Running coaches are way more than just a clipboard-holding, stopwatch clicking person
A running coach is someone who learns what makes you special and gets the most out of each and every run you do. A coach provides support when you need it, motivation when you lack it, and insight when you can’t seem to find the answer.
There are benefits to an online running coach that you, the runner, aren’t always aware of.
As a distance runner, you might think that having a running coach isn’t for you. You’d be really wrong! A running coach helps you design a training plan so you can race your best. A running coach is there when things get tough. And a coach is an experienced person who knows what it takes to reach your goals.
A coach isn’t just for the super-fast runners. In fact, the more inexperienced you are, the more you need someone to help you understand fact from myth; to help you navigate through the highs and lows of distance running.
The Guessing Game
There is no more guessing game. The coach’s goal is to have a plan for each and every run and workout you do. There is a “method” as to why they are giving you a specific workout. When you are without a coach, it’s your job to figure out what paces, how far you should be running, and mixing it all together into a cohesive plan. That’s a lot to think about.
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Taper time is often the most stressful of any of the other weeks during a training plan. Getting the taper right is difficult! An experienced coach can help you calm your nerves, get you in the right frame of mind and have you running your best on race day.
At some point, most runners do come down with an injury. What they do about that injury – from running through it or resting depends on the severity of the injury. A coach can help guide you through the injury and get you back to health.
On race day, you don’t want to come across a situation you’ve never been in. A good running coach will help you prepare for any situation that might come up. Whether it’s weather related or simply just practicing staying calm on the morning of the race, a coach can help you prepare both mentally and physically for those types of scenarios.
Instead of doing the same workout over and over again, a training plan should vary from week to week. One week could be a tempo run and the next week could be 400 meter repeats. The point is, that week after week, doing the same workout at the same pace won’t make you get any faster. By switching it up, you’ll build a cardiovascular system that is always working to keep up with demands.
Having a training log is so important for a runner. Training logs track your mileage over the course of a week, a month and over the years. Personally, I have a training log of every single run I’ve ever completed. I look back at the training I did and the types of workouts I did. You can and should do the same. You’ll be able to find where you had success and what you did so you can mirror the type of training to prepare for upcoming races.
Built in Motivation
Have issues or need a pick me up? That’s exactly what a coach is for! When the times get tough (and boy do they ever get tough), you really want someone who’s been there before and can help you through the tough times.
After reading an article about Galen Rupp and his training for the 2020 US Olympic Trials, I realized that Galen was oozing with confidence even though he had come off a period of Achillies surgery, a new coach, and no races over the last 16 months. How was he able to have so much confidence? He believed in his training, his (now-virtual) coach, and he trusted that he was doing the work to get him back to where he wanted to be.
He wouldn’t have been able to achieve most of the success he saw without having confidence in his coach and his ability to perform the workouts.
Similarly, the training you do for your race will be equally as attainable as Galen’s. You’ll feel confident from nailing more workouts and long runs and you’ll map out that the work you’re doing well help fuel you to bigger and better performances.
A good coach will tailor your training plan to your specific needs. Two runners with similar abilities and training for the same race will still require different workouts at different times during training. They might have different amount of mileage and different race strategies. The bottom line is that no two runners are built the same. Each requires individual training plans to help them reach their racing goals.
The 10 reasons why you should consider hiring a running coach for your next training cycle.Tweet
You may not believe you deserve or warrant a running coach. But I know that if you’re reading this, you probably, do in fact want a coach to help guide you through the trials and tribulations of distance running. Don’t be scared – a coach is there to help assist you. You are worthy of a coach and your running will continue to get better under the guidance of a coach.
Whether you ultimately decide to use me as your coach or you find someone else, the important thing to know is that working with a coach takes time to build trust and a relationship. Give it time. Find someone who has experience working with a runner of your ability level, what you value, and what your goals are.
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Marc is 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!