Why I Hired a Coach for My Marathon Training

good financial planner

Is a good financial planner simply a good coach?

As you may or may not know, my top fitness goal this year is to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  To qualify, I need to run a 3:05 marathon.  To put that into perspective, I need to average 7:04 per mile for 26.2 miles.

To make achieving my ultimate goal of participation slightly more difficult, the 3:05 time doesn’t even guarantee a spot at the Boston start line.  It only means that you’ve met the qualifying standard.  By meeting the standard, you are now eligible for entry.  Those who have a faster qualifying time will be ahead of you in the registration line.  If the lot of allocated entries fills up before your spot in line, you’re out of luck.

Because of this uncertainty, I set the goal of running a marathon in less than three hours, which works out to just under 6 minutes and 52 seconds per mile.

The way I see it, in order to reach my goal, I have two options:

Option 1 – Do It Like I Always Have

It’s easy for me to think that I can do this alone. I know how to run. I can read. I can study. I can open a webpage or two.  The Internet is full of free and pre-packaged marathon training schedules that practically guarantee success.  In my previous three marathons, I have loosely followed these boilerplate workouts and have experienced reasonably decent results.

By doing it like I always have, I can save a few bucks and continue with a similar training style as I’ve used in previous marathons. Following these workouts, I can continue to log mile after mile in a blind effort to improve my time. In doing so, I think it’s possible to improve on my 3:09 time.  In fact, it even seems likely.

My concern is that my limited experience and independent study will only take me so far.  I’ll never know what I don’t know.  Am I training effectively and efficiently as possible?  Am I doing it all wrong?  What else should I consider?

Option 2 – It’s Time to Hire a Coach

I have concluded that there is no chance that I will do my absolute best if I try to tackle this goal alone.

Simply put, I just don’t know enough. I can’t learn enough in the allotted time.  Even if I do rely on what I’ve learned along the way and what I can continue to learn through self-study, my knowledge will be elementary compared to a real expert.

Furthermore, I’ll be putting too much time into this, and the goal is too important to me not to give it my best effort!  I also believe that it’s going to take the knowledge, experience, and accountability to said expert to get me across the finish line in less than 3 hours.

Accountability is Key

More than anything, a coach will hold me accountable.  No more the weather was bad, I had a rough morning, or I had to work late.  I’ve always been self-motivated, but I can promise that I’ll be even more motivated to stay on top of my training schedule if I know that I need to report back to someone.  The last thing I want is to embarrass myself by missing a workout or two (for the record, this is why I talk about this goal all the time too! If I write about it and you read about it, then I need to achieve it!).

In addition to accountability, I don’t know what I don’t know.  What if my training methods have been completely wrong?  What else can I do to improve my time?  Am I running too much?  Not enough?  Too fast?  Too slow?  Too much of the same distance or duration?  Just because I’ve crossed the finish line in the past doesn’t mean that I’ve been doing it right.

This Makes Me Think!

Writing this article has made me think…

Could it be time for me to hire a business coach?  Doesn’t it make sense to work with an expert who can guide me to be better by 10%, 20%, or even more?  If it makes sense to hire a coach for running, shouldn’t the same logic transfer to my professional life?

It’s difficult for me to think about needing a coach after nearly 11 years in business. It’s only natural that the more you know, the less help you think you need.  However, maybe hiring a coach isn’t about hiring a teacher.  Maybe it’s about having an impartial perspective to lean on, a second opinion to hear, or someone to whom you can hold yourself accountable.  Perhaps the reason for not hiring a coach is all about ego.  The truth is, the “I can do it myself” mentality often acts more as an obstruction to success than a springboard.

Is a Good Financial Advisor Simply a Good Coach?

When I evaluate my responsibility in a financial planning relationship with a client, I can easily analogize with the player/coach relationship.  My job is often, more than anything, to be a positive voice, encouraging you toward your goals.

When you veer off track, my role is to reset your direction.  When you’re stuck at a crossroads, it’s to assist you in evaluating your options.  When you need expert advice because you simply don’t know, I am here to help.  And maybe most important, it’s to keep you accountable to yourself, so you increase the likelihood you’ll meet your goals.

So tell me…has anyone hired a business coach?  How did it work out for you? Was it worth your time?  Your money? Do you feel like your training and performance has improved?


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