coach because they don't view themselves as "real" runners. Others may feel that they can get enough from online articles, posts, or training plans or from their fellow runners. Others may think running coaches are too expensive. While others feel they just don't have time.
First of all, if you are putting on running shoes and heading out for a run on a regular basis, please most definitely consider yourself a runner. Second, periodical and online articles are great and online plans are fine, but the one thing to keep in mind, is that these plan are written for the masses, not you. Third, like any service, prices will vary. Shop around and find a running coach that's within your budget that provides what you need. Fourth, most running coaches have a variety of ways to interact to meet your busy schedule.
So, what's the answer? Do you need a running coach? Well, no, a runner doesn't have to have a running coach, but having been one for over 13 years, I can share with you some of the awesome benefits you may not have thought of.
Below are some great reasons a running coach can help you with successful training:
- Keeping Your Accountable: Knowing that someone has crafted a plan for you and will be checking in with you ups your accountability greatly. Many running coaches also incorporate group runs into their training which ups accountability as well as build relationships with other runners.
- Prevent Overtraining and Possible Injury: A common mistake of self-trained runners is overtraining. When a runner starts to make progress, they'll often get excited and begin to push themselves harder. Nothing wrong with pushing yourself, but a coach can help determine when too much of a push may be detrimental to your running mojo and/or your body. A running coach is a great first line of defense in preventing running injury. Runners are notorious for letting an ache or pain go too long before seeking treatment. I always encourage my runners to share with me when they are experiencing something beyond regular delayed onset muscle soreness, especially they if it's something they've had for more than a couple days and it's not getting better. I'm not a doctor or physical therapist, but I'm often that needed push to get a runner to seek professional medical help.
- Keep Better Perspective and Prevent Self-Doubt: When training for any race, but particularly a distance race such as a half or full marathon, self-doubt can creep in pulling a runner down. There's a saying that running is often 90% mental and 10% physical, and in many cases that is true. We can be our own worst enemy. A coach can help put things in perspective. If you 've had a bad run, a coach, can help you evaluate that run and determine if the lackluster performance was due to improper fueling or hydration, over training, poor sleep, stress, or some other factor.
- A Real-Time/Catered-to-You Sounding Board: When I'm in a training cycle with runners, I get emails, messages, phone calls and in-person chats all the time regarding anything and everything about my runners' training. Instead of wondering if you're on the right track, you have someone well versed in your training as a sounding board in real-time.
- Create a Plan for You and Your Goals Not the Masses: A running coach will craft a plan geared specifically for you. Factors such as your running history, your current running, the race you've selected, your personal goals, and more will all be taken into account when crafting your plan. Often runners will use the same plan year-after-year. Most runners don't stay the same, they may have made great gains or had a set-back from the previous year. A running coach will create a plan based on your current running.
- Adjust Your Plan During Training: As a running coach, one of the first things I tell a runner when I meet with them to talk about their training and goals, is that the plan I create is fluid. What I mean by that is, it's not set in stone. Changes can and will be made along the way. Sometimes life gets in the way and a plan needs to be revised. Sometimes a runner will make great gains during training and training paces need to be made. A runner needs to have structure and guidance with a plan, but not feel that they are completely locked in.
- Explain Your Workouts and Why You're Doing Them: Many online plans will have a variety of runs, but with very little explanation for why you're running these different types of runs. If a runner was not involved in track or cross-country in high school or college, they may not be familiar with some types of run workouts. Many runners will avoid speed work because they think they need access to a track. A running coach will thoroughly explain everything in your plan. They'll also explain how workouts can be accomplished without access to a track. (None of my speed workouts need a track.)
- Help Fit in Cross-Training to Support Your Running/Training: Many runners know that adding in cross-training can benefit their running, but don't know what to incorporate or how to incorporate it. While other runners are unaware of the benefits of incorporating other types of fitness. A running coach can help safely add in appropriate types and amounts of cross-training to your training regimen.
- Explain and Help Support You With Your Fueling and Hydration Needs: Just as important as the weekly runs, proper fueling and hydration is vital to successful training. A running coach can provide proper guidelines for fueling and hydration to support your runs.
- Motivate and Inspire: A running coach is your biggest cheerleader. Ongoing motivation and encouragement can often be the difference in successful race training.