QT: 5 Reasons You SHOULD NOT Hire a Running Coach

There are no shortage of articles and blog posts out there talking about all of the benefits of working with a running coach.

This is not one of those articles.

You know what there is a shortage of? Articles talking about why you shouldn’t hire a running coach.

Don’t believe me? I just googled the phrase “you should not hire a running coach” (click here for search results) and the number one search result was an article about why you need a running coach from Runner’s World.

My thought’s exactly.

Some Runners Shouldn’t Hire a Running Coach

What did you say

You read that correctly.

I, a running coach and someone that keeps the lights on and my daughter fed because of my work as a running coach, am saying that some runners absolutely should not hire a coach.

5 Reasons a Running Coach is a Bad Idea for You

Obviously, every runner and every situation is unique. But if any of the following items apply to you, you probably shouldn’t think about working with a coach.

And if more than one of the following apply then you absolutely should avoid working with a running coach, at least for now.

Can’t Afford It

Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? Working with a good running coach costs money.

Point blank, not everyone has the extra disposable income laying around to hire a coach.

You might want to work with a running coach, but if money is tight right now it probably isn’t a good idea to take on an extra expense.

Once you have some extra cash put away or can figure out a way to make the extra $50-150 per month that a good coach is going to cost, then you can think about hiring a coach.

But until you get to that point, you’re probably better off consulting with a coach as needed instead of adding an additional monthly bill to an already tight budget.

Don’t Want One

One mistake I think a lot of coaches make is assuming that every runner wants to work with a coach.

You tell ’em Chris!

If you don’t want a coach, then more power to you!

If you enjoy reading the books, doing the research, and (possibly) learning a few lessons the hard way along the way then you don’t need a coach.

There is no question in my mind that running coaches are wants and not needs, and if you don’t want to work with a running coach then shame on any coaches that try to talk you into it.

Not “Serious” About the Sport

This is a loaded idea here, so please hear me out!

When I talk about whether or not you’re a “serious” runner, I am not talking about how fast you are, what distances you race, or how many miles you run per month.

Honestly, none of that shit matters.

By serious, what I mean is how committed are you to your training?

Are you going to get out there when the weather isn’t ideal? Are you going to get up at zero-dark-thirty for a run because that is the only time you can fit in your training? Will you grind out 15 miles on your own on a Saturday morning if you have no one to run with?

If the answer to all of these questions is no, that’s fine! That doesn’t make you less of a runner by any means.

But I would argue, from my perspective as a coach, that you’re probably not at the point in your running journey where hiring a running coach makes sense.

Running for the sheer joy of it and/or for the social connections/dynamics are great. But if those are real motivations behind your running, I think you’d be throwing your money away by hiring a coach.

You’re Looking for a Scapegoat

Some people will hire a running coach in order to have someone to blame when things don’t go right.

I know, because I’ve been the scapegoat before.

If you’re thinking about hiring a coach so that you can have someone to blame if the training doesn’t go well or you have a bad race, please reconsider.

You Hate Structure/Routine in Your Running

I’m a proponent of listening to your body and adjusting your training accordingly.

If you wake up on a day that you are supposed to really hammer some repeats and you’re not feeling it, it’s ok to 86 the repeats and just do an easy run instead.

In fact, I’d argue that it would be better for you to do call an audible on that day than to grind out the repeats because that is what is on the schedule. (Sure hope my clients read this one…)

But, if you are the type of runner that takes every day as it comes and avoids routine like the plague, then having a coach probably wouldn’t suit you very well.

Most coaches are going to put a plan together for you to help you reach your goals, but if you’re changing the plans daily and/or going off script with every workout, what is the point of having a coach?

Having some wiggle room in your training plan is a good thing.

Completely eschewing any structure/routine at all may work for you, it really could, but it likely won’t make for a good coach/client relationship.

No Coach = No Problem

If you’re not at a point in your running career where working with a coach makes sense, no worries!

If you’re looking for a coach, let me know.

But if not, you keep doing your thing and have fun along the way.

Becuase seriously, that’s the most important thing about our sport anyway.

5 reasons you should NOT hire a running coach. Written by a running coach. #runchat Share on X

What are Your Thoughts? Are There Any Other Reasons That I’m Missing?

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3 replies
  1. Matthew Ricardo
    Matthew Ricardo says:

    WOW awesome, was great to have it laid out without everything ending with an alternative reason to say it. I think for many runners this would be a great listen so they can know what is right for them.

  2. Stacey
    Stacey says:

    I could also argue the opposite for the “serious” runner. If you are serious and dedicated to a plan that you’ve made and to your goals, why hire a coach? A lot of the benefit is just to have someone to motivate you, hold your hand, and keep you accountable. But if you are highly self-motivated, then maybe a coach is not necessary. Coaching is becoming increasingly popular, so it was nice to find ONE article that says I don’t NEED one (and yes, I cannot AFFORD one either).


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