I decided in 2017, at age 37, that I wanted to run a sub 3 marathon, yet I had never run a half marathon any faster than 1:38 or a 10k faster than 39 before, and these times were clocked about 10 years ago. After two failed attempts based on semi-customized online training plans and my reading of various books about marathon training (leading to 3:23:28 and 3:18:20 marathons) I decided to give professional, interactive coaching with Christo a shot. This was a terrific decision, resulting in a 2:59:38 marathon (more than 18 minutes faster than my previous PR!) on the first buildup with Christo!
My biggest problem with the online training plans was that I didn’t know how to adjust things when, inevitably, roadblocks would hit (injuries, work, travel, family, etc.). Just like in my first two buildups, various problems due to injury/illness arose along the way. Christo was extremely responsive and immediately adjusted my training to accommodate whatever was giving me trouble. Not only that, due to his personal experience with probably just about every running related injury one can imagine, he knew exactly how to fix the problems. He would send me the appropriate youtube video with an explanation of what the injury likely was and how to deal with it (nutrition, drills, stretches, massage and other rehab techniques).
Thanks to Christo’s guidance, I was able to stay healthy and log substantially more miles and hours in my marathon buildup, despite having just about the busiest work-travel schedule I’ve ever had at the same time. Christo was incredibly flexible and responsive when things needed to be adjusted and he always found a way to fit just the right amount of training stimulus and rest into an otherwise busy schedule.
While I only talked with Christo in person twice (once at the initial consultation and once two days before the marathon to discuss my race-day strategy), he was extremely responsive via the training software FinalSurge. I would log my training, Christo would look over my post-workout notes, and if necessary, give a brief comment and/or instructions for future workouts. The added benefit of using FinalSurge for communication is that all conversations are on record and it is possible to always go back and check past comments and instructions (which I would frequently do).
In sum, Christo knew exactly how to push my buttons and added to my training exactly what I needed but didn’t have: his vast experience as a professional runner!