With the widespread availability of training plans, running apps and websites dedicated to providing you with tips and tricks to help improve your running, hiring a coach might seem like a waste of money.
However, whether you’re training for your 50th marathon or trying to run your first mile, a coach can help improve your performance with a tailor-made training plan, regular feedback and one-to-one guidance. A coach may also help you with your nutrition and cross-fitness training ensuring that you are in prime condition to reach your goals and targets.
How a running coach can help
One Women’s Running reader said: ‘My coaches took me from saying: “I’ll never be a runner” to “I AM A RUNNER”!! At 59! Joining a beginner 5k running group with three coaches was the best thing I could have done. Their training and encouragement was incredibly valuable.’
Another said: ‘Three hours of one-on-one coaching – using video gait analysis, breaking down each movement and building it up again, reducing oscillation, increasing cadence to 182, and most of all, focusing on elongating my posture – completely transformed my running.’
Running coach qualifications
Fast race times don’t mean someone is going to be a good coach. If fact you don’t have to be fast at all to be a good coach. What’s more important is knowledge and experience. Don’t be afraid to ask your running coach for their credentials. After all, you’re not only going to be paying them money but trusting them with your body.
Ask what qualifications they have, what experience they have and ask for testimonials from previous clients. A current qualification such as England Athletics ‘Coach in Running Fitness’ should also mean they’ve been DBS checked and are insured to coach you.
How to find a running coach
Competitive runner Emma Schuck swears by her running club, Hayle Runners, and it’s not hard to see why. Running clubs not only offer runners the chance to run in a sociable environment but access to coaches who can help with technique, fitness and endurance. RunTogether, JogScotland.org.uk and Welshathletics.org are great starting points for finding a local running clubs and group. All three websites allow you to filter groups according to gender and level.
Can’t make it to a running club? They’re still a good way to find running coaches in your area who may be willing to work with you privately.
The Running School
The Running School doesn’t offer long term one-to-one coaching but something even better: running lessons. The school offers six one-hour sessions that include an initial session looking at biomechanical analysis – how your body moves when you run. The subsequent five lessons are then dedicated to improving any weakness detected in the initial session. The lessons come with a hefty price tag (£260) but they are worth it: the techniques you learn at The Running School will help you become a faster, more efficient runner and reduce your risk of injury.
Hire a personal trainer
If you’re confident in your running but need a little help building strength and conditioning into your routine, a personal trainer could be the solution. Finding a personal trainer can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. The National Register of Personal Trainers specializes in helping members of the public find qualified and insured personal trainers. Personal trainers are especially good if you’re trying to improve your fitness through cross-training in the gym.
Ask your fellow runners if they’ve got a recommendation for a coach. That friend from parkrun who has been getting faster this year? Their secret might just be a running coach.