“I’m not afraid of a hilly marathon,” says Amy Anderson, one of Rogue’s most experienced coaches. In fact, she received second place in her age group at Park City, an uphill run back when they did it counterclockwise, and she ran Big Sur. Enough said. She’s tough, and she would probably tell you it’s because she applies ideas about the importance of a positive mental attitude to her own running as well as that of her trainees. Known around Rogue for integrating what she terms “positive self-talk”, Amy teaches “that meeting goals isn’t just dependent on training your legs to run fast, but it’s also about training your head.” She started running 20 years ago, and the number and variation of races she has done certainly entitles her to give that advice. When asked how many marathons she has completed, Amy can’t remember but questioningly suggests, “more than 10 and fewer than 20?”
In addition to running the Austin Marathon regularly, Amy enjoys destination races like the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C., which she ran right after the terrorist attacks in 2001, and the Boston Marathon. Her current goal is the St. George Marathon on October 4th, so “it’s coming up quick”!
A true Rogue pioneer, Amy helped to conceptualize what Rogue coaches do and how they do it. Co-coach Mark Enstone describes his “summer-long old-fashioned apprenticeship” under Amy as, “illuminating. Being the recipient of her advice, knowledge and mentoring, learning from her on how to mold my personality and experiences into my own coaching philosophy has been invaluable.” As a contributor the Rogue Coaching School, Amy counterbalances information about the science of coaching with the art of coaching and organizes it into charts for later use as reference tools. She describes the art of coaching as different from the science of coaching in the way it includes “developing a personal coaching philosophy and modes of communicating with athletes.” Rogue co-owner Carolyn Mangold, describes Amy’s efficacy with statistics: “when we surveyed people in the past, most people chose the training schedule as the most valuable thing they received from Rogue’s programs, but Amy’s trainees chose the information they received from her.” Amy exemplifies what she teaches in coaching school, combining technical knowledge and a personal but professional approach to participants.
Her first piece of advice to new runners is to “Join Rogue! Group workouts motivate most people to run farther and faster than they can on their own, and Rogue coaches help people set realistic goals.” The great thing? We didn’t even tell her to say that. Amy’s bag of mental tricks runs deep, and she thinks it’s important to remember “we have to put our bodies under a certain amount of stress in order to improve. When the stress of the training load is appropriate, our bodies adapt to it.” A routine problem she notices “is that we don’t always listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us. The common running injuries don’t happen overnight. We get plenty of warning. If we don’t respond to the whispers, they’ll get louder and louder until they can’t be ignored.”
Currently, Amy coaches a Chicago/San Antonio/New York Marathon Training Program, which meets on Wednesday evenings for quality workouts, and she’s the coach for the Austin Marathon Short Course. One of her participants, Jennifer Howard-Brown, calls Amy a “great team builder. She succeeded in creating a close-knit group that looks out for each other and prioritizes the quality workout.” In the past, Amy has coached 5k, 10k, marathon and triathlon groups. She is really a woman of all trades. After having accomplished five Ironman triathlons, Amy claims she’s “retired from triathlon. Never say ‘never’, but for now I’ve returned to my first love: running.”