Well, sorta kinda it is about me, but it’s really not.
I’ve signed up to be a volunteer pace group leader at a Frontrunners marathon running clinic, starting January 12 and leading up to the 40th BMO Vancouver Marathon May 1, 2011.
I already know from leading indoor spin-type classes at the YMCA that it’s not about me so much as the participants. Certainly it’s a good way to keep on track with my own fitness and to get in the training to complete the race, but at a certain point a fitness leader has to put aside her own goals and tune in to the needs of the group members.
- You have to show up even when you don’t feel like going that day.
- You have to know where the heck your run route is, because you’re out in front.
- You’re out there for 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 hours, you better make that route interesting, preferably a loop that is do-able in the time frame allowed.
- You have to adjust on the fly, make sure everyone gets back to the start line, sweep the stragglers if someone’s having a bad day, and be prepared for anything.
As our clinic leader put it this morning, if you’re hell bent on getting a Personal Best this time, don’t be a run leader, be a participant. Runners will sense a pressure to perform, and that leads to overdoing it, overtraining, overuse — injury — and failure to cross the finish line. Maybe not for you, but for them. And the whole idea of these clinics is to get people to the finish line injury-free.
The good news is – helping people achieve their fitness goals is a passion of mine, it keeps me going. It’s why I volunteer at the Y. It’s why I join clinics – because a shared victory is sweeter than a personal one.
Besides, I live to run and I don’t like to run alone all the time.