“All coaching is, is taking a player where he can’t take himself.”
– Bill McCartney, American Football
When a coach sent me an email asking if I would be interested in working with him, I was excited. Since starting to run marathons and reaching some of my goals, I had looked for the right coach. I was briefly coached a couple years ago, but the timing wasn’t right and ultimately it didn’t work out. Having a full schedule, I hesitated to commit to the kind of training regimen I knew I would have to follow to reach my goals. After some time, I asked myself, “if not now, when?”
I have been working with a coach for a few months now. When I told a fellow runner/co-worker this, he seemed surprised, stating that he “didn’t know that regular runners had coaches.” This got me thinking about all the reasons why a runner like me would hire a coach. I listed the reasons I did below.
1) “Teamwork makes the dream work.” You’re a team. Having a coach means having someone in your corner that wants you to succeed as much as you want to. Your success is not only a result of your hard work, but also your coach’s. Two minds working together for the same purpose is better than one. I love running for so many reasons, but finding the energy to run is sometimes a struggle; having a coach to encourage and support you helps with that struggle. I mostly run alone, but having someone to talk to about my workouts has been helpful.
2) Accountability. When it comes to running, I noticed big improvements when I became consistent with training. Today I am a mom, working full time with a busy schedule. I am tempted to take days off here and there. Before having a coach, when days were really busy, I wouldn’t run. Now, I am determined to stick to my training plan and squeeze runs in where I can, running on the treadmill at 10:30pm if I have to. Knowing that I have someone holding me accountable to my training keeps me honest and keeps my effort consistent.
3) “When you know better, you do better.” If you find the right running coach, he or she will know more about running than you. This is key to being able to place trust in your coach. There is so much running literature and knowledge out there. A coach will have sift and navigate through it to create tailor made training plans specifically for you. A coach may also have personal experience and be a runner him or herself. They may also coach other runners. I trust my coach and his running knowledge. I also know that if I put the work in, I will see results.
4) Goal getter. With running, you get what you put in. If you already have a goal, your coach can tell you what you need to do to get there. A coach can also guide you along the way and make adjustments to your training when necessary. A recent time trial showed my coach I had improved a little, so he made my workouts at a slightly faster pace. If you don’t have a clear goal, a coach can help you set one. I had reached some of my running goals on my own, but knew I would need a coach to go beyond. Your coach might even help you realize that anything is possible. My coach has validated my own buried belief in my potential as a runner.
5) A coach can help you out of a running rut. Before working with my coach, I was in a running rut. Because I love running so much, I make time for it. Having a busy schedule meant that I wasn’t putting thought into my runs. I was almost always skipping out on my long runs. I had basically stopped any speed work, except for races and the odd day where I felt like running faster than usual. I kept running, but the majority of my runs were short and slow, leaving me disappointed when I ran a race and didn’t run the times that I hoped to. My coached has breathed new life into my running and I’m so appreciative. I set a goal and we are working towards it. He has even bigger goals than the one I have set and that has filled me with confidence, determination, grit, and hope!
Whether you’re looking to finish your first marathon or improve your 10km time, a coach can help you reach your goals. A coach can push you out of your comfort zone and help you work towards achieving your running goals. A coach offers support and keeps you accountable. Their superior knowledge can help you to achieve your goals. If you’re in a running funk, a coach can dig you out, but you have to take the first step and decide for yourself if you a running coach is right for you.
**From Jeph: Full disclosure, I am NOT Marija’s running coach, so she was not asked to write this on my behalf. These are her own views without influence from me. However, I am a coach and if you are interested in coaching services, click here.
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