Last month I met with my Coach, Jason Soria, to begin my official ramp up to Austin 70.3. I was excited to see him again and start a training plan. Of course I was nervous I could keep up and stay healthy but I wouldn’t trust myself to anyone else.
You might wonder, “Isn’t Julie a trainer and running coach?” Yes, I know a lot about exercise physiology and coach/train with a great group – the Frisco Running Club. But, there is something about Jason that makes me train better & train smarter. He gets me, he knows when I need to be pushed and when I need to pull back. He trains his athletes with a scientific approach that caters to each person. He provides strategy and coaching around my individual fueling needs, heart rate zones, nutrition intake, race day planning and (much needed) planned REST! To be at my best, I need this comprehensive approach.
I met Jason back in 2008 through the Town North YMCA – both working as trainers. I watched him train for various Ironman’s -including Kona! He is an amazing athlete and while he might look a little intimidating… Don’t get the wrong impression! He is probably one of the sweetest most humble guys you’ll ever meet.
I actually credit starting endurance sports to him – he was so inspiring to everyone at the Y. But, I knew he coached mostly triathletes (and badass’ at that!) so, I went at it alone to start my first marathon.
In the spring of 2010 I ran my first Marathon – The Big D in 4:11:07. I bonked the back half and figured, “At least I finished!” But, the next time around I thought – “I’ve got this, I just need to do MORE LONG runs!” So, December 2010 I ran the White Rock Marathon in 4:07:34. My performance was very mediocre and I felt taxed the entire race. The long run, after long run, after long run (plus, medium long runs during the week) was just too much. Obviously I was slightly over trained and I learned that “more isn’t necessarily better”
After two attempts of missing the 4 hour mark I was ready for some professional help and went to Coach Soria. I remember we started by first finding my zones. He had me run the track so he could find my specific heart rate zones. I would pass after each lap reading my heart rate off and he would yell, “another lap- FASTER!” until I about croaked! I learned that my run zones are actually a bit higher than the average person. No more cruising at 130bpm, I can withstand 149 and still be Z2.
So, this time around my program was sooooo much different than the old printable Hal Higdon marathon schedule. Hello zone training, speedwork, hill training, and cross training! And, for weeks and weeks of marathon training Jason didn’t give me a long run over 15 miles! (WHAT?!) But each of those 15-milers had backend tempo or intervals built into it. While it was all very challenging I was scared that I trained all summer without a “long run” ?!?!? Finally I saw an 18 and 19/20 pop up, phew! But, that was it — already taper! Jason was giving me some serious anxiety!! “Trust the process” he would always say.
Long story short, I went to the Chicago Marathon October 9th and ran a 3:34:04. A Boston Qualifying time and over 30mins off my previous times! I was sold. Jason, I trust the process.
Since then Jason has prepared me for several other marathons and small triathlons. And, I’m excited to start my journey with him to the Ironman scene. We’re off again! #swimbikerun