In which I seek out a coach

It’s been nearly a year since I started Sub-three and we’ve had some good laughs (well, at least I have). But the training’s been a bust.

Sure, I ran a few races and I faithfully put my miles in, but I didn’t even make it to a marathon starting line.

Yeah, I’ve let you all down. But the one person I’ve let down the most is myself. It was a swell run while it lasted, but all good things come to an…wait a second!

Damn. I hate it when the scripts get mixed up. Just ignore all that nonsense above, kids.

In fact, I decided I need a coach. Just where do you find them anyway? I looked up “coaches” in the phone book and ended up standing in front of the Greyhound Bus Station for the longest time. When I went inside and told them what I wanted, the counter people were downright ignorant to me.

Geez. It was an honest mistake.

Fortunately, I knew several people who’d secured training plans from Greg Wieczorek, a marathoner and sometime contributor to Runner’s Feed and who offers online training plans with support. He calls his service Project PB (

I love Greg’s bio. Highlights include being an Ontario champion  who was then sidelined with injuries, a member of the Queen’s University varsity team, and who placed dead last at the Ontario University Championships.

Greg gained 40 lbs while pursuing his Chartered Accountancy designation, “then decided to make fitness and a healthy lifestyle a priority again, joined a local marathon training group, lost 40 lbs, and developed a passion for marathoning, which enabled him to become the Blue Nose Marathon record holder, the top Canadian at the 2011 Chicago Marathon, and have a personal best time of 2:25.”

I contacted Greg, advising him of my problem with alcohol, inherently lazy nature, aversion to suffering of any kind injuries, and he responded quickly, professionally and kindly.

“Frankly, you should probably consider another sport, like badminton, you soft loser,” Greg said.

After several hours of my persistent whining, and some 800 text messages, emails, Facebook posts and 237 phone calls, he changed his tune.

“Okay,” Greg said. “If you promise never to try and contact me again, I’ll provide you with a training plan.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I said. “You’re my coach now.”

Greg looked pale.

Because of my inherently frail nature and overall lack of stamina, Greg suggested I limit myself to a half (he originally suggested race walking 100 metres, but I persuaded him otherwise).

Seriously, Greg is providing me with a training program for a half marathon, which I’m going to try and rigorously follow and, over the next three and a half months, report back to you on my progress.

The marathon isn’t forgotten; it’s just with recent setbacks and the time of year, it makes more sense to train for a half and then target a fall marathon.

If all goes well, I expect to easily attain my goal time of a sub-five hour half.


About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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4 Responses to In which I seek out a coach

  1. Don’t knock the 100 metre speed walk until you’ve tried it! Good for you to take this step, I look forward to reading about how it works out.

  2. Dawn says:

    Coaches are evil. Pure evil. Mind you, mine helped me take an hour and 21 minutes off my marathon time, so I guess it’s worth it.

    I’m being completely sarcastic here. You will love receiving coaching. It’s the best thing I ever did. Text me when yours is chasing you up hills or leaning over and increasing the speed on your treadmill. We’ll commiserate.

    • subthree says:

      I don’t think Greg is quite as hands-on as Don, Dawn. He gives me a plan and it’s up to me to follow through. I think he’ll be available for advice, etc. But he’s not going to whip my butt. I think he’s counting on my own guilt for that.

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