We sat down with our Head Coach, Nuala McNally to learn more about her running experiences and motivations.
How long have you been running?
I only started running about 4.5 years ago. Like most people I started on the Couch to 5km journey and it was primarily to help lose the baby weight from my second born. I really started to enjoy the benefits I got from running and it then quickly became something I wanted to improve on. 4.5 years later I have completed many a half marathon and now currently training for my 4th full marathon in October.
What inspired you to become a running coach and how does your background shape your coaching approach?
As you can see in my background, I never started off a runner, if anything I was the opposite and the thought of running terrified me. However just literally putting one foot in front of the other has made so many positive changes in my life, its only right that I share this with others. Everyone starts somewhere and you have no idea until you try what you are actually capable of, therefore being able to inspire people to reach their goals and create positive changes in their life is the reason I wanted to become a coach.
What unique coaching methods do you use that are based on your experience?
I’m not sure I have any unique or special methods but I use my own journey to help and encourage people. I myself started with a 5km time of 35 mins and with consistent training I have chipped quite a bit of this and now running marathons, so in my opinion if I can anyone can! Also with the miles I have clocked over the years, I will hopefully be able to help with any questions or advice needed.
Share a memorable success story of a CRC member and your role in it.
Corny as it seems but all my coaching sessions are memorable as I get to see our members reap the rewards of their hard work with park run PBs, distance PBs, etc. I would have to say seeing some of runners achieve half marathon distances when only been running for a short time is definitely up there. My role is to help support and advise, they put the hard work in, I simply just help them channel it.
How do you design training programmes for different running abilities?
All plans are adaptable for all levels of runners. It simply knowing where the members are at in terms of their fitness and distances and then tailoring to suit them. Our club runs offer a variety of distances and speeds to suit everyone so no one is ever running on their own.
How do you motivate CRC members to overcome training challenges?
We make it enjoyable. We are all doing this for fun and once it becomes a chore, that’s when you will struggle to keep going. Therefore doing training sessions as a group can make this a lot easier and more enjoyable. Most of our members will say that they were dreading it at the start but by the end they felt great and it’s that feeling that push you to keep going!
Saying that some people will have a challenge or goal they want to reach and its inevitable you will have a day or two that you will find taxing. I know too well as I have had many of my own. But we will have a chat about the particular issue and see where we can make slight changes to regain confidence and then get back to it!
How important is nutrition in your coaching philosophy?
I’m probably not the one to commenting on this as I myself like to indulge in all the things that are not good for you lol! However my philosophy is everything in moderation! Also anyone in training blocks for long distance running achievements, protein and hydration are key to keep your body going and help with the muscle repair!
What’s the most rewarding aspect of helping CRC members?
No better feeling than seeing people achieve their goals. Not everyone sees the hard work that goes in but I do, and I understand the grit and determination it takes!
What’s goals have you set yourself or the club in the coming months and years?
We are currently in the middle of our second 10km-half marathon group training block which will finish with the Belfast City Half. We will have a 5km- 10km group starting soon also. I am hoping that maybe next year we may possibly have the need or want for a Full marathon training block as we’ve some very accomplished runners who I have no doubt could achieve this!!!
I myself have Great North Run in a few weeks and Dublin Marathon in Oct, so training hard for these. Next year I am hoping for a London Marathon spot if the GFA gods allow so!