The Running Coach, Training

The Running Coach: Do you need a coach?

Written by Amanda, The Running Coach. Many people debate whether or not they need a running coach. My answer is that everyone can benefit from a coach. However, not everyone needs a running coach and there are plenty of good resources for getting it done on your own.

As a coach, I can think of three different scenarios where a coach can give you the most bang for your buck:

  • As someone new to running. Not many of us really know what we’re doing when we first get started. Having a coach to help you learn the ropes, set and meet goals, and avoid injury can be a real boon to the enjoyment of your new activity.
  • When trying to take your running to the next level. You’ve been at it for a while and can’t seem to make much progress any more. Most runners have about 10 years worth of improvement in their legs, no matter what age they start. If you’re not still seeing progress, a coach can help you move off your plateau.
  • When making a big jump in racing distance. Someone who has done a few ½ marathons and wants to train for a marathon, for instance, would fall into this category. Having a coach to guide you safely to the starting line can be a big asset at this stage in the game.

If considering a coach, look beyond just the price of their package. Interview prospective coaches and see if you have a good cultural fit. You want someone who will individualize the schedule to your specific needs and time available. Make sure you feel entirely comfortable with their services, and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. After all, this is your passion and potentially your money spent. Do all that you can to ensure a satisfying return on your investment. Good luck!

Have you used a coach before? What are your feelings about hiring a coach? What benefits would you gain from having a coach?

- Amanda

(Amanda Loudin is a runner, coach, and freelance writer with 15 years experience in endurance events. As a runner, she’s in perpetual training mode, usually with a slate of about eight races per year on her plate. As a coach, she has helped runners achieve their goals in every distance from 5k to the marathon. She shares her passion for the sport on her blog, MissZippy1, and daily on Twitter at @misszippy1.)

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