‘Why I Coach’ By Coach Shawn Lucas
I was recently asked by a recruit’s parent (UIC recruit) why I coach, especially when I am not full-time. Could I possibly be giving enough of my time to the athlete? That was their concern at least, that their child wasn’t going to get the care they felt was needed. Before I answered their question, I posed some questions of my own. “What qualifies as enough time in your mind?” “Does a coach have to always be present or can ground work be laid out and expectations of an athlete be made?”
Back to the question on hand though…my response was this. “I coach to relay knowledge to an athlete, knowledge I wish I knew when I was in their place years ago, knowledge from learning from mistakes, knowledge from continuing to learn new and innovative ways to train, especially when lack of resources forces you to be creative. But, most of all I coach for that glimmer of light you see in an athlete’s eyes after a PR, that smirk after crushing a workout, the doubt turning into faith.”
I often associate coaching to being a parent. I have 2 very young kids, Graham 3 and Charlie 8 months. They are literally like a sponge and absorbing so much every single day. Sometimes you don’t even know they are listening and then days or weeks later you become WOW’d. I can remember when Graham took his first steps, the feeling that you had something to do with it, but literally he did that all on his own, he took something brand new and did it and his confidence grew and grew each and every time he would walk and fall down. But, he got back up every time and is now a running machine.
That is why I coach. I have learned a lot in my 20 years of running and now 8+ years of coaching. My old modo was “Quality over Quantity” but as any good professional I keep learning and tweaking and now have come to understand that that term is too basic, it isn't good enough. It’s quality in the quantity you can sustain. Specifically for distance runners, the more quality miles within our quantity, the better our workouts will become and thus the more yearly PR's we will attain. As coaches, our job isn’t to give the athletes the answers, it’s to put them in a place to figure it out on their own. We write workouts, we help put together pre and post run core and strength routines. It’s up to the athlete to put in the work and challenge themselves every day to break through to unchartered waters. For us coaches, when our athletes crush a workout or PR beyond where they believe they could or on the flip side, are able to recognize why a workout or race didn’t go so hot, but are able to bounce back and be resilient to defeat, well, that’s why I love coaching, much like I love being a Dad.
Dan Kittaka is the 2018 Chicago Athlete Magazine Athlete of the Year!
Team kits are in! Come to a long run or team event to get your gear!
New training schedules and strength & flexibility routines have been created. For information & FAQs, look here.
An Illustration by Coach Dan Kittaka
February Race Highlights
Dan O’Keefe - 5k; Pat Heenan Invitational - 14:52
Chris Robertson - Mile, Margaret Bradley Invitational - 4:22
Renner Winston - New Orleans Rock n Roll HM - 1:26:11
Rutger Stache - Margaret Bradley Invitational Mile - 5:17
Sean Packard - Ft Lauderdale HM - 1:42:44
Dan Kapinus - Lost Dutchman 10k - 47:49
Rudy Valenta - Al Gordon Brooklyn 4M - 24:36
Top Placings & Age Group Wins
Steve Spangler - Cupid Love Dash 5k - 18:02 (2nd!)
Chris Robertson - Margaret Bradley Invite Mile - 4:22 (Champ!)
Chris Robertson - Margaret Bradley Invite 3k - 8:44 (Champ!)
Brian Robertson - Rehab 5k - 17:25 (2nd!)
Chris Robertson - Illinois Club Relays 3k - 8:36 (Champ!)
Things We're Vibing
10 Spice Soup (vegan)
If you see anything worth sharing, please let us know!
Upcoming Events & Major Races
3/2 - LR @ Lakefront Path / Chicago Recovery Room
3/6 - WoW @ Morton Arboretum
3/9 - LR @ Algonquin
3/14 - Goose Island Pint Night @ 1800 W Fulton
3/16 - St. Paddy’s Day 5k + Brunch
3/20 - WoW @ Morton Arboretum
3/23 - LR @ Barrington
3/24 - Shamrock Shuffle + post-race party
3/30 - LR @ Morton Arboretum
Check out the calendar (and add it to your own calendar!) here.
3/1 - Bri Rohne
3/4 - Brian Robertson
3/10 - Brooke Williams
3/16 - Connor Matheson
3/22 - Dave Alvarez
3/25 - Dana Klein
3/27 - Adrienne Eynon
3/31 - Ren Taylor
Meet the Newest DWRunner!