Coaching – Maximise your potential for you to race at your best

The Foundation of success lies in careful planning to maximize your potential to reach your target time. A coach is a trusted partner in your quest to become better. I work with runners from the back, middle and front of the pack. If you are goal orientated and determined to reach your goals, I am here to help no matter what your pace.

To achieve great things, we need to be patient and take a long-term approach to training to grow, adapt and improve incrementally season after season. I am in favour of long-term goals, it cant all be about short term gains and successes. We should not seek instant improvement and chase get fit quick approaches to training.

My coaching ethos: coach the individual and not the system. Individuality of training is too often neglected and is extremely important. There is a large inter-individual response to training, both in the magnitude of response and in time frame for developing and retaining training effects. Every athlete is physiologically and psychologically different which affects the way they handle their training and how training should be adjusted accordingly.

The perfect training program doesn’t exist. We work with humans the most important variable in performance!
No two people are the same, everybody responds differently to training, everyone has different levels of fitness and limitations.

Program modifications are to be expected. I adjust to my athletes by being flexible and making modifications and adjustments to their training programs. To meet their individual goals and needs each step of the way, the goal of my training programmes are to have my athletes adapt over time but this is also my goal, I adapt also. A large emphasis is placed on adaptability, recoverability, variability all the while insuring durability of the athlete remaining a key focus.

I coach my athletes to successful results by designing time efficient programs and optimizing them to include everything they need. Family and work are the most important things and these cant be compromised. I build training sessions into their busy lives and integrate flexibility, guidance into the notes of the plan itself.

After you sign up, you will receive an email with the questionnaire about your training and racing history schedule and goals. I will do a complete evaluation to determine your strengths and weaknesses as a runner. I will evaluate your goals and determine how to best advance you towards them.

I will email your new customized programme to you based on these. You will train optimally by avoiding the pitfalls that come with following a generic programme. Feedback is provided on an unlimited basis.
Program modifications are to be expected according to how you are adjusting, results from key workouts and based on family/work commitments.
The coach – athlete relationship is vital in terms of being able to adjust a schedule as things get in the way which they sometimes do.

GOLD Personal Coaching Package

Included with my GOLD personal coaching plan(designed for the person that wants a more personable coaching experience. It provides an attention to detail and communication approach. Guidance on all aspects of training)

  • Customized training plan delivered weekly, adjustments if necessary. Provides overview and description-detailed workout instructions to maximise your training and avoid injuries. The plan is tailored to your history, race goals and working/life commitments.
  • Coach interaction via email, calls and texts via WhatsApp.
  • Specific education on personal running paces and sessions. Specific warm up and drill routines for key sessions.
  • Advice on cross training and injury prevention.
  • Specific short term, mid term goals and long term planning
  • Strength training guidance where needed

Silver Personal Coaching Plan

This plan is for the person that wants a tailored program specific to their goals, fitness and ability but does not require one to one communication every day.

  • Customized training plan delivered monthly, adjustments if necessary. Provides overview and description-detailed workout instructions to maximise your training and avoid injuries. The plan is tailored to your individual history, race goals and working/life commitments.
  • Coach interaction and feedback with 24/7 email access.
  • Specific education on personal running paces and sessions

16/ 24 / 32 week options available


Are you on the Verge of Overtraining

Are we trying to achieve too much? While striving for perfection, we can demand more than our body can deliver.
The single most important reason runners are prone to overtraining is lacking the ability to make an objective assessment of our ultimate performance capabilities. I suppose we won’t accept we are mortal and that we have a built-in performance range beyond which training and other interventions cannot take us.
We believe that the harder we train, the faster we will run and we ignore the evidence that indicates that this is untrue.

Overtraining first leads to an impaired exercise capacity and is followed by a predictable range of medical and other complaints. Recovery occurs rapidly in those who wisely chose to rest as soon as any of the symptoms develop. Don’t continue to over train for months or years and risk developing a more serious condition.

Over trained runners find that while their minds are ready to run, their bodies would much rather be asleep in bed. The more their minds force them to train, the more their bodies resist until during a race, their bodies have the final say!!

Overtraining represents the most extreme example in which the central governor is maximally activated to ensure that we cannot exercise anymore and thus cause further damage.
In some runners, the first signs of overtraining are generalized fatigue, recurrent headaches, weight loss, loss of appetite for food or work, difficulty sleeping, early waking, inability to relax, worsening allergies, increased susceptibility to colds or flu, respiratory infections. All fail to understand why even though they are training hard, their race performances continue to deteriorate.
These runners have stretched their bodies beyond their individual breaking points.
Factors other than training alone can be involved.

Once athletes are even mildly over trained, they are already past peak condition and the only way to save the situation is to stop training immediately until the body is rested and the desire to return to run and compete again returns.

We lack the ability to make an objective assessment of our ultimate performance capabilities.
We believe that the harder we train, the faster we will run, and we ignore the evidence that indicates this is untrue. What do we do then? We train harder and run worse and then? We interpret our poor races as an indication that we have undertrained.
Consequently, we go out and train even harder.

The syndrome typically develops in one of 2 ways

1. Training very intensively for a protracted period or
2. Running a series of races in short succession, also following a period of intensive training.

