A Newbie’s Guide to Online Coaching

Even a seasoned runner needs support from a coach

Leah Mele-Bazaz is a runner and freelance writer who lives in South Jersey. After a five-year hiatus from competitive running, she had a major life event that inspired her to run a marathon. Below is Leah’s story as a longtime runner making a comeback from heartache and disappointment and returning to the lifestyle and fitness from her younger years. A Newbie's Guide to Online Coaching

As an aside, Marc asked Leah if she wanted to contribute to his blog after her touching and inspiring story she shared on Kelly Robertsblog.

Here’s Leah’s story:

I had a fantasy in my head that I would still be able to define a jog as a 7-minute mile pace, and perhaps I could do a marathon comfortably with 9-minute miles. This fantasy was shattered during my first 5k – I signed up without training. What a bad decision. I was in a lot of pain and I struggled to run the race in 26 minutes, a horrifying time compared to what I used to run in college.

After that performance, I had no idea what kind of time I could run for the marathon distance, but my goal shifted to “just finish”.

I bought a cheap 20-week marathon training program off Amazon. I was no longer the fit, fast runner I once was and I didn’t feel like I was worth investing in a more expensive plan. I wasn’t trying to qualify for Boston, all I had to do was finish the race.

A Newbie's Guide to Online Coaching
A Newbie’s Guide to Online Coaching

The program had me running five days a week with heavy mileage on the weekend. I started noticing that by the second month of training, my body hit a new level of fatigue. My running pace for my long runs plummeted, I even started walking from the fatigue and muscle pain. Even for my short runs, my times turned questionable. I began to doubt if I could even finish the marathon in the allocated time limit. This “rock-bottom” moment inspired me to start looking for an online running coach.

My number one priority was to have a professional look at my current running log and help me come up with a sound game plan to reach my marathon goal. It was also important for me to find a coach, despite being online, to check in with me and have a level of care similar to what I experienced when I was a collegiate runner.

A Newbie's Guide to Online Coaching
A Newbie’s Guide to Online Coaching

I shopped around for a few online running coaches, signed up for a few trial plans, until I ended my search with Marc Pelerin. I was impressed with how responsive and reasonably priced Marc was compared to others. With Marc’s training plan, my level of fatigue diminished and I’m much happier with the variety of training runs including my ability to cross train.

Compared to my original training plan, which had heavy mileage every weekend, Marc’s plan is much more practical and I’m able to confidently hit my long runs with substantial time for recovery. I also like how interactive the program is, I can email Marc if I need changes or modifications to the plan. A Newbie's Guide to Online Coaching

With the marathon date creeping closer, I’m much more confident than where I was when I first started this process. I feel lucky that I didn’t get injured from the generic plan I bought from Amazon, and I only wish I realized earlier on that although I’m back to being a “beginner” runner again, that my training was still worth investing in!

Beginner or pro, you can benefit from having a coach guide your running. It’s a great idea to look into a few coaches and see how they respond to questions you have about how they coach. If something doesn’t seem right, it’s probably a red flag that they won’t work well with you.


For coaches: Link up each week to post your favorite running tips and coaching ideas.

For runners: Link up with running successes of your own and gather insight from running coaches!


  • Join your hosts Running on HappyCoach Debbie RunsTrainwithMarc, and Crazy Running Girl each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup!
  • Your link must be running related. You don’t have to be a coach to join but you do have to post something related to running. Unrelated links will be removed.
  • You must link back to your hosts — it’s common courtesy and a lot more fun!
  • Spread the link-up love by visiting at least two other #running bloggers! Leave a comment and find new blogs to read!
  • Use hashtags #running, #coachescorner, and #runningcoachescorner to stay in touch and promote your content!


Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach
Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach

I am a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners. Click for more information!

11 thoughts on “A Newbie’s Guide to Online Coaching

  1. I agree that having a plan that is tailored towards you and where you are currently is key to success


  2. I had much better success with running when I started working with a coach!


  3. I totally agree – even a coach needs a coach sometimes. I’m pretty self motivated but always feel obligated to get it done when I’m working with someone else.


  4. I hired a coach when I trained for my first marathon and it was the smartest decision I could have made! She designed my training plan, was always available to answer questions and gave me a lot of support.


  5. That’s awesome! Exactly what should happen. How did the actual race go for you? As expected? Better? Worse?


  6. Absolutely. I’m motivated too, but it helps to bounce ideas off of other people.


  7. That’s awesome. Hope training is going well!


  8. Sure is! When your needs are met all you have to worry about is getting out the door for the run.


  9. I also think it’s important to find a coach who “gets you” and is willing to work with you on your goals as well as your setbacks to keep tweaking the plan as needed.


  10. Oh definitely! Being flexible and openminded is so key!


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Location Cherry Hill, NJ E-mail trainwithmarc@gmail.com Hours Weekdays: 3-10 pm; Weekends: 7 am-10 pm
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