Today’s session did not go as planned and I know you are upset about it. You were talking about not getting faster, wasting your time, and questioning why you are doing this. This is a normal reaction. I have gone through exactly the same a dozen times and believe me, almost all runners have experienced this.
Indeed, your 400 meters were all more than 3 seconds slower than the time I set out for you. And I was upset too. I was wondering if I did any calculations wrong, or if I missed something in your other runs in the past few weeks… But no, everything was correct. So I made 1 phone call…

And now am a very happy coach…

According to your partner, the past 2 days you had meetings lasting up to midnight, you only slept 4 hours per night and you only had a quick breakfast today. And then you still showed up after a day’s work, did 12x 400 meters almost with tears in your eyes…

You did what most people would not do. You did not give in, you kept fighting. Putting out a session like this, with all the adversaries of the past days, impresses me more than going faster than the planned times.
I know that a lot of runners would either have asked to do a slow run or to skip today’s training completely. You did not do that, you showed up, put on your game face, and went as hard as you could under the circumstances.

This is what makes you better, stronger, and faster. This shows to me that you can go through walls if you need to. Heck, make that a whole city block.

Kick out the “upset” and let in the “happy”, because this was one hell of a session. This was an example for all on how to do it.
And I was wrong in my opening statement… “almost all runners have experienced this.” No, they haven’t. Only the strong ones have.

Next time, keep me in the loop of the setbacks so we both can start and end the training happy.

Your Coach.

By Gert Rijkx, founder and head coach of QuadraCoach. Former athlete and certified athletics coach with over 25 years of experience in coaching, training, and motivating runners of all levels