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Coaching Query

  • 29-07-2019 9:41am
    Registered Users Posts: 244 ✭✭

    Hey - I was wondering if anyone had any experience with Gary O'Hanlon as a coach? I know not every coach suits everyone, but i would be interested in hearing first hand experience of his coaching approach.

    Thanks in advance :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 69 ✭✭chrismean

    i was hoping someone else would have answered! I am either going to have a great race, or I’m completely over trained with his plan. Lots of hard running :-)

  • Registered Users Posts: 673 ✭✭✭marathon2022

    No experience but I follow him on Facebook and it seems like he gets a lot of success from his runners. Let us know how your race goes and maybe a little bit of context to the "hard running". I'm always interested in training methods.

  • Registered Users Posts: 916 ✭✭✭Unknownability

    How does coaching generally work?

    Do you meet up often?

    What are the general cost?

    It's something that I've thought about but they seem to be very much based off Facebook usage and that's something I've no interest in using.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Not many coaches go on Facebook displaying their failures!

  • Registered Users Posts: 673 ✭✭✭marathon2022

    Its true, I just love reading about the gains of some athletes especially in my range and he posts a good few, mills and boons for runners.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    Haha yeah I hear you. There's a few on here that have had some experience with Gary. As with any coach it's probably mixed results depending on the athlete.

    It does seem like his training is more suited to people who can handle high volume , pretty intense stuff. For the general Joe Soaps like us it's lower risk to just keep chipping away and take the long term approach of small incremental gains and uninterrupted consistent training.

    To the original question about coaching for Unknownability.

    It's certainly not Facebook based. Sure Facebook is used as a form of advertising and promotion but I've never heard of a coach who works with athletes through Facebook. The approach, cost etc is all very coach dependent. I think the most common method these days is an email once a week with a probably pay a little extra if you want regular phone/WhatsApp contact during the week. Many coaches will never actually meet their clients. Cost is all relative so no point going there. You'd need to speak to various coaches on that.

    Then separate there's the running club scene where there is a coach who might run weekly sessions and work with club members on plans. Are you a member of a club?

  • Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭somedood

    I had him as a coach for about 6 months back in 2020/2021 and I had some mixed results. I was running 6 days a week and his training plan gave me the confidence to do that. I did see some progress but I didn't reach the goal I was hoping for and eventually joined a club which I found far more effective.

    We worked via email mostly which I didn't find that effective. I'd report on my previous sessions and then get a new monthly session which I think was €55 p/m. I felt that the plan was reasonably generic and didn't feel I was getting my money's worth. I probably would have stuck with it if there were a few more phone calls or even the odd in person meeting.

    After joining a club, I smashed my goals and continue to do so. Having others around me to push me and a coach I can talk to face-to-face has made a massive difference.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,527 ✭✭✭py

    Usually around 50/month. Plans can vary from weekly to monthly. Touch points can be via phone/text/video.

    My own experience was as follows. Got recommendation from someone being coached by the coach. Got in touch with the coach to discuss my goals. Discussed exercise/injury/race history. Laid out how much time I could commit. They laid out how they operate (weekly check in by me via WhatsApp) and what I can expect in terms of progression. Signed up for 12 months. Everything went as originally discussed. There will be video calls carried out coming up to races to discuss/plan race/fuel strategy etc. Occasionally, due to fatigue/injury, I may need to suggest a step back week but that is initiated by me. Signed up for another year recently.

    Family/work commitments meant I didn't have the time to join a club.

  • Registered Users Posts: 576 ✭✭✭FinnC

    I know a few who were with him and did ok, the same few left him over his views on Covid and vaccines. Not that that has anything to do with his Coaching credentials but they weren’t happy with some of his views and how he expressed them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭E.coli

    Coaching is a very subjective term. Before you look for a coach you need to ask yourself what you want from the role. There are a host of dynamics you will find in coaching/athlete relationships. Some people are looking for a transactional relationship (Paying X to achieve Y goal) others are looking for process driven guidance or mentorship. I have seen plenty of father/son style relationships with coaches as well or even friends who are simply looking for external accountability/ sounding board. Once you know what type of relationship you are looking for then it can help find the right fit.

