abilities.

5.  Track the progress you make.  Create a blog or online training log so that other people can help keep you motivated and provide that extra support you might need.

6.  Plan ahead so you can still have your fun.  Planning allows you to still have a life while still getting in all of the important runs.

What other advice would you add?  How much weekly mileage do you think is necessary to complete a marathon?

Looking to get into running or need to take your running to the next level?  Send me a message @ TrainWithMarc, on  Facebook or on Twitter.  To get started with a plan of your own, visit TrainWithMarc.com.

Find more Training With Marc posts here.


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Training With Marc: “5 Must-Have Items For All Runners”

I’m starting a new series on my blog, called Training With Marc. Marc Pelerin is a running coach, and runs TrainWithMarc.com. He provides runners with personalized plans to help them achieve their goals. Oh and he was also an awesome runner in high school and in college…so he’s got a lot of experience! Visit his website for more info on the coaching he provides. I worked with him for over 2 years and was very happy with the results!


Running does not require much gear.  Really, all we need is a pair of shoes and a place to go.  The open road is very forgiving if you’re prepared.  So let’s get a list of the top 5 must have items for all runners.


5.  Running watch:  Even the most basic watch – something that has the ability to start and stop is good enough.  You don’t have to have a GPS (like a Garmin or Nike), even though they provide instant feedback on the run.  Heck, sometimes having a GPS can make you run faster than you need to.  At the end of the day, the most important data you can get from a run is how long you’ve run for.

4.  Safety gear:  If you’re a night runner, now is the time to wear “night life” running gear.  You know, the stuff that looks like a highlighter.  Those particular colors reflect well and keep you visible to cars and other motorists.  Also, whether you’re running at night or in a more remote location, something like Road ID is a great way to notify someone who you are in case of an emergency.  Finally, leave a note or post online where you’ll be running.

3.  Running shorts/running bra:  There’s nothing worse than guys wearing boxers or chicks wearing a regular bra on a run.  Besides it being painful to look at, wearing running shorts and/or a running bra supports everything from bouncing and jiggling.  ‘Cuz gravity already stinks – ya know what I’m talking about?!

2.  Moisture wicking shirts:  Heavy sweater or just jumped in a pool?  Either way.  Buy a wicking shirt or sign up for a race that offers them.  You’ll NEVER go back to running in cotton.  I swear.

1.  Running shoes:  If there’s only one thing you must buy, it is running shoes.  Go to your local running store where they deal with runners all day long.  I love my local store, the Haddonfield Running Company because they take the time to listen to my running history and put me in a shoe that works for me.

What are your “must-have” items that I did not include?

Find past Training With Marc posts here!


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Motivational Monday!

I found this quote and love it! While it’s about running, it can relate to anything.

Some days you feel awesome and want to workout for hours, and other days it’s the last thing you want to do. But you do it anyway because you know you are bettering yourself, and you know you will feel great once you accomplish your goal. So, whatever you are working on…keep it up!

How do you motivate yourself when you really don’t feel like working out? What do you tell yourself?


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Motivational Monday!

I’m back! Last week was so nice and relaxing on the beaches of Myrtle Beach…now I’m heading back to work :(

But after a week of splurging (though I did run every day), I’m ready to get back into it. I feel bloated and probably gained 5 lbs! I need to re-focus, even though it’s hard when now my body has a crazy sweet tooth after last week.

I thought this quote was relevant:

The past few weeks I have kept wishing I didn’t gain a bit of weight, and that I could easily lose it. But I haven’t done my due diligence to really work hard to get back to where I was. This week I will start doing. Seriously, why is it so easy to gain weight or lose fitness, but hard to lose weight/gain fitness???

How do you motivate yourself after a vacation? How do you get back on track?

***Also, don’t forget to enter my contest to win 1 free month of online coaching with my running coach Marc. Click here for how to enter!


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Training With A Running Coach

As you may know, I’m currently away on vacation…but I really wanted to get this post in and share some great information and opportunities with you. Plus, it goes along with my running theme of the past few days :)

I got this idea from Cori (olivetorun.com), when she wrote about her running coach. I started thinking about my experiences with my running coach, and how it could benefit others, especially my readers!

I worked with Marc for about 3 years, and he helped me train for many races, ranging from 5K to the marathon. Not only did he write me training plans, he also provided daily support and race day plans/support. It was great having someone map out your training for you, but also great to know you could ask him questions at any time, or tweet at him and get feedback and encouragement.

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I’m going to turn it over to Marc now, so he can talk more about the coaching process and it’s benefits. The only reason I’m not still with him is financial reasons (hey, just graduated from grad school and am trying to start my own business AND pay student loans!) If I was able to I would certainly still be training with him :)

Here’s what Marc has to say:

Hi everyone!  First I have to thank Patty for allowing me to help run this contest.  I’m Marc and I blog and coach via trainwithmarc.com.

At TrainWithMarc, I’ve made it my mission to help runners of all abilities get the most out of the running they do.  Whether you are a brand new runner looking for your first race or you’re trying to BQ, I create a training plan that takes into account your running history, running goals, and “life-commitments”.  I tailor a plan that specifically fits YOU.  No two plans are alike; because no two runners are alike.  I take pride in seeing my online runners set PR after PR and that’s what drives me to be the best coach I can be.  

I look forward to working with Patty’s readers.  I am excited to begin working with the winner of the contest – and helping them reach their full potential as a runner.  If you aren’t the winner, don’t cry!  You can still contact me and we can discuss training plans for your upcoming races as well.

Here’s an opportunity for all of you to work with a running coach. Marc has generously offered to give one runner 1 free month of coaching! That’s an awesome deal…and if you like it you can continue working with him!

Here’s what you have to do to enter:

Doing the above counts as 1 entry. I will chose a winner on August 1…you have 1 week! :)

For more information about TrainWithMarc, Coach Marc, or his services visit him at trainwithmarc.com or find him on facebook.com/trainwithmarc.


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