The last time I ran with a formal coach was back in 2002 – college cross country. A lot has happened since then, including a long stretch of not running spanning near eight years. A lot happened in that time, including a fairly large decline in my running abilities. When I started running again I had an idea of what I was doing and quickly started to regain some of the fitness I had lost.
I experienced success for a few reasons:
1. I remembered a number of workouts from high school and college and was familiar with implementing a training schedule and strategy.
2. I knew where to look for further information regarding the science of training.
3. I had a knowledgeable support system.
Numbers 1 and 2, I think anyone can figure out. If you’re new to running it can be difficult to arrive there on your own, but it is doable with some effort. The problem is, steps 1 and 2 will only take you so far. There is a point where an outside force becomes necessary to improve our fitness.
Enter support system. By support system I do not mean a partner who gives you all the time you need to go train, or a couple of friends to mess about with you on a Saturday morning (though these things can be helpful); I mean a coach. A support system or coach can exist in a few different ways. There’s your garden variety coach who helps out at the local running spot once a week and tries to disseminate tips and techniques to better your running. Inevitably these are helpful ventures and a great way to find new topics or ideas to look into further, but they don’t offer everything. There can can also be a more personal coach; someone that is responsible for developing a plan or workouts to better your running.
While I haven’t personally paid for a coach, I have developed a couple of different relationships that work in much the same way. I am able to work with my brother to build workouts and training plans and then bounce them off of some elite ultra runners and gather their thoughts. It is not a simple task and takes a lot of digging and delving to ascertain the right techniques that will benefit me the most, but in the end, it’s worth it.
Another aspect of having a coach that I wholly enjoy is that I have someone to answer to. While there may not be a financial incentive, no one likes to tell their coach they didn’t make it through the workout for whatever reason – barring serious injury – especially when your coach is your brother.
You can peruse our coaching options: here.