Team Noeltra

The team in action.

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Meet your Coach

Who am I to tell you how to run?

Hi, my name is Noel. And first of all, no one should tell you how to run. Everyone is different and the perfect coach doesn't exist. The best any of us can do is strive for perfection. A good coach inspires and guides. A good coach is also always chasing the next goal. I hope to inspire confidence that you are putting your trust in someone who wants the best for you an has your health and wellbeing as their #1 priority. Below you can find a short once-over of my experience and philosophy. If you prefer the "TLDR" version, there is a condensed bullet list at the bottom of the page.

I caught the running bug as an early teen. I wanted to be a sprinter, but when I came out for the first high school track practice, I was told that I was too slow and was sent over to train with the distance runners - eww. After a few weeks, I started to come around, eventually deciding to try my hand (or legs, rather) at cross country in the fall. It was here that I learned my first important lesson with running:

Surround yourself with the right people.

Despite mediocre talent and little idea how to properly train, My teammates and I found joy in comradery and in work towards a common goal. Everyone comes to love their hobbies in their own way, but I believe that a supportive team such as the one that I had can do nothing but good. As such, I strive to offer the same support to anyone who may be interested in running but not know how to start. We are all there at some point in our lives, and it's nothing to be afraid of.

I ran on into college where I found new knowledge (it's true because it rhymes) and concepts. The learning curve was steep, but never steep enough. I found myself always reading, watching, listening, and changing my own practices (mostly for the better) based on the things I was learning. The harder I trained, the stronger I got. This process became not only fulfilling but addictive, to the point where I learned my next major lesson:

No one is invincible.

Injury struck, and after a long, painful summer, I returned to school and got my first taste of the magic of physical therapy (or, athletic training, in my case). Health returned quickly, but I pushed my training even quicker. Injury struck again. And again. And again. After nearly two years of this cycle, I realized that I had to make a choice - pride or health. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I chose health, and stepped down from my then-position team captain at Longwood. I began training myself (and a few of my friends) without the pressure of constant performance, and I have never regretted it.

As soon as the global pandemic faded enough for me to get involved again however, I did. During the spring semester of 2022, I had the privilege of joining Coaches Brooke Craig, Colt Resnick, and Jon Murray in leading Longwood to a record setting outdoor track season. I was impressed by not only the diversity in their coaching styles, but also by the effectiveness of their different styles, both independently and in conjunction. There was another great lesson here:

Never stop learning.

Everyone I've met in the world of running has had some form of unique wisdom, and throughout my running career I have been granted the opportunity met countless incredible people. I have trained on teams, in recreational groups, and by myself. I have competed on the track (400 to 5000), road (mile to HM), and trail (5K to 50K). I have been the scared newbie, climbed my way to the elite level, and been knocked back to square one by injury to do it all again. Many of these valleys and peaks are ones that all runners face, and I want to be there to help as you face yours.

People will tell you that their way is the best way, and it may indeed be true for them. Athletics is a softer science than the raw physiology it is often made out to be, however, and while there are many set-in-stone aspects of running, there are equally many that can be successfully approached from any number of angles. Chances are, I will not be the perfect coach for you, but I believe in listening, learning, and growing wherever possible, and I will try to be the best coach for you that I can, whatever the circumstance. You are always welcome to reach out and talk if you have any questions or concerns, including right now.     (540)425-1693

In summary, you'll be working with someone who:

Meet the Athletes

Jacob Barker

Jacob has been a Noeltra athlete since December 2022, coming from the small town of Drakes Branch, VA. Like his coach, Jacob is an alumnus of Longwood University; where he majored in Kinesiology and served as Kinesiology Student Tutor and President of the Association of Medical and Professional Kinesiology during his time as a student. Currently, Jacob works as a Physical Therapy Technician at Amelia Physical Therapy in Amelia Court House, VA.

Prior to joining Team Noelta, Jacob competed in four years of cross country and track & field at Randolph-Henry High School. After graduating high school, Jacob began training on his own, completing four Marathons between November 2019 and November 2022, including his first Boston qualifier, the One City Marathon in Newport News, VA, in March 2022.

While Jacob has (fortunately) never struggled with any major injuries during his time as a runner, he found his fitness beginning to plateau after his Boston qualifier of 2:50:21, running a 3:09:44 at the 2022 New York City Marathon and seeing minimal personal record improvements in distances below the Marathon throughout the entirety of 2022. 

Due to this challenge, Jacob consulted Noel in December 2022, where, together, they made a drastic shift in Jacob's training approach, emphasizing recovery, specificity, and the introduction of resistance training. With these changes, Jacob quickly saw improvements in his fitness, running a 2:42:26, an eight-minute personal record, at the 2023 Boston Marathon and knocking his 5K PR down from 17:23 to 16:56 in less than six months. Jacob looks forward to many stark improvements in fitness and stellar performances ahead as a part of Team Noeltra.     (540)425-1693