• Jennifer Fishman

Why Hire a Running Coach

As far as sports go, running is fairly simple. You put one foot in front of the other. You typically don’t have to ‘teach’ someone the basics of running- children run on their own. Beyond the simple mechanics of moving forward, there are so many resources out there to help the amateur runner. There are books, online training plans, message boards, etc….so why spend money on a coach?

I don’t believe a coach is necessary for every person! It is not worth hiring a coach if you are not intrinsically motivated. You NEED an internal source of motivation if you are going to complete workouts that may feel like ‘too much’ or finish out runs on a week when work has kicked your butt. Without that motivation, setbacks will derail you and you end up paying for a service you are not fully utilizing.

I don’t say that to discourage from hiring a running coach. I’m saying that so you’ll think about why you’re hiring a coach and why you’re willing to pay money to have someone help you improve. You’ll need to keep those reasons in your head when workouts become difficult.

Which brings us to the why. Why hire a coach? Why spend that money?

A coach is your personal cheerleader. As coaches, we invest our time in you AND we invest emotionally. When we see your hard work pay off, it excites us as much as it excites you. We understand your triumph and struggle in ways that your significant other, family, or friends may not. Typically, a coach has been through it all. The mental setbacks. The physical setbacks. We came out on the other side and know what you’re feeling and, subsequently, how to push you through it.

A coach is a resource. A good coach isn’t going to just send out a training plan and say ‘you’re on your own now’. We’re there to answer your questions when you don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘fartlek’ or what a ‘tempo’ effort is. We will tell you why we gave you the workout we gave you because if you understand the reasoning behind it, you’ll perform better. These are things that aren’t going to show up on your online training plan you pulled off a random website!

A coach adds flexibility to your plan. Have an off day? Miss a workout? Rather than scrambling to make it up because it was on that schedule you pulled from a book or website, you can chat with your coach and either plan on an alternative workout or decide that maybe it’s okay to miss it. Need to rearrange your schedule because of conflicts? Coaches can help with that as well!

A coach will demystify the process. Typically, a good coach will not send you out for a workout without making the purpose clear. Knowing why each run exists on the schedule will help you run them correctly. Recovery day? So your muscles can rebuild from your workout. Tempo run? Increase your speed-endurance. Knowing the ‘why’ of every run can help you with the ‘how’. If you need to recover, even if you feel great, it’s better not to run fast. If you’re doing a tempo, you’ll know you shouldn’t feel comfortable but you shouldn’t be dying the entire time either. Knowing why runs are inserted where they are in a schedule can help you do them correctly AND help you have better conversations with your coach to improve said schedule.

Again, coaches are an investment and are not necessarily the best solution for everyone. If you have clear goals and are motivated to complete a schedule and take full advantage of the resources afforded to you by a coach, then it may be worth spending the money.

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