As a coach:
Marsa completed her B.S. in Exercise Science from Western Washington University before moving to Massachusetts to earn a M.S. in Coaching from Smith College. These two degrees blended deep study into all realms of human performance, including: exercise physiology, biochemistry, motor control and biomechanics, as well as psychology, sociology, leadership and education.
From 2008-2012, as Program Director for the men's and women's rowing program at the University of Puget Sound, Marsa coached the women's team to the NCAA National Championship for four consecutive years, earning Northwest Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2009-2010. Eager to incorporate health, leadership and career coaching into her work, Marsa started her own coaching practice, MD Endurance Coaching, in late 2012. Marsa specializes in coaching endurance athletes—particularly cyclists and rowers—as well as high-achievers looking to improve their overall state of health, career, and life satisfaction.
Marsa is committed to continuously drawing on the latest coaching science, and believes in tapping into each individual’s unique strengths and talents to help them achieve their goals. Marsa attributes her success in coaching to her extensive experience and education in human performance, blended with her commitment to celebrating the authenticity of each person she coaches.
Marsa's core coaching values:
Spark lasting motivation through celebrating individual strengths.
Harness the power of a growth mindset.
Balance positive stress with rest.
Make time for inspiration.
Self-efficacy is the end goal.
As an athlete:
There’s no doubt my passion for coaching stemmed from the incredible experience I had as a collegiate rower. I’ll be the first to admit, though, that experience didn’t start out easy. Initially, it was close bonds with teammates that kept me waking up at 4am to train in the dark and cold. Over time, though, I began to welcome those challenges as opportunities for growth. The growth mindset I developed through my years as a rower shaped every element of my life, including my approach to coaching.
Though my education in human performance set the foundation for my coaching practice, I’ve found that nothing takes the place of the learning that occurs through being a lifelong athlete. The daily acts of training, fueling, recovering and performing—all while balancing the many other demands of life—is the perfect laboratory for applying the latest coaching science and continuously stretching one’s mental and physical limits.
After college and a few years of ultra-distance trail running and triathlon, I discovered a passion for the sport of cycling. That passion, paired with support from a cohesive team, fostered a quick progression up the cycling ranks into the 1-2 category for road, cyclocross and mountain bike racing. Still today, I balance my love for high-speed, technical events like cyclocross, with high-volume and multi-day events including the Singletrack6 and BC Bike Race mountain bike races in Canada.
Many of my most enjoyable athlete experiences have been outside of competition, simply enjoying the unparalleled freedom of human powered adventures. I took to bike packing and multi-day tours, including self-supported rides from Seattle to Glacier National Park; through the Canadian Rockies; and down Scotland and Wales. These trips were filled with both beautiful and challenging moments, epic climbs and descents, a surprise run-in with a mountain lion, and even hours hiding under a tree to avoid a lighting strike (while eating a whole pie to kill time). For me, it’s in moments like these when we know we’re living life to the fullest.
Education and Certifications
M.S. Exercise and Sport Studies: Specialization in Coaching, Smith College
B.S. Kinesiology and Exercise Science, Western Washington University
National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) certified outdoor educator
National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) certified personal trainer
USA Cycling Level 3 Coach
US Rowing Level 1 Coach