To ask why someone would need or want a running coach is a valid question. My mindset for many years was that I would just run a lot, get in a workout here and there and the results would take care of themselves. As I continued to run and read about running and talk to other runners I became more and more aware of the overwhelming amount of information on websites, books, magazines and elsewhere about how to train for running. Anyone with a subscription to Running Times or Runner’s World can verify that there seems to be a new favorite workout or series of workouts each issue that often seem to conflict with one another.
After a lot of injury, trial and error, and years of experimentation with different plans, theories, and coaches and feel as though now I am able to pull together the best knowledge from all of these experiences and apply them to myself and others, saving others many headaches and countless hours of reading.
Improvement by design
Effective personal coaching, unlike the previously mentioned magazines (and there are many more websites offering one-size-fits-all training plans), provides training based on runner feedback that involves asking a number of appropriate questions. Even the best runners need independent feedback on their training before moving on to the next series of workouts and cycle of training. A good coach helps runners set a goal and then works backward from the goal to the runners current ability, devising a path to get there.
Investing in a personal coach provides the independent and reliable voice of reason as to when and how to stretch, how to train to avoid injuries, how to treat common running injuries, when and how to add speedwork to a training plan, when to add mileage, how to maximize fat loss, what and when to eat, how to warm up and cool down, and all of the little things that you only think to ask when there is no one around.
the little things that you only think to ask when there is no one around
Effective coaches will take a long term approach with their runners, helping them overcome the urge (that is human nature) to race workouts or go too easy or lay in bed some days.
A runner who utilizes a coach has made an important agreement with themselves to set goals and be accountable to them. In any endeavor goal setting is a key factor in success. To get where we want to go we have to be heading in the right direction. To head in the right direction we need to identify that direction first and then find then most efficient route to get there. A coach can keep us going in that direction just when we might feel the temptation to quit.
Having a coach write up your workouts, give you motivation and inspiration, prepare you for races and overcome rough patches is a major confidence booster when standing at the starting line of a race. It is incredibly reassuring to know that you are not just running for yourself but for friends and family and you have been prepared well and will have an opportunity to test and show your preparation.
You will know that, unlike many other runners, you did not just complete random workouts at random paces. You did not just run each day. You TRAINED for this race on this day. You’ve hit paces for certain amounts of time that have prepared your mind and prepared your body for this. Your coach has physically and mentally prepared you to be your best. It is possible to be the you that you dream of.
Time and money
Life is increasingly fast paced and hectic for almost all of us. There are only so many hours in the day to sleep, prepare and clean up from meals, hang out with family and friends, work and run. What percentage of people have the time to do all of that and still read through books, magazines and websites weighing the pro’s and con’s of various training plans? Not many.
We don’t all have time to become plumbers, investors, mechanics, dry cleaners, electricians, pilots, doctors, etc. so we hire specialists to do these things for us. The decision to hire a coach is no difference though I would argue that decisions regarding your mental and physical should be weighted towards the top of our priorities.
For less than the prices of a Starbucks coffee each day (I love it too) or less you can make an investment to be not just a better runner but a healthier you. Knowing that you have committed to working with a coach you will have another reason to avoid that extra serving of dessert, that extra push on the snooze button, that extra hour watching tv.
At this time next do you want to look back and say “YES!!! I finally did it this year, Look at all I have accomplished!” or do we want to look back and wish we had taken that step and not procrastinated again?