I have had the privilege to work with both Coleen and Leia over the past few years training for several different trail ultra-mileage distances. I have completed several 50ks, 50 milers, 100k’s, with one being a podium placement of 2nd Female, and my first 100 miler.
Under their coaching, I have learned several things that have greatly benefited my ability to finish ultra-distances and be competitive in my age bracket (50-59). I have learned how to properly increase my mileage distance during training, learned the importance and use of power-hiking during a race, improved my strength as a runner and have come to love hills. In addition to the running coaching, they have helped me develop nutrition plans that keep me properly fueled during a race.
If you are interested in successfully completing ultra-distances, I would recommend Team Sparkle. Not only for their coaching experience, but for their love of the sport, their mission to be inclusive of all individuals, and that they come with years of experience as ultra-runners themselves. I could not have been more successful as a Masters ultra-runner without this team in my corner.
I reached out to Team Sparkle for a training plan at the beginning of 2018. I had two goal races that year: a 50 miler and 100 miler. Although I had completed those distances in the past, I was not satisfied with my preparation and how beat up my body was afterwards. I knew I would be better if I could be accountable to someone during training.
Leia provided a plan that took my running experience into consideration but helped plan the right training run distances at the right times, as well as strength work. I trusted and followed the plan. It was a relief not to wonder if I was doing it right and to let her handle that piece. I was so pleased to PR my 50 miler by almost two hours and my 100 miler by 5 hours (!). Best of all, my body held up well during both races, and I recovered quickly. I also have to mention how fun it is to work with Leia and Coleen.
Working with Coleen Shaw-Voeks has allowed me to get the most out of racing and strength training. I’m not a naturally gifted runner. But working with her allowed me to get under a 2 hour half-marathon after trying on my own for that goal for two years.
Now, I am getting to experience world-class trail running events like Leadville and Bandera without embarassing myself. By integrating strength training, I can climb all the hills and recover quickly. Moreover, she understands what I am trying to get out of my running rather than forcing me into distances that I can’t handle. At the age of 50, I am stronger now overall than I’ve been in at least twenty years.
There’s no way around it, Team Sparkle is an amazing community of people, with Coleen and Leia at the helm. They have gotten me through 3 half marathons, my first marathon, injuries, and everything in between.
Their support and obvious care for their client’s well-being is palpable. They are simultaneously able to hold clients accountable while being understanding that sometimes life gets in the way of our goals. I know they’re there to support any goals I have, whether that’s an ultra or a 5k PR. I am so grateful for their sparkly, badass presence in my life!
The weekly training schedules and strength training I receive from Team Sparkle has given me the confidence and ability to complete multiple ultramarathons. Coleen’s exuberance is infectious and she clearly loves what she does.
2020 what can I say! With all the insanity that was 2020, reaching out to Coleen and Leia at Team Sparkle was by far one of the best decisions I made for myself! I had deferred a few races from late 2019 and early 2020 and despite Covid I wanted to get back on track in hopes that I can get back to Ultras this year and work towards something that I have wanted for so long…. my first 100mi finish!
I love the approach they take to coaching as they really look at each runner as a person and not just throw a training plan and let them go. They take time to get to know their runners and really fine tune the program and truly listen to me as things come up… because well life happens! So far my two 2020 races have thrown in ‘not ideal for me’ race conditions and they’ve been awesome keeping me motivated even during the race! Plus I like not having to worry about adjusting plans when something pops up… I just leave that up to my coaches!
I’m super excited to keep moving forward with my 100mi training and get to that finish line!!
I’m currently in my 3rd training session with Team Sparkle. As a person who is highly competitive with himself it was thrilling to hit an optimistic goal in my first marathon, and beat my previous half marathon PR by over 7 minutes through training with Coleen and Leia. That said, the reason I continue to train with them is their focus on sustainable training plans that help me prevent injury, and burnout. I’d recommend them to a runner of any ability level who is looking to establish running as a more consistent piece of their life.
I’ve been an ultra-runner for a long time. Sometimes I’ve trained on my own without guidance and sometimes I’ve had a coach and a training plan. I will say the races that I’ve used a coach have been my most successful! I’m also a running coach myself, so I know how to write a training plan, but I also know that I need accountability and don’t want to think about what I need to do. So when I decided to run another 100-miler in 2018, I wanted to have someone else coach me, someone I’ve worked with before, who knows me. That’s why I chose Coleen and Leia from Team Sparkle. Their training plan for me was spot on for my race! I was the strongest I had ever been and running more training mileage than any other race, but it was exactly what I needed. I completed Ozark Trail 100 more than 20 minutes under my goal time, still running strong at the end!
I first worked with Team Sparkle Productions as part of their Sander Saunters 50k group training. Early on in the training, it became apparent that I was not going to be able to dedicate enough time to the trails and needed to do a road race instead. Coleen and Leia were very supportive of this decision and ended up tailoring my training to a 3-day stage race that I chose to do in Las Vegas. Their training and support enabled me to not only complete my races (50k, half marathon, and 10k), but feel good at the end of all 3 as well! I finished first female in all 3 races and was competitive due to the extensive training and knowledge that was shared with me. I have been running since high school, and am currently in the best running shape of my life due to the group and private training I am receiving from Team Sparkle Productions!
I’m a superfan of Coleen and Leia’s coaching. I used to think I didn’t need a coach because I liked planning my own training, and I’m self-motivated.
After one year of following their plans and advice, I’m stronger, faster and more motivated than ever. Having them create my core plan frees me up to focus on more fun activities and challenges me in new ways. Plus I’m far more consistent in sticking with my plan. Highly recommend!
I could write a book about the reasons I love Team Sparkle. Coleen had already patiently corrected my running form over the course of a year by the time I formally signed on with her and Leia. So I knew I could expect to work with two coaches who knew their stuff, who would meet me where I was and push me to achieve my goals safely and sustainably.
What I did not expect was an entire community of encouraging teammates with their own experiences and expertise to share. Leia and Coleen have cultivated a supportive, engaged, and inspiring group of runners, and being part of their team keeps me going even when I don’t have a big goal of my own on the horizon.