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Meet the Run Coach: Gerard Pescatore

Inspired by my brother, who was a senior on the high school cross-country team, I joined too, my freshman year. I ran competitively in high school and in college; however, I didn't run much in my 20s. Around age 30, completely out of shape, I knew I needed to run again.

By the time I hit my 40s, I had achieved my personal records in both the marathon (2:55), and half marathon (1:20). The Philadelphia Marathon is my favorite because it's my hometown race, and I can sleep in my own bed. It is a nice blend of urban and parks, so you have a mix over 26.2 Miles. The St. Luke's Half in Allentown is another favorite of mine because it has a great blend of urban and parks, rolling hills, running over a picturesque covered bridge and an exciting finish on a track.

Initially, I didn't set out to be a coach; however, in 2002, I found myself creating training plans for my wife and a few friends. Also, I volunteered to pace people in marathons, coaching them along the way. I had so much fun creating training plans and pacing people, I decided to do it more formally.  So, I became an RRCA Certified Coach, which compliments my certification as a Pedorthist (this is a fancy way to say I know a lot about feet, and putting people in the correct sneakers for different foot types). I work part time as a fit specialist for New Balance Saucon Valley.

My coaching philosophy is a blend of the old school with the new. In fact, I usually say my methods are a blend of Innovative coaching laced with old school grit. However, I don't want to scare away newer runners and busy runners. To me, one of the most important things for those training for a race is to "get to the starting line safely, yet prepared."  My plans are flexible because I know people's busy lives involve changes to their own schedules.  They might get called away on a business trip or they might get sick.  My training plans are "living plans" that can be adjusted.  Last but not least, I want training to be fun for my runners.

Along those lines, my own running philosophy is similar to my coaching philosophy, especially the blending of hard work with "having fun." If running and training ever start feeling like a job, I back off, and I'll encourage my runners to do the same.  Runners can get into ruts, so it's important to recognize when this is happening. When it happens to me, I'll attend a local race as a spectator. If I get a fire in my belly from spectating, it might be time to ramp up again. If not, I'll continue backing off.

One question many of my clients ask is "Do you think I can do this?"  My answer: "It doesn't matter what I think – YOU need to believe you can do it. I will help you get there."  If a client's expectations are way off from where their current fitness level is, I'll have them set more than one goal for a particular race.

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