I recently asked my athletes to describe themselves as a runner: determined, enthusiastic, keen and motivated were common responses.

It was so pleasing to see them be so positive about their own running, even after a year of few opportunities to test themselves. I’m really glad that they can cheer themselves on, recognising their capabilities and strengths.

As a coach, I see my role to be a realistic cheerleader for my runners, challenging them to push themselves as well as congratulating their efforts and sometimes delivering messages they don’t want to hear (“REST!”). It isn’t just about being enthusiastic, it’s about asking if they can push for one more rep, head out the door when they really don’t want to, keep their eye on their goals even when the training’s tough.

It’s about being the cheerleader my runners need.

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