Running is a great way to stay in shape, but without the right guidance, it can be difficult. Having a running coach by your side will help you improve your technique and get faster results! In this blog post, we’ll discuss why you should hire a running coach and how they will help take your training plan to the next level.
Why do people hire running coaches?
A running coach is a great investment for anyone looking to take their training to the next level. A professional will make sure you have proper form, give feedback on your technique and suggest workouts that are right for you. Having someone else with experience motivate and push you forward can be a huge help in reaching those goals!
When does it make sense to hire a running coach? Is there a “level” you should be at?
For anyone who wants to take their training to the next level, it makes sense for them to hire a running coach. There is no specific level you should be at before hiring one – as long as there are goals that need help achieving. Personally, I had completed many multi-day extreme ultramarathons and would have considered myself ‘advanced’ but in reality, my running coach Simon Dicks at Focused Running taught me I knew nothing. (Insert embarrassed emoji!)
Conversely, my friend Lee had only run a handful of 5k Parkruns and he found it so helpful to have someone help him understand his form and pace. he was a little dubious at first, especially as his coach seemed to have a nucleus of experienced runners, but once he signed up, he never looked back.
What can you expect from a running coach?
A running coach will first assess your current level of fitness and then work with you on achieving whatever goals are set. My primary goal was to complete a 100-mile ultramarathon. The help from Simon Dicks helped me to run faster, for longer and with a dramatically reduced risk of injury and much more efficiency.
The accountability was pivotal also. Simon was always there at the time I needed to run, and he never let me give up on my goals even with his online training plans.
Why would I hire a running coach when there are so many free training plans online?
There are plenty of good training plans out there, but without someone to keep you accountable and give feedback on your technique, it doesn’t make things easier.
A running coach will also help set realistic goals and ensure you are running safely and efficiently from the start – a huge advantage over the free online resources where even recreational runners are quick to suggest that their way is always best. They usually provide a generic ‘WHAT’ to do, but never an individualized ‘HOW’ to do it.
What to Look for in a Running Coach?
When it comes to hiring a running coach, there are many quality options. A few things I would recommend checking for:
- Is the coaching done in person or over an app, or maybe both like my coach? For me, this was important because I live on the other side of the country from my running coach in Reading.
- What are their background and certifications- do they have a recognised qualification & experience in running or are they just another personal trainer that has diversified and is targeting runners?
- What services do they offer – one-time coaching sessions or an ongoing program for someone more serious about their training.
- Do they have reputable reviews or testimonials from former students?
- Do they offer a no-obligation assessment where you can get a feel for their manner, knowledge and coaching style?
How much does a Running Coach Cost?
The cost of hiring a running coach will vary depending on their rates and services. For example, one-time coaching sessions are typically more expensive than a package of two or four sessions that can be spaced out over time to suit the athlete’s needs.
They are often comparable to personal training costs and prices.
Also, consider other benefits such as injury prevention, I quickly came to the conclusion that I will either have to pay for a coach to reduce the risk of injury or pay for a physio!
Are there any red flags that suggest someone might not be a good running coach?
The number one thing to look for in an experienced running coach is their certifications and qualifications. A good running coach will have a recognised qualification in running coaching or at least be certified by a well-established organisation.
I would also stay clear of anyone without a number of 5* reviews or with a lack of knowledge in your particular field of running.
What can I do to make sure I’m making the most of my time with a running coach?
- Be honest with your coach about what you are looking for. If it’s just a little accountability, then one or two sessions might be all that is required and they will recommend the best course of action to help achieve this goal.
- Ask for regular feedback and suggestions on your training. This will keep you motivated and make sure that the time spent is as productive as possible for both of you.
- Ask if they have any articles or books to recommend on running- it’s important to do research outside of just what the coach has to say about their particular field.
- Attend any workshops or events your running coach holds for added value to your coaching. Supporting your coach will also encourage your coach to support you more. It’s like any relationship, you get out what you put in.
How do I find a good running coach?
There are plenty of good coaches out there, but without someone to keep you accountable and give feedback on your technique, it doesn’t make things easier.
- Speak to your running friends and ask for recommendations. If that’s not possible try online.
- Check online and look for well-established websites and social media profiles that suggest the coach is serious and is well established.
- Attend local races and events which are often attended by coaches. Seek the out and have a chat. My coaching started with a simple conversation and it’s likely yours will too!
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