    I have coached people in person, remotely, coached friends, people I have never met, all can work depending on what is needed you just need both parties to be open to exploring that. Sometimes coaching is not needed and simply a group setting is perfect (in which case club training can be ideal)

    Cost and quality are not inherently linked either. I know Olympians who don't pay there coach or cover mileage to training etc while at the same time have seen coaches charge 200e for a generic marathon plan.

    When looking at coaches though it is worth noting that someone with a high volume of athletes can usually highlight a number of big success stories simply through playing the numbers. Much more important to get feedback from people as to how a coach brought them on or whether it was simply attritional and only a small number make strides while the others fall away

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  • Registered Users Posts: 673 ✭✭✭marathon2022

    Some great info there, I don't have anything to add as I've never had a coach or even joined a club but at least three people I've run into at park runs recommended joining a club as the best way to level up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    The very reason I unfollowed him on Facebook. Instead of any useful running content his profile became a series of Covid related comments or posts. I didn't necessarily care about his views all that much but I dont expect to see more of that content than running content from a "Running page" profile.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,960 ✭✭✭✭event

    Same. I have met him a few times and know his father well enough. He's a lovely chap but just couldnt care less about that

  • Registered Users Posts: 916 ✭✭✭Unknownability

    I'm in the same boat as you regards a club. Between kids & work, I'd find it very hard to commit to club nights.

    I do need to do something though as I lose motivation throughout the period of a plan.

    Have you improved over the period of time to any great degree?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,527 ✭✭✭py

    I'm a better robust runner. My goal was to complete an ultra and that's been done now. I'll have a better quantification of how much I've improved when I run my marathons in October/December this year.

    I got a 5Km PB without carbon plated shoes whereas the older PB was with them. That was without any specific 5Km workouts as I was focusing on endurance efforts.

    A quick ping to @Treviso who works under the same coach, he's shown great improvement.

    Post edited by py on

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,172 ✭✭✭BKWDR

    I am currently with a online Run Club that was born out of covid. I think i've reached the end of my journey with it though. It got me out of an original rut but the plan now looks generic, the coach has probably spread themself too thin so has now diluted any of the reasons i joined in the first instance, also doesn't seem to actually heed the feedback about plan intensity and is obsessed with ultras or mountain running.

    I think i did better when training with a club but with work i cant make the sessions.

    Edit for question. I was looking at Coopah Training App at one stage and wondered had anyone tried it out or had any feedback

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,844 ✭✭✭✭average_runner

    Anyone work with Evan Scully before?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,981 ✭✭✭Duanington

    Not specific to first hand experience of his coaching (he's certainly a fine athlete though), but as others have said - be mindful of judging any coach by their success stories. I've noticed plenty of coaches like to massage the figures when posting out success stories on social media.

    An example I saw a couple of years back, I happen to know "X" very well and laughed when I saw this.

    "X came to me with a 5k PB of 21 mins 3 months ago.....with the right plan we now have him on the verge of breaking 16 mins"

    • PB was 3 years old
    • In those 3 years, X had worked with several coaches and made huge gains over the half marathon and marathon distances, had no interest in running a 5k
    • He ran 16.10 or so within 10 weeks of joining the new coach, 12 weeks after running a 2.4x marathon under the guidance of another coach.

    Anyway, you get the picture - just be careful to judge by the success stories

  • Registered Users Posts: 480 ✭✭Klopp

    I worked with Donncha Paul ( Fitforlong ) and found great results in the short time I was with him. I had to stop due to life and work commitments getting in the way leaving me less time for running but would recommend it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 735 ✭✭✭Treviso

    I was under GOH for about 6 months after completing DCM in 2019. Must admit I did enjoy the intensity of his training for the first 4-5 months. If I remember correctly, it was 3 sessions plus a long run every week. Was making some great improvements, most of it due to natural improvement though. It was a monthly plan with weekly feedback (from me). Towards the end, I felt he wasn't listening to the feedback and was just dishing out generic workouts according to paces/times. I remember doing a really tough session, legs were in bits and the following day I was due to run a fast long run. I called it there as I knew I would get injured if I continued with him.

