Soon after having my little girl, I decided that it was time to get a running coach. I’ve never been very good at following a random training plan that I find online or in a book. Whenever I come up with my own training schedules I end up doing way too much, which results in an injury. I knew I needed help if I was going to accomplish my running goals. At first I felt kind of silly for wanting a coach because yeah, I’m not an Olympian. With time I have realized that a running coach can be beneficial for any runner —no matter their speed or ability!
I am now hooked and thought I would share with you why I love having a running coach.
1. They do the hard part and I get to do the fun part. I don’t have to think about what workout, pace or time I should do each day. They do all of that for me. My workouts for the week pop up in my email inbox or on a google doc. Then I do the running part, which is what I like best. They even send you your race plan with splits and strategies tailored just for you and how your training has gone.
2. I need an expert outsider’s perspective. I tend to get too caught up in hitting certain numbers and doing too much too fast. Having a coach tell me when to run fast and when to take things easy keeps me from overdoing it and getting burnt out. They help me to know how much recovery time to take after a hard workout or race! They also know your race goals, how to avoid overtraining and how to train you for peak fitness on race day.
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3. I get a lot of motivation from having a coach. Knowing that I am reporting back to my coach and telling them how my workout went helps me to do my best. Sometimes they send a workout that I think is impossible. Knowing my coach believes that I can do it helps me to hit those paces and push myself.
4. Having a personalized training plan helps me so much. A good coach will learn all about your past injuries. They will also learn what things work and don’t work for you. A training plan that is made just for me helps me to stay injury free! They can also figure out your weaknesses with running and in turn create workouts and specific plans that will turn those weaknesses into strengths!
5. I’ve seen big improvements in my times, form and mental game by having a coach. I took about 8 minutes off of my 1/2 marathon time (from a 1:31:40 to a 1:23:55). I am also slowly but surely chipping away at my post-baby marathon personal record. My form has improved big time with different drills that they have assigned me.
6. A coach helps me to do all of the little things that we sometimes skip over. When they schedule in form drills, stretching, strength training and foam rolling, I actually do it because they schedule it in for me. When I was training on my own, I usually forgot about all of the little things that in turn make a huge impact on your running and injury prevention!
How do you find a running coach?
Ask around! If you are looking for a local running coach, try going into your local running store and asking for any recommendations. I am a huge fan of word of mouth recommendations, so talk to different people about who they use and how it has worked for them. Online searches like RRCA.ORG can help you to find a certified running coach too!
It is so important to find someone that meshes well with your personality. You want to work with a certified coach that you feel will motivate you and help you reach your running goals. Do your research, ask lots of questions and search around to find a coach that knows what they are doing!