You’re continuing the tradition of Formula trainers that immediately transitioned from collegiate competition to coaching/training upon graduation. Did you know you were going that route while in school, or was it a surprise that that’s where you ended up?
For me, running and fitness has been my greatest passion in life. When I was 9 years old, my babysitter took me to my first road race in an effort to wear me out (I’m pretty sure she failed). It was a 5K. I remember sprinting off the line when the gun fired and running out of steam two miles in. I struggled my way to the finish line and crossed in a heaping mess. The first thing I asked my babysitter (Mrs. April) when I regained my composure was if we could come back next week and run it again. I was hooked. I honestly can’t imagine my life without running and fitness and I’m not sure there’s another profession I could ever be happy in. So, you never know where you’ll end up (I’m a go with the flow kind of guy), but I guess you could say that I always wanted make a living out my passion.
You were an Alabama state-champion runner and All Big-12 at Oklahoma. Nicely done! What brings you to ACC territory?
Thanks! I made my way to Charlottesville primarily to work with the cross country and track and field teams at UVA as the Director of Operations. Charlottesville has been very good to my girlfriend Brittany and I so far.
Your bio on the site notes that you’ve coached runners of every stripe, including “fitness enthusiasts that hate running”. What’s your approach to training somebody who is into fitness but feels like running isn’t for them?
I feel like a lot of people dislike running because it is an uncomfortable or boring experience for them. But running can be an extremely exciting, therapeutic and rewarding experience if it is done correctly. Mixing things up with fast, well constructed interval training, (cough cough, equilibrium class, cough) is a great way to add quality and fun to your running. I do a lot of form analysis as well and I think that many recreational runners and everyday fitness warriors can significantly benefit from learning proper mechanics. While it is a beautifully simple activity, there are definitely fundamentals to running properly. It’s amazing how much of a difference good mechanics can make in your running.
Your trainees have an average improvement of 10 minutes in the half marathon and 24 minutes (!) in the full marathon. Without giving trade secrets away, what are some steps you take in your training to make that kind of improvement possible.
Quite simply, I believe that you don’t have to be an elite athlete to train and think like one. I’ve been privileged to work with some fantastic athletes and coaches throughout my running career, and all of the greats have some very similar traits/philosophies. I simply try to approach every client with the idea that if we communicate well, develop consistency in training, and enjoy the process, then you will most certainly get better. I suppose I try to help people understand that distance running is a process, and learning to love the process often yields the greatest result. I really try to avoid getting asphyxiated on numbers or paces and just try to help individuals find out how good they can be.
You haven’t let your work as a trainer get in the way of keeping your own fitness up; you took first in the 2016 OKC Memorial Marathon and are still planning on besting your current PBs. How was your transition from the track and cross country to the roads?
For me, the transition has been very fun. I really love the half marathon distance in particular. It seems that the longer or more uncomfortable the race, the more fun I have. As with any distance runner, I’ve had my setbacks and hiccups. But the beautiful thing about road racing is that there is always another race around the corner.
What’s the next race you have on the horizon?
Great question! I’ll let you know when I know. Going back to the process here… which for me currently means stringing together another 2-3 months of healthy, consistent training before I put any races on the calendar.
You’ve got a couple of years as lead instructor and program designer at a treadmill studio under your belt. Give me an example of someone using the type of training that happens at Formula to succeed in a way they might not have otherwise.
Oh I have plenty of examples. I think having access to something like Formula is a huge advantage in making improvements in fitness. I was fortunate to work for Higher Ground Running in Oklahoma City for two years. During that time I saw many people make commitments to themselves and change their lives through health and fitness. The same can be said about Formula. EQ, Flex, and Focus classes are fantastic ways to inject some quality into your training in an excited environment with an expert trainer. It also provides you with a community and source of accountability!
While a lot of things are consistent in every class at Formula, every instructor puts their personal spin on things around here. What can the folks out there expect from Focus and Equilibrium with Pat?
#1. Good times! Classes are fun for me and I want them to be fun for you too. If you come to one of my classes, expect some jokes (some good, many bad), groovy tunes and a lot of energy!
#2. Core! I like 6-packs (both on people and in my fridge). We’re gonna get those abs fired up!
Running has certainly taken me places.