Featured Coach: Evan Schwartz
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Evan Schwartz is a running coach based in Boulder, Colorado. Originally from the state of Ohio, Evan moved to Boulder shortly after running a US Olympic Trials Qualifying time in the marathon in 2017. Since then he's moved more towards the coaching side, helping local and remote athletes reach their goals.
How did you start your running career?
- I actually started out playing other sports like soccer, basketball, and baseball as a kid but soon realized that the running and sprinting parts of practice were the most fun! After middle school, I turned the focus away from the other sports solely towards cross country and track and that set me down the running path for good!
What inspired you to become a running coach?
- Over my career, I’ve had the pleasure of being coached by some phenomenal people and realized that if I could deliver even a fraction of the positive direction I’d been given it would be worth it.
Podcasts, Music, or silence on long runs?
- Podcasts if solo, the chatter of friends if I’m running with others!
Any podcast, book, or movie recommendations (can be sport-related or not)?
- I really enjoyed “The Dot” by Lachlan Morton
- “The first step towards achieving something is believing you can do it”
Favorite meal after a big workout?
- I’m all about the Blueberry Cornbread Pancakes at the Walnut Cafe here in Boulder.
Best city (or particular road/trail) to go for a run or ride in?
- I’m a bit biased by living here, but the farm roads around Boulder are always so beautiful and fun to explore!
How would you describe your style of coaching?
- My core focus is on clear communication and individualization. I like to know where the athlete has been in their training, where they want to go, and how to help them build that bridge to get there.
Race recommendation for new runners (and why)?
- My first half marathon and the full marathon was the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Half and Full Marathon. The course is great, the crowd support is awesome, and it benefits the Children’s Hospital which is extremely motivating when you’re on the course.
One piece of advice to someone just starting on their running journey?
- I totally believe in the phrase “Keep showing up” and would highlight consistency as the number one intention to set for someone just starting.
Who are you following in the space/industry?
- One unique area I like to follow is brands that can get involved in the community. Some examples that intrigue me are apparel brands like Tracksmith and Bandit, or teams like Tinman Elite.
What are your favorite training apps and resources and why?
- My favorite training tool is the Stryd running power meter. I worked there for four years and helped work with elite athletes and coaches as well as designing the training plans and the workouts in the system. Power on the run is such a game changer and experience enhancer that helps me provide an extra layer of customization to athletes. I coach through Final Surge and love the ease of use and multitude of features that can be customized for each individual athlete's use case.
Evan Schwartz's Coaching Style:
How do you approach working with new athletes, particularly those who may be just starting out or are returning to the sport after a break?
- I focus a lot on setting goals that we can make constant progress towards. When an athlete is new to the sport or returning after a break it can sometimes be discouraging to compare their expectations versus current fitness. Goals that can continuously be checked off make for a great experience and introduce a great pattern for future training.
What do you believe sets your coaching style apart from other coaches in the industry?
- I like focusing a lot on athletes' individual characteristics so for in-person athletes we will do Lactate Threshold tests during the season to get specific intensities to incorporate in the training block. For all athletes using running power, we will take a look at the course they’re racing on and get super specific with power targets.
How do you help your athletes set and achieve their goals, both in the short term and long term?
- At the beginning of a training block, we set out 1-3 month, 3-6 month, and 6-12 month goals ranging from running specifically to strength/ancillary training, to other types of goals that might motivate them. We’ll check in regularly about how we’re making progress toward those goals and if there is anything we need to change along the way to get there.
How do you incorporate strength training and cross-training into your runners' training plans?
- I hate giving an “it depends” to an answer, but strength training and cross-training is incredibly valuable to incorporate, just in variable amounts depending on the athlete and their goals! I would say strength training education is one area I am trying to learn more about this year.
Can you share a success story of an athlete you've worked with who has made significant progress under your coaching?
- Jess West is a local athlete who just set a 10-minute marathon PR at the 2022 California International Marathon. She improved her time from 2:52 down to 2:42 and had some incredible breakthroughs in training during the most recent block.
How do you stay up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the field of running and coaching?
- I’m a big student of the sport and I like to keep up on research trends through outlets like PubMed and the American Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. I also attend in-person and virtual clinics to further my education in the space.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering hiring a running coach or starting to work with one for the first time?
- My first piece of advice is if you’ve been thinking of finding a coach, do it! My most significant piece of specific advice would be to look around and sort through options until you feel like you have found someone that you feel comfortable communicating with and who fits your personal situation.
What's a contrary belief you have about coaching?
- While I personally love running twice a day, I think that double run sessions are overrated and athletes can incorporate cross-training as a secondary session if needed more than they do currently.
What does your ideal athlete for coaching look like and why?
- My ideal athlete for coaching is very communicative, curious, and committed!
What is the best cross-training you recommend?
- I personally love cycling on the trainer, but I think walking as cross-training is vastly underused.
If you had to pick one: morning or evening runs?
If you had to pick one: hot temp run (90F) or cold temp (20F) run?
If you had to pick one: 5k vs 10k vs 13.1 vs 26.2?
- 13.1 Miles, but I think the 10 Mile distance is criminally under-raced. It’s a perfect middle distance between 10k and Half Marathon that should be run more often!
If you had to pick one: Sprint vs Olympic vs 70.3 vs 140.6
- As a spectator, Olympic!
If you had to pick one: speed vs endurance?
If you had to pick one: road or trail run?
If you had to pick one: road, gravel or mountain biking?
- Ooooo good question! I’ve gotten into cycling more and more and think gravel is the leader for me right now.