Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm
Sunday, 12 pm to 5pm

Why Hire a Running Coach? Liz of Personal Record Coaching Explains

Lively Athletics is extremely excited to be hosting a panel of local running coaches out of the store (109 N. Oak Park Avenue) on January 11.  The coaches will offer a brief introduction, answer any questions you may have about coaching, and talk about the benefits of working with a professional coach.  This event will be low-key and informal, allowing for a totally low pressure way to figure out if a running coach is the right plan for you!

In preparation for this event, Lively co-owner Anne had a nice email chat with friend, runner, mother, and amazing coach Liz Stetson.

Anne: So, what’s your coaching style like?

Coach Liz: I would describe my style as collaborative. I spend a significant amount of time meeting with my new clients to understand what their goals are, what they’ve done so far and what they hope to gain by working with a coach. Based on these initial meetings and questionnaires I put together a proposal of how we might work together to achieve these goals. Clients have the opportunity to make sure I heard them correctly before I start making their training plans.

Like most running coaches I also personalize my coaching to the client’s needs. I have some clients who like more consistent feedback and check-ins. I have other clients who just want a training plan emailed to them and they’ll let me know if they have any questions. By investing time upfront I can personalize my style to the client.

liz at Lively

Here’s Coach Liz Stetson swinging by Lively with her Assistant Coach, Siena. One of our most popular Facebook posts of all time.



Anne: Why do you think people should hire a running coach? Can’t I just buy a pair of shoes (from Lively Athletics) and a sports bra (from Lively Athletics) and hit the road?

Coach Liz: Having the right gear is the first important step in enjoying successful running. New runners may think once they have the gear they’re all set and they get so excited to start running that they mistakenly start running too much, too fast, too soon and get injured or burned out. A coach will help a new runner smartly build up to robust training routine. A coach can also prevent new runners from developing bad habits.

Other runners (and I’ve been in this boat myself) have been running so long that they think they can rely on old training techniques/plans and get the same results. Coaches can help reframe running goals or push you to achieve goals you didn’t think were possible. Even coaches need coaches. It’s easy to fall into old habits and routines. A good running coach will help runners stay motivated and try new workouts.

liz coaching philosophy

There’s plenty of free training plans on the Internet so I understand why some runners would be hesitant to pay someone create a plan. There’s nothing wrong with using these plans – I’ve followed some myself. But a personalized plan is specific to your strengths and weaknesses. Life throws you curveballs and a coach will help you modify a plan when you miss a week of workouts because you were sick or you were traveling.

The bottom line is that a coach keeps you accountable and motivated.

Anne: What’s your favorite race you’ve ever run?

Coach Liz: I’ve done 2 Ragnars and 1 Hood to Coast relay races and I always feel such a high after running these races. It could be the sleep deprivation and the poor eating habits while stuck in a van with a bunch of runners as crazy as me but running is typically an individual sport and when I get to share this love in a competitive setting I experience my love in a whole new way. I highly recommend a relay style race to any runner.

liz runs ragnar

Here’s Coach Liz knocking out a leg on her second Ragnar. How can one woman look so fierce and yet so silly all at the same time?

Other than relay races, I rarely run races for the scenery. I’m most concerned with the speed of a course, the efficiency of the race day logistics, and the race ambiance. I’m someone who doesn’t mind large races as long as I’m in a good starting position. For longer races I’ve enjoyed half marathons on the Chicago lakefront (i.e., Chicago Spring Half, Soldier Field 10 miler and the Monster Dash). I’ve only done 2 marathons – both Chicago. I love, love, love the Chicago spectators and the course is spectacular for its speed and the sight of many of Chicago’s neighborhoods. For shorter races where every second counts, I really enjoy the Good Life race in Oak Park.

Anne: What’s your dream race to run?

Coach Liz: Despite saying that I rarely race for scenery, I’d really like to do a half marathon on the West Coast. I’m thinking Napa or somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Moderate temperatures, beautiful scenery and some vino at the finish would make a destination race perfect for me.

Aside from the dream destination race, once I recover from birthing child #2 this spring, I have my eyes set on Boston. I never trained seriously when I ran my first 2 marathons and my half marathon times suggest that I should qualify as long as I stay injury free.

Anne: If you could train a celebrity, who would it be? (I’m really looking for you to pick Kim Kardashian as that would kinda boost the traffic to our blog. And use the phrase “Kim Kardashian’s butt” at least once in your answer)

Coach Liz: Anne Pezalla. Her celebrity might be currently contained to Oak Park/River Forest/Forest Park but with my guidance, she could be a national powerhouse. First off, I’d make her run. Already she’d see a huge improvement. Second, the girl’s got untapped speed and I’m famous for my speed workouts. Thirdly, Anne can smack talk with the best of them and with my coaching she would have the chops to back her up on the starting line.

Anne replies: Listen, I love the idea. Accountability?  Improvements? Great! 

But you’re busy with clients, a baby, and a very active pregnancy so let me save you the time.  I’ve created a running plan for myself that I’m sure you’ll sign off on.  You are welcome.





Anne: How can clients reach you?

Coach Liz:














Lively Athletics


30 Dec, 2014

Resolutions,  Training,  Uncategorized


Type a comment