Considering working with a running coach? Maybe you have a goal to train for your first 5K or half-marathon. Maybe you’re looking to finally get that PR, or maybe you just need a source of accountability to help you stay consistent. Whatever your goals are, a running coach can be the missing link you need to achieve them. Here are 5 ways they can help...
1. Goal setting
Goal setting is an important practice for every runner. It sets the tone for training and is a major source of motivation. A running coach can help you refine your goals to be specific, measurable, and attainable. They’ll also map out what it will take for you to achieve them. This brings us to the next point...
2. Training Plan
After you and your coach have agreed on a goal to work towards, your coach will map out a plan that is designed with all your needs in mind. Your schedule, lifestyle, fitness level, preferences, etc are all taken into consideration to create a plan that makes the most sense for you. If you have a busy schedule, following a plan created for you is a smart way to save time and energy. Instead of stressing about what your next week of workouts should look like, you can rely on your running coach to have it already laid out for you.
Guilty of chronically starting and quitting training plans before you’ve completed them? You might benefit from the accountability a running coach can provide. Skipped workouts become a lot harder to justify when you now have a coach to report to who believes in you and wants to see you succeed.
But what happens when you do notice it’s becoming harder and harder to follow your plan? A good running coach can help you figure out what may be causing your lack of motivation or inability to push through a tough workout. They can help you rule out issues like under-fueling, sleep deprivation, stress, time management, or an injury that may require medical attention. These issues can also be avoided by our next point, finding balance.
A running coach can help you find the right balance between doing too much and too little. “Too much” can mean too much running or cross-training. It can also mean overexerting yourself in other areas, such as work or social commitments. The stresses of doing “too much” eventually lead to illness, injury, burnout, and overall reduced running performance.
On the flip side, doing “too little” also hurts your performance. “Too little” can mean skipping workouts or not giving them the effort they deserve. It can also mean neglecting other important habits like warming up and cooling down, core work, and hydration.
5. Being understood by someone who “gets it”
Starting a running journey can sometimes feel lonely. If your family and friends are not runners, they may not understand why you want to train for something like a half-marathon. You may find yourself training alone without a lot of support or encouragement.
A running coach understands this struggle. They can help you feel less alone and less crazy for wanting to accomplish something many people would never even dream of doing. A running coach is there to encourage you, provide you with helpful resources, and connect you with other runners in-person or virtually.
You never know how your journey as a runner may influence others. After seeing how strong and powerful you look on race day, your family and friends may even want to join you at the next one. And when that day comes, you’ll know who to point them to for help.
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