Other important factors include inadequate recovery between days of intensive training and training monotony.
The combination of high training load with a monotonous training schedule is more likely to induce over training. Monotony creates a lack of mental and physical stimulus from which to adapt off of.  Instead of falling into your same pattern of training, introduce something new. Do a different workout type, go to different training venue, get out of the habit of having a set cycle and instead create modulation.

Don’t let your training progress from over reaching (generalized fatigue) to over training.
As long as your training performance is stable or improving, feeling tired does not in itself mean that you are doing too much!
Waking up tired and going to bed even more tired— clear signs of overtraining. Key to diagnosing overtraining is knowing when fatigue at either end of the day has become excessive.

Does your normal comfortable pace leave you breathless?
Do your legs feel heavy for far longer than usual after a hard workout or race?
Do you find it especially hard to climb up steps?
Do you dread the thought of training?
Do you have a persistent lack if appetite?
Are you more susceptible to colds, flu, headache or infections?
Is your resting heart rate persistently 5 to 10 beats higher than usual (reflects heightened activity of the sympathetic nervous system, reflecting the increased stress on the body and inadequate recovery?
Is your heart rate during exercise higher than normal?
Are there changes in your sleeping pattern.?

Without adequate rest periods, continued training at high intensities or load will cause and athlete to develop overtraining syndrome.
First signs is a fall in training performance.-Inability to produce your best when you are apparently in good form is the first sign of incipient sharpness.
Athletes who do not carefully monitor their training performances will never spot this subtle indicator. By comparing performances in identical workouts over the years, you can tell what physical condition you are in and as a result you will know what training is still needed to be done to produce your peak performance on the day that really mattered.

Monitoring your level of fatigue and resistance to stress of fast running should be done on the basis of heart rate and level of effort required to produce that performance. Some will argue that there is no need to measure by heart rate!!
If you have to run harder at a higher heart rate to achieve the same time, you have been training too hard. The body needs a period of rest and reduced training in order to do its best

Emotional and Behavioural Changes
*Loss of enthusiasm and drive-I don’t care attitude
*Desire to quit during a race
*Lethargy; listlessness; tiredness
*Inability to concentrate at work
*Impaired academic performance
*Changes in sleep patterns particularly insomnia
*Loss of appetite
*Poor coordination
*Feeling thirsty, Increased this intake at night,
*Easily irritated, anxious, unable to relax

Physical Changes
*Impaired physical performance, in particular, inability to complete routine training sessions
*Gradual Loss of weight
*Persistent increase in early morning heart rate of more than 5 beats per minute
*Abnormal rise in heart rate upon standing and during and after a standard workout
*Slower recovery in heart rate after exertion
*Postural hypotension
*Heavy leggedness, sluggishness that persists for more than 24hrs after a workout.
*Persistent muscle soreness that increases from session to session
*Swelling of lymph glands
*Increased susceptibility to infection, allergies, headaches and injury
*Loss of menstruation

Besides alterations in training and racing performances, the most effective predictors of the development of overtraining syndrome are measures of psychological state and training load.

4 best markers for monitoring overtraining are:
1. Performance on standard exercise tests
2. Self-analysis of well-being by the athlete
3. Profile of mood state
4. Sub maximal, maximal and post exercise recovery rates for heart rate, oxygen uptake and blood lactate concentrations.

Rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale is a very valuable metric-Perception of effort (internal load) is a great predictor of performance and injury as it is sensitive to changes outside ie stress, sleep, personal issues. Respiratory frequency is strongly correlated with perception of effort.

How about tracking a range of other things on a 1-5 scale like:

*Mental exertion of Workout (MPE)

*Stress Level

*Energy Level


*POP-muscle tension (springiness/how the legs feel)

*Sleep hours/quality

*Overall performance (1-3 simple scale,  below average, average, above average0

Overtraining also affects brain function – the ability of the motors centre in the brain to activate enough muscle fibres in the active muscles during exercise. This acts as a protective mechanism by preventing us from continuing to train when in an overtrained state to prevent further damage. The sensory feedback from damaged muscles stimulates the central governor to ensure that only a small muscle mass is recruited during exercise.
Also the central governor stimulates other brain centres so that even mild exercise is perceived as being more strenuous than it really is.
Feelings of abnormal fatigue are the brains way of telling you to rest because you have already done too much.

We runners must learn to respect the messages that our bodies give us, especially if the message is that we have already done too much.
We need to appreciate the true nature of the human body which is fragile even though it can be trained to achieve remarkable feats. Training beyond your limit produces progressively poorer performances leading ultimately to overtraining.

Take a long-term view to running, your goal should be a progressive but gradual improvement.
Training should not always be of the same intensity and duration week in week out. You will progress best when you allow a suitable recovery period after each hard training session.

The race doesn’t go to the athlete who has suffered most in training but who trained smarter. To be good you need to train hard at a high-level but you must also allow your body time to recover, take some time off, run your easy runs a bit easier.
Reset, restore the balance of stress and recover, make your resilient to over training.
Be strong and courageous enough to hold back just enough to keep from reaching into the unwanted zone of overtraining.
Training is simple-stress-recover-adaptation
If there isn’t adequate recovery, then adaptations won’t take place and what’s it all for then?

Watch out for the warning signs
Don’t let training and racing greed reduce you to the walking wounded.


overtraining 2

Michelle Greaney

FB: MG Coaching