Wisdom From Kristen Rohde — Being Married To Your Coach
The athlete-coach relationship is a complicated one.
Finding someone you can work well with to achieve your goals in athletics takes respect, open communication, and mutual trust. This is even more important when your husband is your coach. Some people are surprised that this is a possibility, but it can work, and work well. I know several couples that this works for, including our friends Danny Mackey and Brooks Beasts' superstar Katie Mackey.
Jon and I started dating first, establishing the coach-athlete relationship later. We had been dating for little while and I was just getting back into competitive running and racing after completing Physical Therapy school when I sought his coaching. I wanted to get faster and more competitive, and he believed I could. Fast forward to 2018 and we have now worked together for over 6 years, our athlete-coach relationship evolving concurrently with our marriage.
We have both grown in our roles and are constantly redefining our relationship as coach and athlete. When we first started working together, there were erroneous assumptions made, tears shed, and some difficult conversations had. Specifically, I remember him prescribing daily run paces and workouts that I didn't feel comfortable with, which led to early friction and undue exhaustion. But he adapted and I stepped my game up. We co-constructed a successful compromise which bettered us both. And there was also an initial struggle of separating the role of "Jon - my coach" from "Jon - my husband" and key member of support team. However, these challenges made us better at communicating and fostered enhanced trust between us as we created workable soultions.
There are many advantages to this relationship. We see each other on a daily basis and he has an intimate knowledge of how stressful work has been for me or if I am getting sick or didn't sleep well the previous night. He can alter the training plan quite easily and quickly because our continuous daily interactions. I also respect his time and space when he is focused on other athletes that warrent his time and attention.
As a result of our relationship, I have run personal bests from 800m all the way up to the Marathon under his coaching. He now coaches 9+ women and I would like to think our athlete-coach relationship impacted his coaching education, his ability to be more empathic to female athletes and have fundamentally helped shape the coach he has become today.
Thank you | Kristen Rohde