The Value of Mentoring

Think back to when you first started running.  What motivated you stick with it?  How did you learn about the the sport's culture, idiosyncrasies, and terminology?  (Fartlek.  Snot rockets.  Nipple lube.  Seriously?)  Yes, runners are a fun, friendly and outgoing - but from the outside looking in we are an odd lot.  How did you make it into the inner circle?  For many, the answer is that there was someone there to help guide us on our journey. 
 
None of us were the first person to run, nor will we be the last.  We stand on the the shoulders of those that came before.  One of the things I enjoy most about veteran runners is how giving they are of themselves and their time to help new runners.  Mentoring a new runner seems ingrained in a runner's DNA.  We all love to give advice and support and tell our outlandish stories about how good new runners have it when compared to us old-timers.  (GU?  We sucked on jawbreakers.  GPS?  We spent hours in our cars measuring our go-to courses.)  But because we are all givers, it's very easy for the new runner to be overwhelmed with information coming from all sides.  That's why many of us find a mentor; a single voice that has been there and done that and will use that experience to help you reach your goals.
 
Mentors not only help others.  Mentoring requires that the mentor gain a better understanding of running and goal setting and training.  Mentors are forced to be stronger than ever in order to support both themselves and their "cadet(s)."  Mentors must be problem solvers and see things through another's point of view.  It is through these processes that mentors learn more about the,selves and grow as both runners and people.  

FLEET FEET's various training programs utilize the mentorship model to help its team members reach their goals.  Whether they are helping someone finish their first 5k or run a fast marathon, our mentors are second to none.  As an example, consider that one of our mentors and his cadet were recently profiled in Competitor Magazine as part of Saucony's 26 Strong program.
 
Sean Walsh and Adam Sholes of the FLEET FEET Marathon Training Program were chosen from many, many applicants to be a part of the 26 Strong program.  Both underwent VO2 Max testing at the FLEET FEET Training Center.  Since late June Sean, a veteran FLEET FEET coach, has been using the heart rate zone information that resulted from the testing to prepare Adam for the Rock 'n' Roll St. Louis Marathon.  Their marathon training took a small detour when Sean, who ran in this year's Boston Marathon, paced Adam to a 5k PR at  FLEET FEET's Unstoppable 5k, which raised funds for the Boston bombing victims.  Sean and Adam are excellent examples of how running is not a zero sum game.  We can all help each other win. 

FLEET FEET's excellent coaches that help their groups each and every season reach their goals.  To read more about Sean and Adam, check out their article here.  And to find out more about how to join a FLEET FEET Training Team, click here.

Good Luck and Happy Racing!
Coach Cary

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