So, I’ve decided that I need a running coach. I’ve already expressed that I’m not thrilled with the training program that I purchased back in July. I just don’t feel like it’s going to take me where I want to go and help me accomplish my running goals. It’s a total bummer because I spent money on it (I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can get some of that money back!) but in reality, it’s generic and, while it’s described as being “sport specific” – my sport being running – it’s really difficult to tailor it around the running that I want to do because of the CrossFit component.
I’ve been kicking around the idea of finding a coach for a while but then, I think “hey, I’ve already run 8 marathons without ever needing a coach so….” Then, I stop thinking about it and just get back to trying to figure things out for myself. I’ve used generic training plans and I’ve even used Training Peaks plans through Runner’s World with a time-specific goal in mind (paid for those) and those have been fine. Mostly. For just running.
I want running and strength training, in a balanced format that doesn’t knock me on my butt or have me running intervals and time trials pretty much every running day.
Hence, my need for a coach. So, what are some of the benefits I expect to gain from hiring a coach?
1. Customizable and Personalized Training Plan
This is seriously one of the most attractive things to me about having a coach. A coach does the hard part and creates the training plan and I get to do all the fun stuff, like running! There’s nothing wrong with a generic training plan – I’ve used them pretty much my whole running career! – but they’re basic, they can be boring, sometimes they feel rigid, they don’t usually include strength training or mobility work, which is important, and often, the runner is left up to his or her own devices adjusting the schedule to life/work/travel/etc. I don’t know about you but I struggle to adjust a training plan. And then I end up feeling guilty when I do. There’s no one there to guide me. Besides, when you have a coach, you can contact him or her and talk about how a workout made you feel, whether it was tough or too easy, and then things can get adjusted! You won’t find that with a basic plan from the internet.
2. Setting Goals
This actually goes right along with number 1. When you have a coach, you can actually discuss your goals and then your coach will understand how to write your training plan to help you achieve them. Plus, if your goals are too big, broad, or vague, a coach can help you narrow things down into small, manageable, and realistic goals. <- Hey, that sounds pretty S.M.A.R.T. (tee hee, see what I did there?)
3. Injury Prevention
You’d think, given my recent history, this would be at the top of my list! haha. But seriously, a coach who stays in touch and monitors your progress can tell if you’re hitting that “over-training” spot and can help you scale back to prevent injury. If I’d had a coach last year, it’s possible I never would have torn my meniscus. But, hindsight is 20/20 so…. who knows? Also, with a coach, you’re not likely to get an intense plan right out of the box, especially if you’re a beginner. Most coaches will err on the side of moderate rather than difficult and then make adjustments after feedback. And, if you’re me and the basic training plan doesn’t necessarily include stretching or mobility, you might be tempted to just skip it using the old “hey, I don’t have time and it wasn’t written in my plan, anyway!” excuse. *insert eye roll emoji* With a coach, it’s in there, especially if you are honest and you tell your coach you’re that kind of person. Be honest about that!! And then maybe, if you’re like me, you’ll feel guilty more accountable and actually do it. Yeah, more accountable. 🙂
4. Proper Training
Running coaches are not just for experienced and/or professional runners. A brand new runner can benefit from a run coach. I remember when I first started really getting into running, I did countless Google searches and read as much as I could about running, starting running, and how to build mileage, etc. Plus, I had a couple of work friends who were runners so I was always bothering them asking questions and driving them crazy. LOL But not everyone has those kinds of friends or the time to do all that reading! I took public transportation to work so I had the luxury of reading during a 35 minute train ride. A run coach will guide you through all that! A run coach will explain the training, teach you about proper rest and recovery time, and pacing, depending on your goals.
A training plan you get from the Internet is not going to pat you on the back, either virtually or in person, for crushing a workout or nailing a pace or running the longest distance you’ve ever run in your life. A training plan you get from the internet is not going to be out there with you at the track, cheering you on through that speed workout. A training plan you get from the internet is not going to check in on you and see how you’re doing and WHOOP it up with you when you meet a goal. A coach will believe in you and tell you that you can do it. And sometimes, that’s priceless.
Something else important about hiring a coach – don’t just pick the first one you find. Unless he/she is perfect for you. You need to have a conversation, discuss goals and strategies, find out what that coach believes in, how he/she works, etc. The cost is also important but it’s not the most important thing. You need to find a coach you jive with, who you can really talk to and who really listens. And I think I found one!!5 reasons why you'll benefit from hiring a running coach. #sweatpink #fitlfuential #running #runchat Click To Tweet
So, tell me, do you have anything to add to this list? Have you ever worked with a coach before? What was your number one reason for hiring a coach?