This post was originally part of Episode 376 released in February of 2017 and is more or less copied and pasted from that post. The audio, however, is a new take on the topic.
On the surface, opting to work with a running coach (and actually paying money for it) may not make a lot of sense.
I mean, we’ve been running since we were kids, right?
Contrary to what some non-runners (and runners?) may think, as a running coach my job isn’t to teach you to repeatedly put one foot in front of the other.
I’m pretty sure most runners have that part figured out.
So What Does a Running Coach Do?
A lot of things.
Running coaches are there to push runners when necessary. We also are there to rein in our runners at times. We play the devil’s advocate from time to time, and also serve as cheerleaders.
To put it bluntly, a good running coach can help you improve in a number of ways.
And very often, can show you that you’re capable of much more than you ever thought possible.
7 Ways a Good Running Coach Can Help You This Year
Create a Coherent Plan Over Time
If you are serious about improving as a runner, you need to put in some time and effort.
And in this case, time isn’t measured by seconds or minutes. Shoot, it’s not even measured by days or weeks.
Improvement as a runner takes years, and a running coach can help provide the continuity to your workouts so that you continue to build and grow month after month and year after year.
And, honestly, that’s why working with the same coach for months and years is so beneficial.
Save You From Yourself
Sometimes the most important thing a coach can do for you is to tell you no.
- No, that’s a bad idea.
- No, that’s too much for you right now.
- No, you’re not quite ready for that yet.
As humans, sometimes we get a little overzealous in our own abilities, and a coach can serve as a bit of a pragmatist to protect you from yourself.
Hold Your Feet to the Fire
Sometimes, the most important thing a coach can do for you is to tell you no.
And no, that’s not a typo.
Sometimes we as humans/runners try to do too much, and sometimes we are looking for an easy way out.
A good running coach can help to keep you accountable by saying “No, that’s not good enough” or “No, that’s an excuse and not a legitimate reason.”
Those conversations aren’t easy to have, believe me, but a good coach isn’t afraid of having them when necessary.
Knows That One Size Fits None
A good running coach can help you this year by treating you like the unique runner that you are.
Sure, there are some general tips and tricks that can help most runners, but for you to get the most out of the coach you are working with, that coach must cater everything he or she is having you do to you and your needs.
Knows Which Hat to Wear When
Sometimes you need a kick in the ass, and sometimes you need a pat on the back.
And a good coach will know which option is best at the appropriate time.
To be clear, I’m not saying that a good running coach needs some type of extrasensory perception to know what you need. Instead, what I’m saying is that a good running coach will get to know you the longer you are working together, and as such he or she will be able to learn when you need some tough love and when you need a shoulder to lean on.
Basically, a good coach knows you’re a human being first and a runner second. And, especially when working with clients virtually as many coaches do these days, that can be much harder to do than it seems it should be.
Empowers You to Think for Yourself
A running coach is there to help you when you need it, obviously, but a really good running coach can help you immensely by teaching you to think for yourself.
There will be times during your training, and especially during your races, where your coach isn’t going to be able to help you.
You’re going to have to be able to assess the situation and learn to think for yourself.
Not only does a good coach allow you to make some decisions, but he or she will encourage it.
Knows When It’s Time to Move On
There may come a day when a coach needs to fire you as a client.
Now, that may sound a little harsh, but it’s not. At least, it’s not necessarily.
As a coach, I know that there are some areas that I’m incredibly strong in (dealing with/preventing running injuries, for example) and other areas that I’m not as knowledgeable about.
Now, just because there may be an area that I’m less knowledgeable about doesn’t mean that I can’t help you, but based on what you’re looking for I may know that I’m in over my head.
In that situation, a running coach can help you out by simply saying “I don’t think I can help you.”
Not many coaches are willing to do that, but the good ones will.
Do You Need a Running Coach?
But can a good running coach help you make this the most productive year of your running life?
If you’d like to learn more about the options that I offer as a running coach, please visit my coaching page for an overview.
And if you have any specific questions, please ask.
As always, my promise to you is that I won’t try to pressure you into hiring me. I’ll simply answer your questions and allow you to make the choice that is best for you.
What are Your Long Term Running Goals & What Will You Do in Order to Achieve Them?
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