Coach Spotlight Series: Catching Up With Natalie Johnston — CoachUp Blog
As you’ve been accustomed to in our weekly spotlights and newsletters, we try to chat with coaches that exemplify the #CoachUpWay. Hard-working coaches deserve all the shine and praise, so we’ve been bringing you tips, tricks, and strategies to improve your profiles and experiences on CoachUp. This week, we spoke with Natalie Johnston, one of CoachUp’s wonderful Running, Track + Field, Strength + Conditioning, and Fitness coaches. Coach Natalie is located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and she’s been a wonderful partner to us at CoachUp! We chatted with Coach Natalie back in September, so we figured it was time to catch up with the running maestro!
CoachUp: Hi, Natalie — welcome back! For any new readers, give us a quick run-down on your achievements and skills.
Natalie Johnston: I was 13 years-old when running first captivated me and I’ve been doing it ever since. Running is particularly wonderful in comparison to other sports because you can do it anywhere if you have shoes! I ran competitively for Division I and Division II colleges in both Cross Country and Track. I took my numerous injury frustrations and made it my goal to understand the body, how to train, and fuel more efficiently. In my post-collegiate years, I’ve trained in every type of running, but mostly 5ks up through marathons.
CU: Why is it important to incorporate running into training for any sport?
NJ: I think it is essential because it’s simply the foundation of most sports. Not everyone needs to run miles upon miles to improve at their sports — however, having some form of aerobic foundation is important. I feel it is imperative to work on your aerobic base first. Then, implementing anaerobic workouts will ensure that your structures are strong enough to handle the stress and load of harder workouts.
CU: Do you train athletes in sports other than running?
NJ: I train soccer, softball, baseball, and basketball players. We focus mostly on building strength and working on the mechanics of running. On CoachUp, I’m listed under Running, Track & Field, Strength & Conditioning, and Fitness. It has helped out immensely because it allows a wider audience to choose me as a coach!
CU: Do you have tips for rookie and veteran coaches on how to market themselves?
NJ: Social media is your friend these days, so use it! Also, get involved in your community. I coach at a local high school for not a lot of money, but my name gets out there, and I have received referrals. I coach a local running club as well, which also helps to build up my street cred!
CU: The Boston Marathon took place a few weeks ago in CoachUp’s backyard. Tell our coaches a bit about how you develop training plans to help athletes reach long-term goals such as running a marathon.
NJ: Endurance training takes time, patience, and consistency. Also, having little-to-no lapses in your training helps to achieve long-lasting results, so, at times, being an endurance coach can be cumbersome because a lot of runners want to get faster as quickly as possible. Educating your athletes about the importance of a slow progression so that they can achieve long-term results is super important.
Most athletes I meet do way too much, so it’s my job to redirect their thinking and teach them! I had a client get into the NYC Marathon last year and he gave me 10 weeks to train. At the time, he was not a seasoned runner, so I told him that he was risking injury. He was still set on running, so I said I would help him get to that finish line and he did it!
After going through the journey with him, he also taught me that this was something that he wanted to accomplish and it ultimately wasn’t about getting a specific time. Not everyone is training for the same goals, so listen to your athletes, work with them, and achieve greatness together!