Coaching Out On Trails by Elizabeth McLeod

I LOVE running on trails.  I always have. When I was a beginning runner my feet would always take me to the dirt and trees.  Miles pass by much more quickly when nature embraces me and the sounds of my busy life fade away and I am left with the breath of the wind and the calls of the birds to fill my mind.  One of the many phrases I hear when I ask fellow women runners to come try trails with me is, “I’m not fast, I don’t want to slow anyone down or get left behind.”  This is a very valid concern and one that I shared when I first thought about running with WOOT as well. Apart from the challenges of leaving the pavement, venturing into the jungles of Okinawa can be an intimidating thought. Fears of getting lost or running into less that friendly wildlife can give anyone reason to pause.   

  Always be alert

Always be alert

WOOT coaching allows those who are comfortable running on the trails to take a smaller group of women out over several weeks while providing basic running tips and trail guidance. Running with a WOOT coach means someone is there making sure you will not get left behind while also making sure you have the time you need appreciate this beautiful island and the little gems we find off the beaten path.  In addition to sharing my love of the trails I also get to share any experience I have with other running related concerns.  I am happy to share what I know about gear and shoes, local or destination races, hydration and nutrition.  Even more than that, as a coach I show a group of interested women just how wonderful running on trails can be.  I share the beauty and challenges that trail running can give us and share in the awakening of the incredible sense of accomplishment that conquering these trails can give.   

  Running is always better with a coach

Running is always better with a coach

One of my favorite parts about coaching is sharing the experience with fellow runners.  There are so many beautiful moments out on the trails, and the views are only a small part of that. Whatever the moment is, there is beauty resting in it, and it takes my breath away.  For some of us, we are bravely facing down our fears of stepping on a snake or running through a spider web, for others it is figuring out how to power up (or down) a steep hill. For even more it might be managing the weather conditions, be it slick muddy paths or breathing in the oppressive heat and humidity.  These are all things we have to work through at some point as we venture away from civilization and deeper into nature.  Sharing in those proud moments of facing our fears and challenges and overcoming them makes my heart burst and keeps me coming back for more.  Even in those moments when one of us isn’t quite as successful as we had hoped, I love to be there with you to help remember the good and keep moving forward. We all can have a bad running day, and that isn’t what defines us as runners, but rather that we come back from it and try again. 

  WOOT's version of a mud run

WOOT's version of a mud run

 Relationships develop as we run many muddy miles together.  Tackling some tricky parts of trails and steep elevation together over a few weeks also means that sometimes I am just there to listen as the frustrating part of life come pounding out with our feet. Running, and running on trails especially, tends to strip away all reservations.   As a coach I am there to be with you in that journey, physically and mentally.  If you need me to push you to move faster or to tell you to get up that hill and that I know you can do it, I will, and with much enthusiasm.  If you are not feeling the speed that day for whatever reason; life, lead legs, or even that the view is just too beautiful to rush through, I am there for those days too.  If you just need to be left alone, well, I can do that too, but I will wait and check up on you every so often. Basically I am there to share with you my love of trail running and to do what I can to see that you might like it even just a little bit.  I love being on the trails and I just want you to love it too. Letting yourself go and then finding yourself again on the trails is a life changing event, and I am ready to share it with you. 

  The lovely ladies of WOOT LED 13 2017

The lovely ladies of WOOT LED 13 2017