Whether you’re a brand-new runner, a devoted weekend warrior or an aspiring elite, there are plenty of ways working with a running coach will improve your running. If the thought of hiring a coach seems daunting or a little “extra,” it’s actually not. Many coaching options (group sessions, virtual coaching, customized online training plans) are really affordable, and you probably won’t have to meet your coach down at the track at zero-dark-thirty every morning.
Working with a coach for even just a few sessions can net you some big benefits. But if you want to reap all of the rewards on our list, consider working with your coach for an entire race season.
Read on to learn what a running coach can do for you that you probably can’t do for yourself.
1. A running coach will increase your motivation
Now more than ever, we must look at our motivation to run, and a coach can help in that department.
I’ve been asked recently, “What are you training for?”
Health. Fun. Fitness. Wellness. Life.
With the race prospects for the near future being slim to none, we have to start back at the purpose. Talking it out with a coach can be a helpful and fun exercise to gain clarity on our why.
2. A coach will individualize training.
In the same way that goals should be tailored to your unique experience and needs, so should your training. A coach takes the guesswork out of this complicated process.
At the outset of training, Lally works with his athletes to gather information not just on their running experience, but the greater landscape of their lives. “How might it be best to build up distance and speed? How many hours will you be available to train each week? A good coach will write a training plan based on these things,” he says.
“An individual running plan keeps runners happy, healthy, and motivated,” says Thull. “A general plan out of a book or online typically misses the ‘little’ things within training that a coach can provide in terms of nutrition, motivation, confidence, physiology and overall planning.”
3. A running coach can help you choose your goals
Many runners aren’t sure where they should go next. Whether you’re a beginner, deciding to run a race for the first time, or a more experienced runner making the jump to a longer distance, or if you are seeking to set a personal record or to qualify for the Boston Marathon, a coach can take an objective look at your ability, fitness, and goals, and help you take that step.
4. Your running coach can provide accountability
Sure, you may be tired at the end of the day and maybe think about skipping that speed workout on your schedule. Then you remember that you’ll have to report to your coach and you scoot your butt out the door.
5. Your running coach will be your cheerleader
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. A workout is tougher than expected or you fall short of your own expectations. Your coach knows what you are capable of and will provide encouragement and support to help you feel better about what you are accomplishing.
6. Your running coach can help you train smart
Many runners who train on their own don’t realize that rest and recovery are as important as training. Your coach will make sure that you give your body the care that it needs so that it can grow stronger and faster.
7. Your running coach can give you a kick in the pants when you need it
Your coach knows you, which means she knows what you need in order to stick with your training. Sometimes that is an understanding ear and empathy. Other times it’s a command to just get out there and do your workout. Without complaining. Too much.
8. A running coach will assist in injury prevention
Arriving to the start line healthy is one of the most valuable assets we can have as runners. Simply put, having a coach helps in injury prevention, and in a sport where more than half of runners become injured yearly, this is one of the most important reasons to get a coach!
Not only can a coach can assist in proper run mechanics and form, but they can provide advice on dynamic warm-ups, cross training activities that will supplement and enhance our running, strengthening exercises for the core and muscles of the lower extremities, and stretching exercises for our cool down routine.
If an injury pops up, a coach can help in determining the appropriate rest and recovery in the training schedule so that you can get back to running safely.
A coach will help you plan, train for, and achieve your running goals no matter what they are. She can help you run faster, longer, or just simply, run.