Coach Alana: Why Would I Hire a Running Coach?
Normal person: “What do you do for a living?”
Me: “I work for an online/in-person run coaching company”
NP: “So...you teach people to run…?” *cue odd look and slight moment of confusion
Me: Kinda…more like help people try to become better at running.
NP: I see…
Running is a simple sport, right? It is one of the first physical activities we learn to do. It is quite instinctive and natural, so no one should have to “teach us” how to do it, right? It’s a little more complicated than that. I mean, Steph Curry may have learned to toss a ball early in his toddler years, but that career 43.5% average behind the arc wasn’t a skill gained overnight. He has many hours of training behind him, coaching, guidance and of course some God-given talent. Let’s be clear, running is no different. To do it well, to make it sustainable, to get faster and to learn to compete takes time, commitment, dedication, and of course some guidance.
I coach for a living, so why am I credible source on the importance of a running coach? Well as a running coach, who has a running coach, I may be the best person to explain how coaching helps.
My first year out of collegiate running, I was finishing up grad school and coaching full-time at a University. My plan was to continue running and hopefully continue running competitively for as long as I could. I decided to coach myself. As a coach and student of the sport, I knew I had the tools to train myself. In fact, I thought this was a wonderful idea. Well, I got myself into decent shape that fall and spring but something was just incredibly off and it showed in my performance on race day. I found myself being indecisive about what I would do. I struggled with writing my own schedule and having any accountability in following through, I didn’t have anyone to share feedback with and thinking about my own running just seemed like an extra job. It got to the point where I almost decided to hang up the race shoes and just be a “hobby runner.” Fortunately, my boyfriend (now husband) who was working for RunningLane at the time, knew I would regret retiring from competition and offered to hop in as a “stand in” coach till I found someone else. Fast forward two years. He still is my “stand in” coach, and I can say it has been one of the best things for my running career. Since that time of almost “quitting,” I have found I enjoy not having to think about writing my own schedule. My running is more of a joy rather than just an extension of my job. More importantly, I love having someone who is invested in my running career who wants to help me take all steps necessary in order for me to succeed. I love having someone who can be brutally honest when I need it or encouraging when I am overly critical with myself. Positive performance from the track to the roads has resulted from my move away from self-coaching, and I would never go back.
First and foremost, I do believe you should hire a running coach for their knowledge and expertise of the sport. It is incredibly freeing to be able to take the guesswork out of your training and just do it. Having a trustworthy source of wisdom is very important. However, this is just a small perk in having a coach. In my opinion the real benefit of having a coach is the support, honesty, encouragement, accountability and sometimes the kick in the pants that we could not simply offer up to ourselves. From the coach that has a coach, I offer you this; we were created as relational beings who crave support and acknowledgment from others in almost every area of life. Why would our running be any different? Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for some help in your running. In a tough spot or struggling to get over a hump? Let us help. To find out more of how we can help you and your running contact firstname.lastname@example.org.