Coaching runners is very rewarding. I love to see them succeed. Their joy at dashing across a finish line they never thought in a million years they would reach is amazing. You come to understand their weaknesses and their strengths. You spend time working with them to improve their ability and their drive.
You are excited at each second they cut off their mile. You’re thrilled when they finish a 5k and feel like they could do another one, when a month before they were the big bad wolf at the finish line.
When they don’t meet their goals and beat themselves up over it, your heart aches for them. When they are injured and frustrated that they must let go of a goal for three months or even a year, it hits you like a shovel in the face.
Coaching is also very hard. When you look at your runners, you see so much untapped potential and skill. You know they can do it, but sometimes they don’t believe that they can.
You want them to want to get better as much as you want them to get better, but that’s not really their goal. You want your runners to love the sport as much as you do, but some of them just don’t and you have to love and accept them anyway.
As a coach, you can give them all the tools and all of your spare time. You can educate them and cheer for them from the sideline. You can write their training programs taking care to not push them too hard or aggravate any chronic issues they may have. You can send them motivational quotes every day.
But it’s them who has to toe the line and not just on race day, but every day.