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"Nothing compares to having an accessible coach on your side." -Scott Burnham
CRC: Congrats on the big improvement arc and the new PRs. What role does having a coach play in making such big leaps forward with your racing?
Scott: First of all, thank you! Having a coach has been a huge help in my training and development as a competitive runner. I've had help from friends and read a couple books on training methodology, but nothing compares to having an accessible coach on your side. Coach Chad has been my first running coach and has helped me PR at the 5k, 10k and half marathon distances. The biggest aid has been putting together a training schedule with quality workouts that really push me. These are workouts I never would have done without him. We've been able to see some real gains in the workouts alone which then has been illustrated in races. Coach Chad has also been a huge asset in bouncing ideas off of and planning race strategy. Sometimes I'll want to do too much and he brings me back from potentially doing something reckless. Conversely he also pushes me when I may be a little to conservative with my approaches to racing. Having a coach in my corner has been the biggest part of my recent success and has taken me to the next level in my running after experiencing a plateau in my race times for several years.
CRC: As an athlete, what do you gain from working with a coach that you don't get when you plan out your own training?
Scott: The biggest gains from working with an experienced coach are the variety of workouts and being held accountable. The workouts Coach Chad has given me are ones I would never have come up with on my own. This is especially true of the interval workouts. The workouts are invaluable. Being held accountable to someone has also helped me with my consistency and maintaining the highest mileage I've ever done consistently. I've been working with Coach Chad for a little over a year and consistently running that entire time with only a couple weeks off has helped me maintain a high level of fitness that has ultimately led me to the success I've had recently.
CRC: Tell us about the process of working with Coach Chad. What's it like to get your customized training plan put together?
Scott: It's nice not to have to think about my training plan too much. Meaning I'm not responsible for putting it together. Coach Chad will put together a 4 week training segment and shares it with me on Google Docs. This excel document acts as our base and we change items as needed. I then update the document with my run I did each day and add comments about my times, how I felt, weather, shoes, etc... We can then use that document to review past weeks' workouts and performances. It's kind of like a shared running journal. I normally don't look too far in advance and take the assigned runs one day at a time.
CRC: Those times keep dropping! What's your next goal?
Scott: Thanks! This year has been crazy for runners everywhere and I feel blessed just to have found some races to run in. My biggest race of the year for me is on Nov. 1, the InFirst Veterans Marathon in Indiana, PA. This has really been the focus of all my training and the PRs I achieved should be a good indication of how I'd like to run this marathon. My goal is 2:34:00 which would be a 6 minute PR for me. After my recent half marathon, I feel prepared and ready to compete. I haven't thought too much after that race though. We'll have to see how this winter goes with COVID-19 and if large races return in the spring. I do have deferred entry for the Washington DC Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and the Canton HOF Half Marathon, so they may be my next big races.