Marathon Training Team Coach Q&A: Pam Faulkner
Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing a Q&A series that features each Sports Backers Marathon Training Team coach in an effort to share more about the Marathon Training Team and the work the coaches put into helping participants reach their goals for race day at the VCU Health Richmond November on 16. As we get closer to race day, you’ll have the chance to learn about the great things going on within the Marathon Training Team.
Featured Coach: Pam Faulkner
What is your favorite thing about MTT?
“Collectively getting our participants through the training and to the finish line.”
How many years have you been with MTT, either as a participant and/or coach? Which team do you coach?
“I have been a member since the second year of MTT – that would be 16 years. I am not certain what year I became an assistant head coach—likely in my fourth year. I have been a head coach for the past four years. I coach Team Egg (formerly Pickle, Tomato, Raisin).”
Do you have a favorite memory from your time with MTT?
“I would have to say the Pasta Dinners when Carnac the Magnificent fields questions from Lynn Anderson, sainted head coach of the past Nutty Team.”
What would you say is the biggest benefit that the program provides?
“Years of experience from us veteran coaches who must have seen everything! We coaches encourage participants to meet each other and have fun.”
What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone looking to start training for a marathon?
“Know that over the course of 25 weeks, one’s body can adapt to the pounding of road work. Muscles, ligaments, and tendons adjust to the stress. One must learn to know what normal strain is and what is injury. This understanding might not happen in one’s first year running a training program. For some of us blockheads, it might never happen. Seek medical assistance early. It can diagnose a problem, alleviate worry, and facilitate recovery.”
Describe a typical weekend group run.
“We begin with an inspirational or educational message that mirrors the weekly email in content. The team members are busy adults with many responsibilities, so they may not have read the latest email. It is our plan to repeat essential information in different formats: email, group message, or a post on the white board. Then, off to run. One coach leads the group and the others space themselves out to cover the fastest to the slower of the runners. There is a coach assigned to the end of the pack. After the run, we have freeze pops, sometimes a pot luck, and stretch on a carpet.”
What inspired or encouraged you to become an MTT coach?
“I am a nurse. I can’t help being helpful.”
Do you have a favorite place to run in Richmond?
“Mostly, I like variety. Any course can become monotonous. I do love the James River Park System.”
How many marathons have you done, and do you have a favorite memory or experience?
“I have run about 30 marathons, give or take a few. It is hard to tell because there was a DNF (Frederick, Maryland on a day that ended with snow, rain, and hypothermia), a DNS (Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN, due food poisoning), and a mid-run change to a half marathon. My favorite memory was running into Senator Al Franken at Twin Cities Marathon. He might have thought I was a constituent.”
What was your reason to run your first marathon?
“A friend at work was going to a marathon training session one Saturday. I had no idea what a marathon was, so I went along. I signed up and spent my summer in training. It was the year 2000.”
What do you like the most about the VCU Health Richmond Marathon?
“2 p.m. on November 16. Seriously, I will enjoy seeing my Eggs reach their goals! The post-marathon Facebook page keeps me mesmerized with its enthusiastic, emotional messages for several days after the marathon.”
The VCU Health Richmond Marathon takes place on November 16, 2019, and registration is available at www.richmondmarathon.org.