Ask Ann: Key Lessons

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Dear Ann,
Now that you’re a coach, are there some, key lessons you pass down from your own coaches?
Michael

Dear Michael,

I have always loved being a student of the sport—reading, asking questions, trying new things and learning what worked for me. I have been fortunate to have had several coaches who helped fill in gaps in the complex puzzle we call ultrarunning. Your question gets me thinking about the one who did the most to make me the runner and coach I am. Here are 17 lessons I learned from my favorite coach.

Consistency My coach made sure I would get out and do something every day, every week, every month, year after year. Sometimes a lot, sometimes just a little, occasionally fast, often very slow. Consistent training yields consistent racing.

Smile Happiness is infectious. She taught me that no matter how tough the day, there is always something to smile about. How can I mope about something going wrong when it makes such a great story to tell my friends?!

Passion I learned that a good coach must be as passionate as her runner. She made it obvious that she shared my passion for running.

Adaptability I always admired her instinctive ability to accept and instantly adapt as situations changed. We all have that ability buried inside us. I’ve worked hard to let it out.

Running is play, not work I have no idea how many miles I’ve run in my career. I can thank my coach for that. She viewed running as a chance to play. For her, there was no focus on checking the pace, tracking the miles, counting the hills. A good run was being out there having fun.

Positive attitude My coach never scolded me, never barked orders. She did give me a sly look occasionally when I did something wrong, but it was always to encourage me to do something better.

Relax let yourself run free. My coach had a naturally beautiful running form. Just watching her glide along, no tension, no unnecessary motion, made me a better runner.

Keep it simple My coach was always about simplicity. She was not into fancy gear. It was simple running.

Don’t overthink things She taught me to never overthink my running.

A steady trot is the fastest way to cover ground I’ve never been the fastest runner, nor the most talented. My coach helped me learn to run steady, mile after mile, never worrying about the other runners or the terrain ahead.

Enjoy the journey For my coach, it was always about the journey, not the destination.

Explore new places My coach made sure we searched for new trails, trotted across green meadows and bounded up hills just because they were there.

Stop to sniff the flowers My coach taught me to look around, smell the fresh air and feel the breeze blowing my hair. No matter how long or hard a run I had scheduled, there was always time to take in the unexpected view.

Get wet Every stream, every lake is a chance to refresh yourself with a quick dip.

Enjoy the moment There are times in life when we need to run long and hard. There are other times when the best thing to do is sit quietly at the edge of a meadow. In either case, enjoy the moment.

Passing the torch Seeing her love of running increased my desire to give back to the sport by mentoring and coaching others.

Unleash your potential There are times to hold back, but there comes the moment when you need to take off the leash and let yourself run free.

My best coach ever, and for the last 17 years: Wasatch Trason (1998-2015).

My best coach ever, and for the last 17 years: Wasatch Trason (1998-2015).

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About Author

Ann Trason is a 14-time women’s champion at the Western States 100, and set World Records at the 50-mile (5:40:18 in 1991), 100K (7:00:47, 1995), 12-Hour (91 miles 1312 yards, 1991) and 100-mile (13:47:42, 1991) distances. Ann was co- director of the Firetrails 50 in northern California for 10 years, and has taught science at the college level. Ann currently coaches middle school cross country and supports other's ultrarunning achievements by volunteering, pacing and crewing at ultramarathon races throughout the Western US.

1 Comment

  1. Cory Marshman on

    Ann, this is amazing and made me personally re think running. I have two furry running couches as well and they just want to get out, enjoy the speed, enjoy the wind through their hair and mud between their paws. Thank you for reminding me that running is about the journey and not about the stats on your fitbit or whatever new fancy fangled running thingy they have now days.