How I went from Couch to Coach. Image of Coach Nicola leading group stretches

How I went from couch to coach

How I went from Couch to Coach. Image of Coach Nicola leading group stretches

How did I go from someone who never ran and hated sports at school to a qualified running coach and a women’s fitness specialist?

Read on to find out.

It started with a New Year’s Goal

I only started running as it seemed like a convenient way to get fit. Afterall, all you need is to lace up your shoes and leave the house, you don’t need any fancy equipment or get to a class on time.

I had no history of running. I wasn’t a runner at school, in fact PE was my least favourite subject. I used to see people running on the streets and think they were odd, especially those crazy enough to go running early morning on a weekend! So when I downloaded the start to run app back in January 2014 I had no idea how the bug was going to get me.

Getting my mum running

Fast forward to May 2015 and I had taken my first steps into coaching by completing the UK Athletics Leader in Running Fitness qualification. I would never have thought I’d be doing that when I set off on my first walk/run session. But in the 17 months between starting to run and my LiRF I had realised that not only did I enjoy running but I also enjoyed getting other people to run.

It started with my mum. A few weeks after I started to run I had inspired her to give it a go too. Soon enough we were planning our first 5k, then 10k race together.

two women running by a wall with a magnolia tree
Me and my mum on one of our many races together

After my mum I managed to get friends and work colleagues running and then volunteered as a helper at my club’s Start to Run course. I loved seeing people develop as they went from not running at all to running 5k and more. Develop not only their fitness levels and endurance but also their confidence.

As a Leader I could help the group as they ran but I soon realised I wanted to do more. I wanted to get personal.

Training as a Coach

So I signed up to train as a Coach in Running Fitness. Being a Coach allows you to work with individuals, creating personal training plans to help them become better runners and get right down to the nitty gritty and mechanics of running.

However, even when you are coaching a group, you are still being athlete centered, that is thinking of the individual. To think of the athlete, how they develop and how they learn (and yes, if you run or workout with purpose then you are an athlete).

Coaching isn’t about you the coach: you don’t bark orders, believe you are always right, or ignore what your athletes are telling you. It’s about the individual, the person you are training, about helping people of all ages and abilities to get active, stay active and get better while being active.

How do I prevent injury?

So when I was asked questions by my runners on how they can prevent injury, or why did certain muscles niggle when they ran, I wanted to give them the answer.

Which lead me to become a level 3 Personal Trainer. This involved a lot of study of anatomy and physiology so I could not only answer their questions but also help to make them stronger.

It also gave me a new love of resistance training. I love how lifting weights can not just increase your strength and make you less prone to injury, but can also make a positive difference to how you feel about your body, giving you more confidence in your ability.

Why am I leaking?

As I began to coach more women I started to hear a similar story. That they would like to run more but they didn’t like to be too far from a toilet, or they stopped going to bootcamp as they leaked every time they were asked to do a burpee or star jumps.

And it got me thinking. The pelvic floor is a muscle like any other in the body, so we must be able to train it and get it stronger. Which lead me to more education and the discovery of the fantastic Burrell Education. In my pelvic floor course I learnt that we don’t have to put up with leaking as just a part of being a mum, or being post menopause, or just being a woman. That actually, we can do something about it and become confident in our bodies again.

Holistic Core Restore

Having learnt all this when I had the opportunity to apply to become a Holistic Core Restore coach I jumped to it.

I knew the programmes would really help women be confident, be active and feel in charge of their health and fitness.

I now offer programmes specifically designed for women to help with

  • pelvic floor and core fitness
  • recovery after a c-section
  • healing diastasis recti
  • recovery after a hysterectomy
  • living with prolapse or recovery after POP surgery
  • staying fit and active through pregnancy
Holistic Core Restore Newcomer Coach of the Year 2021 Nicola Cowee
I was extremely proud to be named Newcomer Coach of the Year in 2021

My coaching philosophy

As a coach I know that my development doesn’t stop, that I will be constantly learning and improving as I go, which is also really exciting.

Earlier this year I was asked to take part in the UK Coaching Health Coach Development programme, and as part of the programme I worked with a mentor to really think about my coaching philosophy and why I coach.

It’s just two sentences, but says everything about how I approach my coaching.

To create a positive environment that motivates the people I coach to take charge of their health and fitness.

To always be curious about my clients and treat them with fairness and dignity.

It’s been an unexpected journey, but one that I really feel passionate about. I’m really looking forward to working with more people and seeing them become the best they can be.

And if this has made you curious about how I can help you do get in touch, I’d love to chat.

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