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Denny Krahe’s Adventure into Running and Coaching

Date: 
11/03/2017 - 15:44

By Tracy Green

krahe.jpg The Internet has allowed more runners to work with coaches — and for more people to become coaches themselves. Just like runners, the story behind each coach is different. The how and why they decided to coach, and how they go about it.

Denny Krahe only recently became a runner — but worked as an athletic trainer, in physical therapy, and as a personal trainer, first. Based in Lakeland, Florida, when he finally caught the running bug, Denny caught it hard.

Now a running coach and host of the popular running podcast DizRuns, Denny is on a quest: to run a marathon in every state and to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

He played other sports growing up in Michigan, but said he never cared for running. When he came to Florida for college, running three miles around a nearby lake was a common pasttime.

"I’d do it begrudgingly,” he said. "My wife was more of a runner. She’d run ahead, and then run back. But eventually it got to be more and more of a thing.”

Denny was a trainer at Middle Tennessee, working with the track team. He was constantly around runners and at meets.

"Running just became something that I didn’t hate —now I couldn’t imagine life without it,” he said.

Denny and his wife moved back to Lakeland after he finished graduate school.

"I thought to myself I should run the Disney half, but it was sold out,” he said. "The full was still open, though, and I thought to myself if I waited until next year I’d probably forget! The Disney marathon was my first race longer than a fun-run 5k.”

He did it — and then said he would never do another one. Well, we all know how that goes! He considered 2010 the start of being a “real runner."

Denny was a full-time athletic trainer until 2012, and he was also a physical therapy contractor for a theme park, providing preventative care for entertainers. Then he went into personal training exclusively for about a year and a half.

“With personal training, the hours are always before and after work, because that’s when people can come, and that didn’t work with my family,” he said.

So he asked himself what he could do that was different.

"I started a podcast talking about health and fitness, and I had my own running blog,” he said. "I wondered, what if I did a show where I talk to people like we’re out on a run? And the DizRuns podcast was born.”

As the podcast’s popularity grew, Denny would get asked if he offered running coaching.

"I was turning them down because I didn’t have a coaching certification, he said. “Then I looked into the certification and realized it wasn’t any different that my graduate coursework.”

Denny started working with his first coaching clients in August 2014. He cites Matt Fitzgerald and his "80/20” method as a key influence in his coaching.

"With my clients, heart rate monitoring is my preference,” he said. "We also use perceived exertion and the talk test, plus communication with my athletes to know how a workout felt. A lot of my coaching is getting them to slow down and then go hard enough on the hard days. The target keeps moving as you get fitter.”

Currently, Denny offers both one-on-one coaching as well as the Coterie, a hybrid of individual and group coaching. Clients get their training program two weeks at a time.

Denny is also putting the finishes touches on his first book, designed for people who aren’t ready to take the full coaching plunge.

"If there’s one thing I’m not a fan of, it’s one-size-fits-all training plans,” he said. "I don’t know why we’ve bought into this idea. We’re all unique. We all have our different needs, our different preferences, different components of our lives that have to be balanced. If you want to get the best out of yourself, it’s my belief that you need a training plan that’s designed for you.”

Recognizing not everyone can afford a coach, Denny designed his book to bridge the gap. His book, “Be Ready on Race Day,” will explain how runners can structure their own training plans.

Denny’s “DizRuns” podcasts includes interviews with runners of all abilities as well as helpful tips and injury prevention based on his background in athletic training. Find it at DizRuns.com (and find his interview with me in episode 387), where you can also find info on his book.

(This column appears in the November issue of Running Journal. Author Tracy Green is a runner and writer living in Louisville, KY, where she lives with her husband, Chris. She is a Hammer Nutrition sponsored athlete and certified Pilates instructor. Find her at @TGRunFit on Twitter and Instagram, Facebook.com/TGRunFit, or TGRunFit.com.)

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