Getting to Know CCR Annapolis Coach Stefanie Smith

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Tell us about your running journey. What has the sport meant to you?

I came to running late in life. As a matter of fact, I dropped out of soccer and basketball in school because I hated the running during practice. I began to enjoy fitness when I was in my twenties, but still avoided running. I never thought of myself as a person who could run, so I became the “I only run if something is chasing me” person. It was not until after I turned 30 that I even considered doing something crazy like trying to run. My husband was deployed, our youngest child was born, and I figured this would be something new I could do that was stroller friendly. It would also be a way to bond with my spouse when he returned home, since we could run together. The first time I ran a complete mile was life changing. I was beyond belief. Next came a 5k. My entire world view shifted, and I realized the only reason I couldn’t run was because I never really wanted to. In 2018, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. Twenty-year-old me would have never ever imagined that I would become a marathoner. I am pretty sure I did not even know that people did that. Running has given me a different level of internal strength, and when I can run outside enjoying nature it gives me great peace. In 2021 I was finally diagnosed with an arrythmia condition that I had been dealing with since I was a teenager. I still ran although it was beginning to become more and more of a struggle. In 2022, I had a procedure to try and correct the issue. It was unfortunately unsuccessful, and even walking became more than I could handle. I thought I would never be able to run or workout again and felt the loss greatly. I am happy to say that with time and patience I have been able to run again. I recently ran the Army 10 miler, and I am looking forward to more races in the future!

How did you get into coaching?

Remember that deployment I mentioned where I took up running after my daughter was born? During that same deployment, I went back to work when my daughter was a month old, only to discover I would be losing my childcare. Time to adapt! We decided that it was time for me to find a way that I could be home with the kids more, while also working in a job that gave me enjoyment. I had been getting more and more into fitness, and I have a love for teaching and helping others. I decided to get my first personal training certification. After that, I went to school and received an associate degree in personal training. I started out by working with other Moms doing group coaching and personal training. As we moved from location to location, I began working with active-duty service members to help enhance their PT scores. It demanded that I learn more about how best to increase running speed and efficiency while reducing injury. This gave me the desire to work more as a run coach, so I could help folks get more enjoyment out of the sport I had come to love. I received certification as a Level 1 CrossFit trainer and worked as the head coach for an on base CrossFit gym. Now that we have landed here in Maryland, I am absolutely honored to be coaching for Charm City Run. 

What is your coaching philosophy?

I firmly believe it is my job to adapt to the athlete, not make them fit into my expectations. My philosophy is athlete first! Yes, I will push you to better yourself, and sometimes that involves making changes to your current habits or routine. That said, I will do my best to meet you where you are at and find the way that will help you achieve your personal goals.

Why do you recommend joining a training group?

Even coaches need a coach! A training group will help keep you accountable, get you someone to bounce your questions off, and gives you a chance to meet new friends. Most of the top athletes in the world spend time training in groups or training camps; being a part of a team helps to make an individual better. No matter if you desire to walk your first 5k, PR your twentieth 5k, or just get out and enjoy yourself, you will have more fun when you do it in a group!

Interested in joining Stefanie’s Training Group? Learn more and register here!


Wednesday, October 18, 2023

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