The Irish Olympic runner Steve Scullion, who has a built a big following during his training for the Paris Olympics, put out a highly emotional and interesting video about his failure in the London marathon and the ending of his dreams to go the Olympics again. I have followed his channel for a while as he has a very calm, considered and realistic approach to running. A 2.09 marathoner he is obviously top level, but he is just a little behind the super elite. 
To qualify he needed to run below 2.08.10, the minimum standard to be able to race in Paris and London was his last opportunity. He was hugely disappointed to run 2.16 which meant he failed to qualify. In the video and a further follow up he went through the reasons he ‘failed’. This included a lack of London preparation from soreness and tiredness in the preceding weeks as well as not going to an Ethiopian training camp in January. 


He also commented on how his You Tube channel took too much time away from running, spending 10 hours a day on his you tube videos and not dedicating enough to being a runner. He noticed how his rivals were hungry and dedicated only to running.


What is special about Steve is that he does not have a coach nor was he part of any training groups. He was both teacher and pupil, leader and follower all in one. In his breakdown of his mistakes, he lists so many times where he didn’t take the right choice of what his mind said, but rather what his emotions desired. 
This sums up perfectly why it is so hard to coach yourself. In the same way that it is much easier to give advice on relationships and life than it is to follow it yourself when in that same situation. 
Self-coaching is very difficult, this is why almost every athlete, especially in individual sports have at least one, if not more than one coach in some form. It is why individual athletes team up to form training groups. 
While top athletes understand the need for coaching I feel the general public are still way behind on this. When I got myself a personal trainer while competing in bodybuilding, many people were surprised or baffled I would ‘need’ a coach if I already knew so much around training. This misses the point of why you have a coach, it is not just to provide knowledge, obviously that can be part of it, but the main reason is to have an external person who both motivates you to higher levels and also guides you to the right options and can overrule your often incorrect emotional decisions. When together with the right coach the sum of the whole becomes much greater than its parts. 
In other running content, Fredrik Zillen, who has a great You Tube Channel, is a Swedish running mechanics coach who produces some amazing content which counters much of the general incorrect running advice we hear. When I do my next solo Hyrox in Sweden this December, I will call in to see him for a running assessment in his biomechanics lab. 
He posted a nice video on running injuries and weight, looking at the correlation between being overweight and the likelihood of injury. The common sense view would say that the heavier you are the more likely you are to get hurt, but that was not the case. In fact, the opposite was found, overweight runners had less pain. This is because the bigger stress on your knees comes from your running speed rather than the weight you are carrying and lighter people run faster. Even when you match the speeds, lighter runners create higher vertical forces than more overweight people which again has a greater chance of injuries on your knees. 
What Does This Mean For You?
The main thinking points from this should be whether you need a coach? If you had unlimited money, what coaches would you hire to help you in life? 
Most people would not use anyone as they are not aware of the power of coaching. This day and age we have coaches for everything; running, fitness, meditation, parenting, career coaching and more. While money is perhaps the biggest objection, the next reason people do not use coaching in some form, even in areas that they struggle is they do not believe they could be helped by the process or that they are worried about the consequences of having a coach. This could be that they will be forced to do something they do not want to do or worried they will let them down if ‘fail’ to get results. 
While these may be fair criticisms for some coaching approaches and philosophies, I’d say the majority are like myself, who work with the person to set a plan appropriate for where they are today in life and look forward to seeing what can be created in a supportive environment rather than shout and blame for perceived errors or failures.


Photo –  A picture of me when I was coaching rugby in Brazil and with my own bodybuilding trainer, former NABBA world champion Mark Krah-

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