Dustin Sweeney, =PR= Training Programs Coach
Homegrown authenticity in a coach can be hard to come by in the dense region of Northern Virginia. =PR= Training Programs is lucky to have acquired Dustin Sweeney, who is about as homegrown as they come. Dustin, who also happens to be the =PR= Ashburn store manager, has set the bar high in the realm of coaching. His Running 101 techniques and love for the sport have put him in a league of his own. On top of that, his down to earth personality has the ability to boost morale and help others exceed their expectations. Dustin was recently nominated for “Best Coach” in Run Washington’s Best Of Washington Running 2017. Potomac River Running is fortunate to have such great coaches on staff, and to see one of them nominated for such an award is very exciting.
Growing up in rural Virginia, Dustin tried many different sports as a youngster. Running became attractive to him because it allowed him to grow as an athlete. He has a scientific mind and views running as a scientific experiment. Coaching, too, is a kind of scientific experiment: Each athlete is capable of different results and may need different training to attain their highest potential of success. Once Dustin tasted the success of running as a young athlete, he started a lifelong romance with the sport. Dustin believes age is just a number if you want to start running. There isn’t a set age requirement, “Running is addictive and has a drug-like effect. You can get addicted to the sport at age 70 or 7.”
Just like anything in life, Dustin understands the importance between struggle and success, “Without struggle there is no success.” The words of Frederick Douglass influenced his own beliefs with coaching. According to Dustin, “In coaching, you get to take that feeling of success and help others to find that love of running and improve as an athlete. Helping others is the best feeling.” There’s a clear theme to his coaching career. He believes running draws people who are intrinsically motivated with naturally driven personalities. As a result, it puts beginner runners and the most seasoned runners on the same playing field. Most beginner runners understand the feeling of having to overcome intimidating barriers. Dustin understands the fear behind starting something new. “There’s the fear of failure, lack of knowledge and potentially getting injured. Just get out there and start walking. The body can adapt to stress, and consistency is everything.” If you run, you are runner, according to Dustin. And everyone should embrace it, have fun, but value oneself as an athlete too. Life setbacks are inevitable for any runner. Dustin has important advice to beginner runners: “Don’t be afraid of messing up, running is the original sport and transcends into everything. Keep it simple.”
There is a lot of magic to be found behind the legend of Coach Sweeney. His love of working at =PR= stems from the company’s local family roots and ability to do a lot of good within the community. He wants to continue to carry their message as a company and partner with local organizations. He is currently coaching Running 101/201 in Ashburn, and will be coaching the Distance Training Program in Reston & Ashburn starting in June. Visit www.prtrainingprograms.com for more information about the =PR= Training Programs.