Is Hiring A Running Coach Right For You?

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been running, hiring a running coach can be a game changer.

But having a running coach isn’t a necessity. I’ll keep it real with you, the reason I created three separate tiers of training and coaching (basic training plans, training journals, and one on one coaching) is because hiring a running coach is an investment not every runner can make. For years I trained with basic training plans and I not only successfully went from former President of the “I f*cking hate running club” to consistent runner, but I improved my running and was able to run down my first two huge impossible running goals of breaking 2 hours in the half marathon and 4 hours in the full marathon. It took a few years of hard work and failed attempts, but I made my impossible possible with simple, basic training plans.

But there comes a time in a lot of runner’s lives when they plateau, need a change, or sense that what they’re doing isn’t working for them anymore. Running is complicated and while so many of us are able to better our bests on our own, having someone to guide you towards your next breakthrough can change your life.

Sounds trivial, but it’s true. Chasing my impossible of running a Boston marathon qualifying time changed my life. (AND I "FAILED” EVERY SINGLE TIME!!)

I remember how nervous I felt about working with my first running coach. Running was a lifeline for me and not only did I run because it brought me an endless amount of joy, but I was terrified that running would become a job. I didn’t think I was capable of sticking with a plan 100% and the pressure of having someone watching me seemed like too much to handle.

But I loved it.

My coach didn’t care how I performed (Well, that’s not totally true. They always wanted me to fight to put my strongest foot forward.), all they asked was that I showed up for myself and my teammates, made an effort not to give into doubt and fear, and give my best effort day in and day out. That’s all. And when I didn’t, they were there to talk me off the ledge and remind me that I had another opportunity to practice my new skills tomorrow.

What having a running coach really did for me was show me that I was capable of more than I ever imagined.

On my own, sometimes I pushed myself but I thought I had unconsciously defined what I thought I was and wasn’t capable of. But with a coach, you have an extra set of eyes seeing what you’re doing and guiding you to challenge your pre-defined limits.

Too many words? Are you one of those people who just wants a list of the reasons why having a running coach can change your running, here it is:

  1. Accountability. You have someone who not only expects you to do the work, but will talk to you about what happened when you crash and burn, give into fear, or celebrate you when you have the best workout of your life.

  2. New Skills. Coaches aren’t just incredible runners who want you to run like them. The best coaches have taken the time to develop a training style and philosophy. It’s important that you see eye to eye and trust them intrinsically. My personal philosophy is based strongly in the mental game of running. How to develop the skills of accurate and positive self talk, how to redefine your limits, body image, and confidence as a runner. With me, you’ll be doing the physical work necessary to run down your goals, but you’ll be doing the mental work as well. (If you’re someone looking to run an OTQ or run sub 7 minute miles in any distance, I’m not the coach for you. Check out my coach Rebeka Stowe. She’s incredible. But if you’re someone looking to work with a coach for the first time or run your first marathon or half marathon, break 2 hours in the half, 4 in the full, 5 in the full, 4 and a half hours in the full, 2 and a half hours in the half, 1 hours 45 minutes in the half, learn how to push your limits and challenge your idea of what you’re capable of, etc., I may be the coach for you.)

  3. Injuries. It doesn’t matter what distance you’re training for, most of us are going to get hurt. Coaches will help you incorporate a strength training practice to strengthen your problem areas and do everything they can to help you prevent injuries. (Now that being said, it’s up to you to actually do the work. DO YOUR STRENGTH WORK WHETHER YOU HAVE A COACH OR NOT. If you think you won’t get hurt, you’re wrong. You will. We all do. Go download the Nike Training APP and do some body weight work 3 days a week if you don’t know where to start. REHAB PREHAB PREHAB.) My coaching comes with a strength plan designed by Physical Therapist Raechel Bugner. It’s just an added perk.

  4. No Guesswork. The best part about hiring a coach is that they take the guesswork out of everything. No more, “Should I do this because I don’t think I can do that?”, “I don’t want to do that”, or, “Why am I doing this?”, because you have someone to go to for answers. They can explain to you what to do when you have to adjust your training when life happens. They do the mental gymnastics of putting together your custom training plan for you so your only job is to show up ready to work.

  5. Personal Bests. The most common reason runners bring on a running coach is to run down a personal best. If you’re looking to run a PR or tackle a distance and finish strong, hiring a running coach is a great way to make that goal a reality. Simple as that.

There are so many reasons to hire a running coach but it’s an investment that not everyone is capable of making. There are so many resources out there if you can’t hire a coach! If you’re looking for all the added benefits of a running coach but aren’t ready to pay a monthly fee, check out my training journals. I designed them so that anyone with a beautiful, impossible running goal can get the benefits of a running coach without hiring one. My entire mental philosophy behind training and how to develop a rock solid mental game is in them and though they aren’t cheap, they won’t break the bank.

But do what’s right for you.

Hiring a running coach can help you break through barriers and build new skills but your coach isn’t going to run for you. You have to do the work. What you put into it is what you’ll get out of it.

Kick ass, take names.

What crazy, seemingly impossible running goal are you working towards?