"There are so many amazing, dedicated and highly educated coaches out there [...]if a coach ever suggests weight loss is the way to becoming faster, walk away."
I was recently chatting to someone about their competitive running history and the coaches they had. They told me something that made me so sad and disappointed. Mostly because I felt they had only been exposed to the dark side of the sport.
They told me that they had once joined with a coach, but they found it to be a bit too structured for them. I initially thought this was just referring to the structure of the training, but I was wrong, it didn’t stop at that. They had been told by their coach that they needed to lose weight. The coach had given them strict information on what they could and couldn’t eat. So much so, that they had lost their enjoyment for the sport, which is why they decided to become self-coached.
I’m not saying this is a common trait in coaches, because it is not, but I want to expose that this is not how our sport should operate, and this is not normal! Young athletes need to recognise that instruction to lose weight is not a natural part of our sport, and is not something you should expect to be told to do by a coach.
Irresponsible guidance such as this can be so damaging to athletes in sport. Not only can it cause them long term physical and mental damage, but in a lot of cases it turns people away from the competitive side of the sport. It is so sad when this happens, because it is not a true representation of the sport. There are so many amazing, dedicated and highly educated coaches out there, that it is awful to think some people never get to experience this positivity. Instead, they experience the destructive, dark side of athletics.
Most coaches are not like this, so please, if a coach ever suggests weight loss is the way to becoming faster, walk away. Do not feel like this is a normal thing to be told, because it is not. Decline their support and keep searching, because very quickly you’ll find the right coach for you with positive ideas. There are SO many of them.
Essentially, listen to what your coach says, but don’t lose sight of what is right and wrong, and don’t feel like you can’t question them. If you aren’t sure about what they are saying, ask them why, and always trust your gut if something doesn’t feel right.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!