June 12


Why Coaches are Important; Communities Too

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I learned by experience why coaches are important. I started running marathons in 1998. I did not plan on running a marathon then. It crossed my mind about 15 days before my first Honolulu marathon. I had been running for about three months, doing six miles three times a week.

On November 26, 1998, I ran nine miles. My next run was the Honolulu marathon on December 13, 1998. My wife needed to go to Honolulu for work in December, and I went with her. My brother Jim had been living in Honolulu for a few years and had run the Honolulu marathon.

I asked my friend Joe at work and my brother Jim about running the marathon, and they both advised me not to. I had a friend of my wife also give the same advice. What did they know? They weren’t coaches. Maybe there’s a reason why coaches are important.

My time was 6:01. I was sore, tired, and had terrible chafing. I flew back to Chicago seven hours later. I recommend a different plan for doing a marathon.

“Your only limitations are those you set up in your mind, or permit others to set up for you.”

Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World

From 1999 through 2007, I went back to Honolulu every year to run the marathon and threw in a couple of Chicago marathons and other running races. I trained on my own and did not get any faster, learning the hard way why coaches are important.

Gaining Value from Coaches

In March of 2008, I moved to Honolulu. I decided to learn how to swim better. I found a clinic with Boca Hawaii and started going to the pool on Mondays and Wednesdays. I was the slowest in the clinic.

Raul is the owner of Boca Hawaii and the leading coach. Raul and the other coaches were great and supportive, and the other swimmers were also. So I got a glimpse of why coaches are important and why community is important also.

At the end of the clinic, there was the Rough Water Race. The original Ironman swim course. 2.4 miles of ocean swimming. It took me around three hours, not last but close.

When I came out of the water Raul and the other coaches and swimmers were waiting for me. This was when I knew that these were my coaches and my community.

Next up was the Boca marathon clinic. I was overweight and slow. Raul knew how to motivate me, and my new friends did the same.

Why coaches are important

I never missed a workout because my coaches and friends were expecting me. I wanted to be there for them too. They all made me faster. There it is – that’s why coaches are important.

I had a bad cold before the marathon that year. I tied my previous best time at 5:10. The following year was 4:30, the next was 3:59, and then my best at 3:54. The coaches worked on my running mechanics, and my community kept me motivated, wanting to do better.

Victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats.

Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World

Ironman training is where the community comes into play the most.

When you are dead tired from training and must get up early to start a hundred-mile bike ride, you don’t want to. Knowing your friends are waiting for you will get you out of bed. When you are tired after running 15 miles and want to stop, they will pull you along, and you will do the same for them.

It is grueling to train for an Ironman. The race is hard. Crossing the finish line and hearing, “John Harris, you are an Ironman”, is a special moment.

why coaches are important

How a community helps you grow

The gift is the journey and everyone who helped get you there. They helped me become the athlete I never dreamed I could become. I know I would not have done it on my own.

Next up is something much harder. The physical challenges are formidable. The mind is more challenging. I am an introvert.

I’ve had bad things happen in my life, like everyone else. I have unworthiness issues. These are mental issues and often challenging to recognize and very hard to deal with on your own. I have struggled.

My Ironman and marathon training taught me I need coaches and a community. I looked for several years and did not find what I needed.

why coaches are important

Then I discovered the Master Key Experience (MKE). Coaching and a community. This is what I needed. And again, I experiences why coaches are important.

Once you enter the group, there is a lot to do. That’s a good thing. I didn’t become an Ironman by watching videos. There was work to do and the coaches (guides) encourage you through it and help where they can. The same thing holds for getting out of whatever is holding you back from achieving your desired life.

I have been an introvert and felt unworthy. I would not have written this blog two years ago. I am not yet an extrovert, nor do I always feel worthy. I have become more open, feel worthy and continue to grow. It doesn’t happen all at once.

MKE has the best coaches and a great, safe, supportive community. This is not a sprint. It is a marathon. I continue to grow as a person, and my life keeps improving.

With help from the coaches and community, I am finding my way to reach my full potential. Check out the Master Key Experience. There is nothing like it. Come and find out how to be the best you can be and why coaches are important.

Read more articles by John Harris

About the author

I live in Honolulu, Hawaii, after spending most of my life in the suburbs of Chicago. I am a triathlete who has survived four Ironman races and works Security in a Honolulu hospital. With help, I am growing and overcoming my introversion and self-worth issues. I assist others in overcoming the obstacles that have prevented them from obtaining the life they desire.

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