    Moved over to Stazza in Sept 2020 and have been with him ever since (just renewed till 2023). As Py said above, there's a lot more interaction between you so you feel like you are in control of your training. He'll adjust the training if you're feeling tired or have a niggle, always on the side of caution which is great. Of course, the training is tough but manageable (2 big sessions a week, with the rest being easy running) which I like. I have been injured under his guidance, but that is more about me not listening to the body and it getting old. Good Strava group with runners across the globe - some very good information in there.

    Keeps the motivation up anyway, feel accountable in your running - being in a club doesn't work for me as I would rarely get the chance to attend their arranged track sessions or weekend long runs

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 20,364 Mod ✭✭✭✭RacoonQueen

    Not as a coach but I went to college with him (long time ago now :) ). Excellent athlete back then was very knowledgeable about the sports, training principles etc and would expect he is an excellent coach who would really listen to his athletes. Very visual on social media also with his successes, he does seem to get great success out of his athletes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,172 ✭✭✭BKWDR

  • Registered Users Posts: 735 ✭✭✭Treviso

    He's around 450-500 a year - prefers to do the annual subscription to work with people over a longer term

  • Registered Users Posts: 69 ✭✭chrismean

    This really is similar to my experience. Given that i was the 2nd poster re-opening this thread, I feel I should report back :-)

    55 Euros per 4 weeks of training. We emailed only - fairly brief correspondences. It is not expensive coaching, so i did not expect more than that. He didn't ask much about my prior training, but I did tell him about the books i'd read and plans I'd tried. I told him my PBs and what I thought was a reasonable improvement. I enjoyed some of the sessions and there was some variety in what he prescribed, which I had not tried (e.g., 4 x 2 K @ 4:08 pace with .5 k rec in 2:30 (5 min pace; a lot of longer blocks of tempo e.g., 3 x 6km, half marathon 7 or 8 x 1 km at around 5km pace).

    I found some of the sessions absolutely brutal. I wrote to tell him when I couldn't hit the paces at all or when I felt especially awful (1/3 of the time!), or couldn't finish a session at all (3 times maybe in the 12 weeks). I don't think my feedback changed much of the structure or paces provided.

    I didn't hit my goal time. I think I was either too fried or not tapered enough.

    I don't think he will be mentioning me on his Facebook page somehow :-)

  • Registered Users Posts: 83 ✭✭Taxes

    It is vital that a coach knows the training history of his athletes, even if it's only a high-level view of what the athlete did in the past.

    Training is so individualistic, what builds one athlete up can have the opposite impact on another athlete.

    In business, a business-owner will usually identify opportunities in growing his business by both mitigating its weaknesses and building on its strengths.

    No different for a runner, improvement as an athlete will come from mitigating your weaknesses and building on your strengths. Those are difficult to identify as a coach without a knowledge of the athletes training history.

    Also, in addition to having knowledge on how to progress an athletes' training a coach should know both how and when to regress training sessions. Sometimes this is necessary. For example, someone above mentioned not being able to hit prescribed paces in one of his training sessions. That runner probably lost confidence and was obviously working too hard for his fitness level. Regress that training session, break it up, add in some additional recovery but maybe do the reps slightly quicker, this way the athlete completes the session, retains his confidence, trains at the right intensity and the session can be extended in the future as the athlete's fitness improves.

  • Registered Users Posts: 69 ✭✭chrismean

    Yep, Taxes. He know My previous pbs, my average km per week and a rough idea that I’d followed structured plans before (jack daniels, pftzinger). He didn’t ask anything further.

    as for confidence, I am not sure that it affected mine too much. Because Gary would write back and say “fine just continue, it will come”. But I think I was over trained/not able to absorb some of those sessions. That’s just my guess looking back now

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,514 ✭✭✭Naked Lepper