Whether you have a genuine passion for it or you do it purely for exercise and health reasons, running is a complex activity – sometimes it’s a struggle and sometimes it’s fun – but it’s rarely easy. Pushing yourself to go out for a run can be a challenge, especially if you’re training for a race or a long distance. If you’re serious about running and want to push yourself to achieve a PR or other running-related goal, hiring a running coach is a great option for getting the most out of your efforts. Here, we’ll explore the types of coaching that are available and learn why a personal running coach is an excellent option for runners of all types.
What Are My Training Options?
If you’re ready to take your running to the next level, enter a race, or improve your time, you’ll want a more formal training plan other than just jogging in the park. There are several training options that you can choose from, including:
Group Running Clinics
Many running stores or clubs offer group running clinics of various types, such as beginners courses, training for specific races, or learning how to improve your time. These clinics usually start with a talk from the leader who will outline the plan for that day’s class before the group sets out on a run together.
Online programs are a popular choice for people who are training for longer distances, like a half marathon or marathon. There are many running websites that allow you to input your personal information along with the distance you’re training for, your preferred running days, and other preferences. Then, the site will generate a training plan for you that maps out which days you’ll run and what distances you should do each day.
Running coaches often offer their services to small groups of runners who are training together for a specific race or distance. These coaches offer tips and schedules that apply to their group. While working with a group coach is beneficial, each runner in the group is unique in their fitness level and abilities, so the advice will be more generic in nature.
One-on-one coaching is by far the most personalized type of running coaching. With this method, you’ll hire a coach that works with you to achieve your personal running goals, like training for a marathon or ultra-marathon. Because you’re not in a group setting, the coach is able to focus all of their attention on you, your form and speed, and your unique challenges.
The Benefits of Hiring a Running Coach
There are many compelling reasons why hiring a running coach is the most effective way to train. While many people think that you need to be a professional athlete to hire a coach, the truth is that any runner can benefit from working with a coach, no matter your fitness level or running experience. If you’re thinking about whether a running coach is right for you, take a look at some of these benefits:
- Customized For You
Group training has many benefits but it falls short in that the advice you receive from the group leader is generic so that it applies to the whole group. With a personal running coach, you receive a training program that is tailored exactly to you: your form, your desired distance and race time goals, your current speed, any injuries you have, and your schedule.
Your running coach will work with you alone and will create a program based solely on your needs and goals as a runner. They’re also able to change and adapt your program as needed, unlike an online program that won’t account for any setbacks or any extra progress.
- Comprehensive Lifestyle Planning
Some programs, like those found online, simply spit out a training schedule. Alternatively, a running coach will give you a complete plan that includes recommendations for marathon training, cross-training, specific stretches, rest days, and even dietary or other lifestyle changes that will help you achieve your training goals.
- Understanding Your Unique Challenges
Every runner is different and has their own set of needs from a coach. A one-on-one running coach will learn what your challenges are, whether they’re injury or illness related, time constraints, or other hurdles you face in your training. From there, they are able to offer you technique advice that is suited to you, whether it’s how to improve your form or how you can make adjustments to accommodate an old injury. They can teach you new techniques that you might not know about and that you might not discover in a more general group setting.
- Expertise and Experience
You can never be certain who’s behind the running advice you read online and what their qualifications are. Before hiring a running coach, you can vet them to ensure you’re working with someone with a great reputation and experience. An in-person coach is an expert that you can rely on for effective advice on specific areas like pacing, half marathon training, and form to ensure you get the results you want.
- Mentoring and Motivation
When choosing a running coach, it’s important to look for someone that you click with. A good coach is more than a fitness coach or someone who just lays out a training schedule – they will also become your mentor and inspiration as you train. Running isn’t easy, and a good coach recognizes that training can be a struggle. They’re there to provide you with inspiration and motivation on your hardest days and they can push you to face your challenges at the times when you want to give up or hit a plateau.
Working with a running coach is one of the best things you can do to advance as a runner and achieve the results you want from your training. It’s only with a personal running coach that you’ll get the benefit of customized training schedules, tips, techniques, and mentorship, all of which can’t be found with other types of runners’ training programs.
If you’re training for a new distance, want to improve your speed, have a specific race in mind, or are just starting out as a beginner, working with a running coach is an excellent way to receive the personalized advice and training program that you need to optimize your training efforts