Health in Action: Running Coach Beth Baker
Our Health in Action series profiles people in the community who are living Actively Northwest. Follow along each week as we profile new people who are committed to living active, healthy lives through fitness and food.
Ever wanted to start running or sign up for your first 5K, but didn’t know where to start? You’re not alone. Running can be intimidating and can easily be put on the back burner in exchange for workouts that seem easier.
Beth Baker, Chief Running Officer at Running Evolution, is self-described runner and non-athlete who has devoted her career to coaching thousands of people on everything from their first 5K to marathons. What keeps her going? Learn more about her life as a running coach in the interview below.
ANW: Tell us about your business, Running Evolution.
Baker: Running Evolution was created out of a love of running. I hated running when I first started, but I knew I needed to do something that allowed me to still drink beer and eat cake. The more I ran, the more I loved it. It helps my head and my body – and the people I meet are amazing.
Our flagship class is a Couch to 5K class. I also coach a boot camp, as well as 10K, half marathon and full marathon training courses.
ANW: You’ve devoted your life to helping others become healthier. What inspired you to start your own business and what’s the most exciting part of your work?
Baker: What inspired my business was the horrendous feeling I had when I started running. It was awful. However, I found that after I kept running, I felt a rush of endorphins and I loved it. I felt a duty to be a guide to new runners to show them the running world.
The most exciting part of my job is the look I see in my clients’ eyes when they realize they can do it! It could be their first half mile or their first marathon. That look of amazement when they realize what their bodies can do makes it so great.
ANW: As we head into the rainy season over the next few months, what advice would you offer runners to keep them excited about finding new trails and braving the colder temperatures?
Baker: We PNWers hibernate in the winter, and then get depressed. If you get outside for fresh air, it makes a world of difference for your body and mind. You just need a few tools to make it more comfortable to get out there. I always bring a baseball hat to keep the rain off my face, reflective gear to be seen and a partner to run with, so you can stay accountable and safe.
ANW: When you see your clients lose motivation, or want to give up after a bad day or a bad workout, what tips do you offer to keep them going?
Baker: I tell them to get back out there and change something up, whether that is eating something different, or changing a route and slowing down. New runners usually head out too fast and feel bad at the end of the run. If you start off slow and then pick it up at the end, you’ll feel like a rock star!
ANW: As a coach and a mother, how do you fit in time for your own workouts? Have you found any tips to help you prioritize your own health and happiness as well as your family and clients?
Baker: Making time for myself is essential to living happily and essential as a mother. I have my solo run on my schedule alongside the play dates, dentist and doctors’ appointments. I also ask for a lot of help from my husband, friends and family. I’m a much better person to all of those people when I run.
ANW: Where is your favorite place in Seattle to run?
Baker: There is a little road off Roanoke that takes you to the Arboretum in Capitol Hill. It’s called Interlaken and it’s short, relatively flat and so very lovely. I love running there throughout the seasons. (See map below if you want to try the route!) I also love Alki. Flat and breathtaking. A runners’ favorite combo.